Hotels are generally liable for any injury or loss suffered by their guests on hotel property. This is known as premise liability, which makes owners and occupiers of land legally responsible for any injury or loss incurred by others on their property. Hotels can be held liable for the injuries caused by the hotel or dangerous conditions within the premises of the hotel and can also be held responsible for the negligent acts of hotel employees.
How Do I Prove That a Hotel Was Negligent?
In order to prove that a hotel was negligent and hold the hotel responsible for injuries that occurred while on the premises, the plaintiff guest must show:
- The Hotel guest was an invitee and was on the premises as a paying customer
- The Hotel owed a standard duty of reasonable care to the guests
- The hotel breached the duty of reasonable care owed to the guests by acting negligently
- The breach of the duty caused plaintiff's injury
What Are the Duties Owed by a Hotel?
A hotel has a general duty to exercise reasonable care when operating its business and must take a protective steps in protecting their hotel guests. Hotel guests are considered as "invitees" under premises liability law and must receive the highest amount of protection. Here are some duties that the hotel owes it's guests:
- Must inspect the hotel grounds and property and maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition
- Repair all dangerous condition on the property and take affirmative steps to protect hotel guests from known or reasonably discoverable dangerous conditions.
- Ensure the all dangerous conditions are either repaired or warned
- Maintain proper security
- Exercise reasonable care by hiring enough hotel staff
- Control insect infestation and unhealthy property conditions
- Maintain locks on hotel rooms to protect guest property
What Are Some Common Examples of When a Hotel Is Liable to its Guests?
A hotel can be liable for guests' injury or loss in many different ways. As long as the hotel or its staff were negligent in some manner, it is possible to be compensated for any losses suffered while staying at the hotel. Common examples include:
- Personal injury - A hotel is generally liable for any injury suffered by a guest who is staying at the hotel. However, this requires that you show the hotel was negligent in some way
- Responsibility for guests' belongings
- Liable for criminal acts committed on guests by others
- Bed bug infestation
- Defective stairs or elevators
- Negligent acts by a hotel employee
Can a Hotel be Liable to the Actions of Its Employees?
If an employee of the hotel injures a guest, the hotel can still be liable for the actions of the employee. This can be true even if the hotel management is unaware of the incident or had no control over it. This type of liability is known as vicarious liability. Under the legal theory known as vicarious liability, the hotel's liability depends on whether the employee's actions were in the scope of employment or whether the hotel consented or directed the employee to commit the act that caused the victim's injury.
If the employees act was within the scope of employment, then the hotel may be liable for an employee's negligent acts even if the hotel did not authorize, direct, or was aware of the act.
To I Need a Lawyer for My Hotel Liability Problem?
Even if you have not been injured, any loss that you have suffered (e.g., baggage stolen from your room) at a hotel can be recoverable. Talk to a personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights, defenses, and the complicated legal system. If you are a hotel owner or manager, consult a personal injury lawyer on ways to avoid liability.