How Can Hotels be Liable For Your Accident?
Hotels often consist of lots of people, many floors, recreation areas, and multiple levels of staff. This is especially true in a popular tourist city like New Orleans, but hotel accidents can happen anywhere.
Hotel accidents may be the result of some unsafe condition on the property or the error and/or carelessness of a hotel employee. In order to have a successful personal injury case, you or your loved one will need to be able to prove that the injured party was harmed by someone’s negligence.
If you were injured due to a hotel’s negligence or failure to upkeep a property, you can make a claim against the property owner and their insurance.
Many of these claims will require using expert engineers, appraisers, or other construction experts to prove negligence. Due to the complexities of demonstrating a hotel’s negligence, proving these claims requires an experienced personal injury attorney.
Premises Liability and a Hotel’s Duty to Guests
Under Louisiana law, property owners are responsible for their property and keeping it safe. Otherwise they must provide warnings of the unsafe conditions. This standard comes from premises liability law, which usually governs this type of case. Premises liability applies when a person is injured while on someone else’s property, due to the tenant’s negligence or the property owner’s negligence.
A Premises Liability Case Against Your Hotel
Hotels owe a high degree of care to their guests. In order to show that a hotel is liable, you have to demonstrate that the hotel owed you a duty as a guest, breached that duty, you suffered an injury as a result, and that injury entitles you to monetary damages. You can show a breach of duty by showing that the hotel owner/operator had “constructive knowledge” that the dangerous condition existed. A hotel owner/operator will be held to have constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition if the condition existed long enough to reasonably have been discovered by the staff. There is also a duty on the hotel to exercise a high degree of care in order to protect the guests against the tortious acts of third persons. Hotels are also responsible for protecting guests against unauthorized entry. If a hotel failed to uphold any of these duties and you believe that caused your accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
There are four things you should be sure of before bringing a premises liability case:
- Duty: You have to make sure you bring your claim against the right defendant, the one that is responsible for maintaining the property.
- Breach: An unsafe condition existed and someone failed to act in a way to prevent the injury
- Injury: The injury is a direct result of the Defendant not maintaining a safe property.
- Damages: As a result of their negligence the accident caused you damages.
An attorney can help you determine if each of these factors weigh in your favor and how much you are likely to recover from a lawsuit.
What Types of Accidents Are Hotels Responsible For?
It is clear that a hotel owes a duty to its guest, but they cannot be responsible for every accident. That is why it is important to know if what caused your injury was something the hotel has a duty to maintain or eliminate as a hazard. Common hotel duties include things like maintaining adequate lighting, keeping steps dry and unobstructed, and repairing problems with hotel property, furniture, and equipment. Hotels also have a duty to control insect infestation (“bed bugs”), maintain proper security (including guards and cameras) to avoid theft and assaults on guests, exercise reasonable care in hiring hotel staff, training hotel pool staff to prevent injuries to guests, maintain stairs and elevators, and maintain locks on hotel rooms. In addition to these duties, hotels are also required to warn of a hazard they know exists if they cannot eliminate the hazard immediately. This would include things like a leak or remodeling a portion of the hotel. The most common places for hotel accidents are elevators, bedrooms and bathrooms, and pools.
Many people have fears of elevators, but large hotels and casinos make them a necessity. While elevator accidents are rare, they do happen. These accidents are usually the result of poor lift function that could have been prevented if the owner took better care of them. Elevators must be frequently inspected and maintained by the owner of the building through contracted services of a professional elevator maintenance company. These accidents may be the fault of the owner, maintenance company, electricians who installed faulty cables that affected the elevator system, or the manufacturer of the lift’s parts or replacement parts might have sold a unit that was defective before leaving the factory. Getting at the heart of the incident and who is responsible will allow you to create the strongest case for yourself to recover your damages.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Many hotel bedroom and bathroom injuries cannot be attributed to the hotel directly. However, incidents that involve bed bugs, slip and falls, and other conditions outside your control can often be attributed to the hotel for causing you injury. Bedbugs are beyond your control, but can be prevented and controlled through maintaining cleanliness standards. Bed bugs look like very small apple seeds, measuring only 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. The bites will feel itchy and painful. Bed bugs can also be identified by rust-colored stains along the mattress’s corners.
Additionally, many accidents happen in bathrooms, especially in showers. If a shower suddenly changes temperatures burning a guest and causes the guest to fall, the hotel can be liable for not warning the guest of the shower’s condition. The hotel may also be liable when injuries are caused by any slippery conditions that were not cleared or cleaned up before permitting you to enter the room.
Hotels can also be found liable for injuries at their pools. A swimming pool premises may have been designed poorly, failed to warn guests of hazards, or was not provided with sufficient supervision. Hotel pools can cause issues by being shallower than imagined, having loose tiles that can cause people to slip, or contaminated water. Hotels are required to maintain safe, clean pool areas, post warning signs, and swimming pool rules. They also have to indicate water depth in all pool areas. Hotels and resorts can be held liable for injuries to guests and visitors, as well as negligent acts of hotel employees. If any of these were the reason for your pool injury, the hotel may be liable for your injuries.
Contact Our Office
If you or a family member was injured while at a hotel, motel, or inn, you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. Premises liability is complicated, and you need an attorney you trust to help you navigate your case. Contact Cueria Law Firm L.L.C. today.