Common Injuries at Hotels
California is home to over 4,500 hotels hosting both local and international visitors. With thousands of people checking in and out of hotels every day, it's no surprise that accidents and injuries can happen.
From slip-and-falls to burns, there are many potential hazards that guests and employees of hotels need to be aware of. Let's discuss some of the most common injuries that can occur at hotels and what to do if you or your loved one is a victim. Whether you're a hotel guest or an employee, knowing what to do is critical from a medical and legal perspective, our Orange County personal injury lawyer adds.
Negligent security at hotels refers to a legal claim that can be made by an individual who has been injured or harmed due to insufficient security measures provided by the hotel in question.
Essentially, negligence occurs when a hotel fails to take reasonable steps to protect its guests from foreseeable risks. Examples of such risks include the following:
- Inadequate lighting in parking lots
- Insufficient security personnel or training
- A lack of surveillance cameras
- Failure to screen employees or guests who may pose a danger to the hotel visitors or staff.
Wrongful death at a hotel refers to a situation where someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of the hotel or its employees. This can include various cases, such as when a hotel:
- fails to maintain its property or equipment in a safe condition;
- fails to provide adequate security to its visitors and/or staff; or
- serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and that person causes a fatal accident.
To file a wrongful death claim against a hotel, the victim's family or estate must show that the hotel was negligent. In other words, they must prove the basic elements of a negligence claim.
These elements include providing that the hotel:
- had a duty to provide a safe environment for the staff or visitors;
- breached that duty through its actions or inaction; and
- that the breach was the proximate cause of the victim's death.
To put things into perspective, here are some examples of possible wrongful death cases at a hotel.
Although hotels usually use disclaimers to avoid liability in such accidents, that does not completely keep them off the hook if someone dies on their property. Take an example of a situation where someone drowns in a hotel swimming pool because of the pool's poor design or wrong measurements. In that case, the hotel may be liable for wrongful death.
Another example is when a hotel guest is murdered on the premises due to a lack of proper lighting or security cameras, and the hotel knew or should have known about the potential risk. If so, the victim's family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the hotel.
Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lot accidents can involve vehicles, pedestrians, or both. These accidents range from minor fender benders to serious collisions resulting in injury or death.
Most parking lot accidents at hotels occur due to speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield the right of way, and backing up without checking for vehicular or human traffic. When such accidents occur, the other driver is usually at fault.
But there are cases where the hotel may also be liable. For instance, suppose the accident occurs due to poor lighting, narrow spaces, or lack of clearly marked pedestrian walkways. The hotel (or parking lot management company) may be liable in that case.
That said, the issue of parking lot accidents can be complex. Generally, if a driver causes an accident while operating their vehicle on the hotel's property, they may be liable for any resulting damages or injuries. On the other hand, if the hotel is found to have contributed to the accident through negligence, they may also be held partially responsible.
Sexual assault refers to any unwanted sexual contact or behavior. Unwanted touching, groping, and rape are some common examples of sexual assault incidents that may occur on hotel property, either between guests or involving hotel staff.
Sexual assault can happen in various locations within a hotel, including guest rooms, common areas like the lobby or pool, or staff-only areas.
Hotels are responsible for providing a safe environment for their guests and employees. To minimize the chances of sexual assault on their property, hotels can take measures such as:
- conducting background checks and training for employees;
- installing security equipment such as surveillance cameras and increased lighting; and
- providing support and resources for victims.
So, if you or your beloved has experienced sexual assault at a hotel, you may be able to take legal action against the perpetrator and the hotel itself.
If you win your case, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering. Depending on the nature of your case, the court might also award you punitive damages to punish the defendant for their actions or inactions that caused the sexual assault incident.
What Are Some Common Injuries in Hotel Accidents?
Hotel accidents can cause various injuries, some of which may be life-threatening. Some common injuries that can occur in hotel accidents include:
Slip and fall injuries: One study by the National Fall Safety Institute revealed that slip and fall accidents are among the most common in the hotel industry. To put things into perspective, these accidents lead to over 7 million emergency room visits and at least 36,000 every year.
Slips and falls in the hotel industry are commonly caused by wet or slippery floors, uneven surfaces, or objects left in walkways. These accidents can result in sprains, fractures, broken bones, and concussions, among other injuries.
Elevator and escalator injuries: Such accidents usually occur due to mechanical failure, poor maintenance, or user mistakes. Examples of common injuries caused by elevator and escalator accidents include broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries.
Swimming pool injuries: As mentioned, swimming pool accidents can happen due to insufficient safety measures, such as a lack of fencing, supervision, or improper maintenance of the pool area. Common swimming pool accident injuries include drowning, slip and fall, and head trauma.
Bed bugs and other infestations: Did you know that you can actually sue a hotel for bed bug infestation? Bed bugs and other pest infestations can cause physical and emotional harm to guests. For instance, bites from bed bugs can result in severe itching, swelling, and infection. And after that, the victim may suffer from PTSD, anxiety, paranoia, nightmares, obsessive behavior, etc.
Food poisoning: This may occur when hotel guests consume contaminated food or drink. As a result, you may hold the hotel responsible if they knew or should have known that the food was not fit for consumption but still prepared and served it. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Assaults and other criminal acts: As mentioned earlier, hotels are responsible for providing a safe environment for guests. When they fail to do so, guests may be vulnerable to criminal acts such as assault or theft, resulting in physical or emotional harm.
When Can You Sue a Hotel?
You may be able to sue a hotel if you have suffered harm or damages caused by the hotel's negligence or misconduct. However, it is important to note that even though you may be able to sue the hotel for negligence, not every incident that occurs at the property amounts to negligence.
In addition, hotels use different legal jargon in their contracts to protect themselves from such lawsuits. Unfortunately, many guests are usually unfamiliar with such terms and conditions. Those that do may not be fully aware of how such terms apply in the legal field.
So how do you handle such a situation if you have been injured at a hotel? Your best bet is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with such cases. On top of that, you need an attorney who is not afraid to take on the biggest bullies in the industry to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
We C.A.R.E For You
At Case Barnett Law, we offer a Client-focused, Action-oriented, Result-driven, and Enthusiastic approach to such cases. We know exactly how it feels to suffer because of someone else's negligence, not knowing your rights.