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Injured in a Hotel? Understand Hotel Liability

Woman Having A Hard Time Getting Up In Bed

Hotels should be a place to relax on vacation or rest during a business trip, but not all hotel experiences leave you rejuvenated and ready to return to regular life. If you were injured at a hotel, your stay could leave you with physical pain, bad memories, and costly hospital bills.

Determining liability in hotel injuries can be confusing, so we've created a handy legal guide to help you understand your rights if you were injured in a hotel. To get personalized advice and more detailed information, contact a personal injury lawyer.

What Injuries Are Most Common in Hotels?

Like personal injuries on other commercial properties, some of the most common hotel-related personal injuries are slip-and-fall accidents. Most hotels are several stories tall, which means that railing defects, slick walkways, and tears in the carpet can cause guests to trip over the railing and incur serious injuries.

You may also slip and fall if hotel staff fail to clean up a spill, de-ice an entrance, or remove tracked-in rainwater in a timely fashion with correct signage. The result could be broken bones, concussions, and bruises.

Other common hotel injuries include:

  • Injuries from exercise equipment

  • Bites from pests, especially bed bugs

  • Bruises, broken bones, or head injuries from car accidents in hotel parking lot

  • Broken bones and other injuries from assaults by guests or hotel staff

  • Brain damage or death by drowning in hotel pool

  • Food poisoning from hotel food

  • Injuries in hotel elevators or stairwells

  • Injuries from hotel equipment like beds, hair driers, or showers

As in other personal injury suits, you bear a degree of liability for your accident if you were breaking hotel rules, knowingly putting yourself in harm's way, or disregarding hotel staff members or signage.

When Is a Hotel Liable for Injuries?

Like other premises, hotels have a duty of care for their guests. This means hotels have a legal responsibility to ensure guests can trust that they'll be safe while on the premises. In a personal injury suit against a hotel, you have to prove both that the hotel violated its duty of care and that the staff failed to take reasonable measures that would have protected you from foreseeable dangers.

For example, if you were assaulted or accosted by a hotel employee, the hotel could be responsible if they knowingly hired a dangerous person, failed to perform a background check, or failed to enforce policies that could have kept guests safe. Or if the hotel knew their locks were broken or out of date and didn't take measures to fix them, they could be at least partially liable for injuries that occur if another person breaks into your hotel room and harms you.

Similarly, if a guest or staff member brought property damage like a broken railing or a rip in the carpet to the hotel manager's attention, and the manager failed to respond to the problem in a timely, reasonable fashion, the hotel acted negligently and breached their duty of care.

What Should You Do After a Hotel Injury?

The most important first step to take after a hotel injury is to seek treatment for your injury. Doing so not only helps you get the urgent medical assistance you need, but it also provides verifiable proof that you were injured on the hotel's premises and had to seek treatment, a crucial factor in bringing any personal injury case to court.

You should also start collecting evidence that demonstrates that the hotel acted negligently. If possible, speak to other guests who witnessed the injury. Get their information so you, your lawyer, or the police can contact them later. Request a copy of the accident report, if there is one, and take pictures of the hotel property where the accident occurred.

Finally, choose an experienced personal injury lawyer who can work with you closely to reclaim as many damages as possible.

Were you injured in a hotel accident? Ringsmuth Wuori PLLC would love to help you find justice. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.