Hotel Liability for Crimes

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Most Common Personal Injury Law Issues:

Is a Hotel Responsible for Crimes Committed on Their Property?

Under most circumstances, if a guest or other patron is a victim of a crime on hotel property, the hotel is not liable for their injuries. In fact, most states have laws that prevent a hotel from being held liable for acts that are outside of the hotel's control. However, it is possible that a hotel is partially responsible for criminal acts due to inadequate measures taken to protect guests.

Who Can Be Liable for a Crime that Occurred at a Hotel?

A hotel owner can be held liable for a crime that occurred on their premises depending on the status level of the victim:

What Kind of Measures Can Hotels Take to Avoid Liability?

As a general rule, a hotel needs to provide adequate measures to protect the safety of their guests. If a hotel fails to do so, they may be considered to have acted negligently. "Inadequate measures" may include:

Sometimes, to avoid liability, hotels exempt themselves and limit their liability for any loss or stolen property that is kept in the hotel rooms. There are usually notices that are placed declaring that the hotel is not liable for anything inside the room or they do not cover any valuables or property that is worth more than a certain amount.

How Can I Prove That the Hotel Was Negligent?

In order to prove that a hotel was negligent and be able to hold the hotel responsible for injuries that occurred while on the premises, the plaintiff must show:

  1. The plaintiff was an invitee and was on the premises as a paying guest
  2. The hotel owed a standard duty of reasonable care to the guests
  3. The hotel breached the duty of reasonable care owed to the guests by acting negligently
  4. The breach of the duty caused the plaintiff's injury

In criminal cases, the hotel must have taken reasonable care by making sure that all areas were secure and safe. If there has been a history of crimes or past occurrence of crime that the hotel is aware of, they must take steps to ensure that the area that was unsafe before is now safe for future guests.

What If a Vehicle Is Stolen on Hotel Property?

Automobile crimes, e.g., vandalism or theft, are often evaluated differently than other crimes that occur on hotel property. As a general rule, as long as a hotel exercises reasonable care to protect vehicles, the hotel will not be liable for any damages or loss from crimes. For example, providing adequate lighting or posting warning signs in the parking lot may be enough to show reasonable care.

Should I Seek Legal Advice?

The first thing a victim of a crime on hotel property should do to do is contact the police and report the crime, and then notify the hotel. Next, it would be wise to consult a personal injury attorney to assess if the hotel you were staying at was negligent. A lawyer will be able to determine if the hotel has violated any of its legal duties and is under and obligation to compensate you for loss of property or injury.

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Last Modified: 10-16-2015 05:13 PM PDT

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