Premises Liability, Part 1: Injured at a Hotel

Patient with a knee injury and the doctor with x-ray in handsWhen you stay in a hotel, you have a reasonable expectation that the hotel is safe. This is not always the case. Hotels can be held liable for injuries to guests if the guests can prove that the hotel was negligent in some way.

Under premises liability law, guests in hotels are considered “invitees.” Invitees are entitled to a high amount of protection under the law. Hotels have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the safety of guests. This includes regularly inspecting and maintaining properties, identifying and rectifying dangerous conditions and taking steps to protect guests.

Proving negligence is the name of the game in hotel injury cases. The plaintiff must be able to show that the hotel breached its duty of care to the guest and that the breach of care was the cause of the injury.

So, for example, imagine you take a trip to the Rockies for some skiing. At the hotel, some snow and ice melted near one of the entrances and the resulting puddle was not addressed by staff. You enter the hotel and do not see the water. You slip, fall and break a bone. In a situation like that, because the hotel failed to clean up the hazard, the hotel could be held liable.

Can Hotels Be Liable for Crimes?

Unfortunately, people who stay in hotels are frequently targeted by criminals. When a person is injured due to crime on a hotel premises, it is sometimes possible to take legal action against the hotel as well as the criminal. Typically, this is not the case. However, if the plaintiff can show that the hotel should have been able to anticipate the crime and could have prevented it, the plaintiff may recover damages from the hotel. An example of this would be if a hotel exists in an area known for violent crime and fails to provide proper security or lighting.



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