What Is the Claims Process To Sue a Hotel in California
You expect a certain level of safety and comfort when you stay at a hotel. But, our Orange County personal injury lawyer adds, unfortunately, accidents and injuries can occur when you least expect them. And sometimes, these accidents occur due to the negligence of the hotel staff or management.
In such cases, you may be able to pursue legal action against the hotel to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. However, the process of suing a hotel in California is not as straightforward. Here's an overview of what it entails.
First, you must ensure that your case meets the basic elements of a personal injury claim, as discussed below.
Duty of Care: This involves establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. The answer to this question will depend on your specific case.
Breach of Duty: Secondly, you must show that the defendant, in this case, the hotel, breached its duty of care. 'Breach' in this context means they failed to act in a way that would meet the legal standard of care owed to you, the plaintiff.
Causation: Thirdly, you must establish a link between the hotel's breach of duty and your injury. To do this, you will need to show that your injury would not have occurred had it not been for the hotel's actions or inactions.
Damages: Lastly, you must prove that you suffered damages such as physical injuries, emotional distress, lost wages, medical bills, and other losses.
If your case meets the above elements, you may proceed with the claims process. Here are additional steps to follow.
Documenting the Incident
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered property damage due to the hotel's actions or inactions, you should document the incident as thoroughly as possible. This is because the defendant and judge or jury will need some form of evidence to prove your claim.
That said, the type of evidence you need will depend on your specific case. Generally, photographs of the scene, witness statements, medical records, and treatment expenses are all considered possible evidence in such cases.
Notifying the Hotel About the Lawsuit
In California, before you can sue a hotel or any other party for personal injury or property damage, you must notify the hotel in writing about your claim. This notice should include the date and location, a description of the incident and the injuries or damages suffered, and a demand for compensation.
Waiting for a Response
Once the hotel receives your notice of claim, they have limited time to respond. If they deny your claim or do not respond within the required time frame, you may proceed with a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
Suppose the hotel does not respond to your notice of claim, denies your claim, or offers an inadequate settlement. In that case, you may file a lawsuit in court within two years of the injury. The deadline is usually referred to as the statute of limitations. If it expires, you lose your right to file a lawsuit against the hotel.
The litigation process usually involves discovery (the exchange of information between the parties involved in the lawsuit), pre-trial motions, and, eventually, a trial.
Bear in mind that the claims process can be complicated and varies depending on the specific circumstances of that particular case. For example, there are times when it may be necessary to pursue a claim in court or negotiate a settlement with the hotel outside of the court.
And knowing that the hotel industry is worth millions, you should expect the other party to have powerful legal representation. That is why it is always best to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to fight back and protect your rights.
Case Barnett Law Will Fight for You
At Case Barnett Law, our law firm boasts over 17 years of experience fighting for the injured in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, and Kern counties. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case for free without any obligations. We might be able to help.