When is a Hotel at Fault for an Accident?

By Peter DePaolis

Injury Attorneys Holding Hotel Owners Responsible for Accidents and Injuries on their Premises in Washington DC

Hotels are just like any other business. The law requires them to provide a safe premise for those visiting their facilities.

When you visit a hotel, you are there to relax, visit with family and friends, do business, or just escape regular life. However, not all trips and visits to these oasis-like resorts end in a great way. Even though hotels go through numerous inspections and have protocols that are regulated by multiple government agencies, injuries can occur.

Common Injuries in Hotels

  • Swimming pool accidents, including head trauma, drowning, and broken bones.
  • Broken furniture that can break or collapse under a customer’s weight and lead to fall injuries.
  • Slip and fall accidents on wet surfaces, staircases, and torn carpeting.
  • Food poisoning from improperly prepared or stored foods served by room service or during a complimentary breakfast.
  • Bed bug infestations and bites.
  • Burns from hot water heaters where the thermostats are set too high.
  • Assaults in parking lots or within the hotel itself.

When is a Hotel Considered Negligent and Liable for Injuries?

Hotels owe a higher duty of care to their guests; they must do everything possible to ensure their premises are safe for all visitors. They must also take quick action to correct any hazards to their guests – especially since guests individually pay them to offer a safe place to stay overnight.

When it comes to hotel liability, the issues of foreseeable and reasonable action come into play. These are two terms that apply to premises liability cases, especially those involving the hospitality industry. While a hotel is required to protect you, it does not extend to protection from all types of harm. Instead, the reasonable and foreseeable theories must apply to your injury.

  • Foreseeable Harm – This refers to how hotel managers should have known that there was an omission or action that they could have taken to cause an accident. Therefore, they knew their actions – or lack thereof – would lead to injury.
  • Reasonable Action – Furthermore, you must show that the hotel has a reasonable amount of time from the moment it became aware of the potential hazard to the time the injury occurred to eradicate the risk. If the hotel only recently discovered the problem and the injury occurred moments later, it is unreasonable to assume the hotel had adequate time to take care of the problem.

The Burden of Proof – and How a Premises Liability Attorney Can Help

Proving that a hotel knew about a hazard and failed to correct it before your injury is very complex. Also, most hotels will have a full legal firm at their disposal to help reduce the success of your personal injury claim. Luckily, with a personal injury advocate by your side, you can fight back against insurance companies and big law firms.

After your injury at a hotel, contact an attorney at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. We were named one of the Best Law Firms by US News, and we are here to serve as your injury advocates. Contact us at one of our three office locations or request a free case evaluation online.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.