When you are staying at a hotel or on their property, the hotel owner has specific legal duties. In general, a hotel must remain vigilant and use reasonable care to protect its guests from risks.
If they fail to uphold their duty of care and you suffer an injury, you can file a lawsuit against the hotel.
Different Types of Hotel Negligence
Your lawsuit against the hotel would fall under the umbrella of a premises liability case. There are numerous types of cases that are considered premises liability lawsuits, including:
- Negligent security cases
- Swimming pool accidents
- Injuries from bed bugs
- Injuries from faulty equipment or elevators
- Liability from fires
In all of these cases, there is one way that you will win your case. You would need to prove that the hotel was negligent and it caused your injuries. Negligence is when the hotel does not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
You would need to compare the hotel’s actions against what a reasonable person would have done in a specific situation by gathering evidence of what they did.
How Hotels Are Negligent
There are numerous ways that hotels are negligent, including:
- Not clearing up debris or hazards in a walking path and they cause you to fall and be injured
- Failure to provide adequate security when there is a history of criminal activity in the area
- Not inspecting escalators and elevators in the building and repairing any maintenance problems
- Not closing off and securing a swimming pool, and a child suffers an injury
- Not replacing equipment in the rooms that are no longer safe to operate
- Failing to properly maintain and inspect safety features (fire alarms, CO2 detectors, handrails, etc.) in the hotel
Where Hotels Owe You a Duty of Care
Innkeepers can be liable for injury to your person and your property. They have a legal obligation to ensure your safety in all parts of the hotel, including:
- The parking lot
- The entrance area and the lobby
- The stairwells
- The hotel restaurant and bar
- Your room
- Recreational areas
All parts of the hotel are considered its property for purposes of premises liability lawsuits.
Proving the Hotel Was Negligent
There is a fine line between an accident and hotel negligence. The hotel will undoubtedly claim that your injury resulted from an accident. They would try to blame you for what happened, or they would claim that your accident was completely not foreseeable. Before you can prove negligence, you would need to overcome all their defenses.
There are four parts of the negligence test that you would need to prove to sue the hotel successfully:
- The hotel owes you a duty of care (they generally do if you are a guest or are on their premises.
- The hotel failed to uphold its duty of care because it did not act reasonably under the circumstances.
- You suffered an injury.
- You would not have suffered an injury had it not been for the unreasonable actions of the hotel.
Hotels also argue that their actions were not the cause of your injuries. One of their defenses is that your negligence claim lacks causation.
How to Prove the Hotel Was Negligent
You will need physical evidence or testimony showing what happened to prove negligence. Here are some forms of evidence that your lawyer may gather to show that the hotel is legally responsible for your injuries:
- Eyewitness testimony from people who saw what happened
- Maintenance records for the hotel that could show whether the property was inspected and what the hotel did about the issue
- Corporate records that could prove whether the hotel knew about various issues
- Photos of the scene of your accident
- Surveillance video footage from the hotel cameras
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert
Suing a Hotel Means a Corporate Defendant
When you sue a hotel for negligence, the company involved is the defendant. Chances are that they have an insurance policy that has a higher coverage limit. If your damages exceed the value of the insurance policy, you can collect your judgment from the hotel owner.
Usually, hotels are owned by either large corporations or LLCs that own numerous other properties. In other words, you might recover a large amount of money when you can prove that the hotel was negligent.
The hotel will not make it easy for you to get your hands on the above evidence. You may need to file a lawsuit and work to obtain all the evidence in the discovery process. Our lawyers are aggressive in litigation, and we know how to get the evidence you need to prove your case.
Getting a lawsuit settlement from a hotel means dealing with an insurance company. This company does not want to make a large payout because it comes from its own account.
The hotel may even be out of the picture if the damages are less than their policy limit. Insurance companies are known to use hardball tactics, and our lawyers know how to fight back on your behalf.
Call a Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have suffered an injury in any type of hotel accident, the attorneys at Horton Mendez will fight for you when hotels and their insurance companies try to escape their legal responsibility to pay you when they were at fault.
To learn more about how we can help you in a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at (910) 668-8067.
Hotel Negligence Case FAQs
How do I know who to sue?
Your lawyer will search property ownership records to determine the correct legal entity to sue in court.
How much is my case worth?
Everything depends on your own individual damages. You have a right to be paid for your economic and non-economic damages in full.
How long will my case take?
It depends on your unique situation, but cases can take a year or more to settle.