Hotel or Resort Liability for Injuries

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 Can a Hotel or Resort Be Held Liable for a Personal Injury Claim?

Property owners, including hotels and resorts, are bound by the duty of care to ensure the safety of those who enter their premises. This obligation is called premises liability, which holds property owners accountable for accidents and injuries that transpire on their property. Generally, these incidents take place in or around a business establishment.

Premises liability law mandates that property owners maintain the premises and provide sufficient warning of any unsafe or hazardous conditions to guarantee the safety of those present on their property. To fulfill this requirement, property owners must take all reasonable measures.

Premises liability and personal injury are closely linked and stem from the legal theory of negligence. Accidents occurring at resorts, hotels, motels, private associations, or club facilities are subject to standard negligence principles.

For example, an accident in a hotel or resort’s swimming pool could render them liable for injuries sustained by guests and visitors on their premises. Moreover, they may be held accountable for negligent acts committed by their staff and employees.

Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, which results in injury or damage to another person. This concept revolves around a person’s failure to adopt specific precautions, as opposed to their direct actions.

How Can I Prove That a Resort or Hotel Was Negligent?

To hold a hotel or resort liable for injuries sustained on their premises, the injured party must demonstrate that the establishment was negligent or breached their duty of care.

To bring forth a negligence-based lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove all four elements of a negligence claim:

Duty of Care

A hotel guest slips and falls in a poorly lit hallway, sustaining injuries. In this case, the hotel has a duty of care to provide adequate lighting in guest access areas to ensure the safety of its guests. The hotel’s failure to provide appropriate lighting constitutes a breach of this duty.

Breach of Duty

A guest at a resort gets injured due to a broken handrail on a staircase. The resort had been aware of the broken handrail but failed to repair it in a timely manner. In this instance, the resort breached its duty of care by not maintaining safe conditions and failing to fix the known hazard, resulting in the guest’s injury.


A hotel guest becomes seriously ill after eating contaminated food from the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel failed to follow proper food safety guidelines, leading to contamination.

In this case, the hotel’s negligence in maintaining food safety standards is the actual and proximate cause of the guest’s illness. The injury (illness) was foreseeable, as failing to follow food safety guidelines could reasonably lead to a guest becoming sick.


  • Physical Damages: A guest at a hotel trips over a torn carpet in the lobby and breaks their arm as a result. The hotel knew of the torn carpet but did not repair it or provide a warning sign. The guest incurs medical expenses for treating their broken arm, pain, and suffering. These physical damages are directly related to the hotel’s negligence.
  • Economic Damages: The same guest who broke their arm also had to miss work for an extended period to recover, resulting in lost wages. In this case, the economic damages are directly related to the hotel’s breach of duty.
  • Mixed Damages: Besides the physical injuries and economic losses, the guest experiences emotional distress due to the accident, further affecting their overall well-being. The combination of physical, economic, and emotional damages can be attributed to the hotel’s negligence.

In each of these examples, the plaintiff can demonstrate all four elements of a negligence claim: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. These examples show how hotels and resorts can be held liable for various forms of negligence that result in injuries or damages to their guests.

What Are the Duties Owed By a Hotel or Resort to Their Guests?

Hotel and Resort Responsibilities Towards Guest Safety Hotels and resorts are responsible for exercising reasonable care in maintaining safe premises for their guests and operating their businesses.

This duty includes:

  • Ensuring adequate lighting in guest access areas;
  • Repairing any exposed and unsafe hotel defects;
  • Controlling insect infestations, especially bed bugs;
  • Providing proper security to prevent crimes and theft;
  • Training pool staff to avoid guest injuries;
  • Maintaining stairs and elevators; and
  • Ensuring functional locks on all hotel rooms.

Hotels and resorts must inspect their premises for existing dangerous conditions and take reasonable steps to protect guests from known or discoverable hazards. They are legally obligated to inform their guests of any unsafe or dangerous conditions they are aware of if they cannot remedy the situation.

For example, hotels and resorts may be found negligent for failing to provide a lifeguard for their pool facilities or for not warning guests about the absence of a lifeguard. If a hotel or resort has a public pool, they are required to train all pool staff to prevent guest injuries. Furthermore, a hotel or resort may also be liable for a lifeguard’s inadequate supervision.

Some common injuries sustained by hotel guests include:

  • Dangerous swimming pool premises design, lack of supervision, or inadequate warnings to prevent injuries;
  • Broken furniture;
  • Slip and fall incidents due to conditions that the hotel should have been aware of; and
  • Bed bug infestations resulting from a failure to maintain sanitary conditions.

Hotels and resorts cannot be held liable for criminal acts committed by third parties who are not employees. However, they may be held liable if the hotel knew or should have anticipated the crime. A hotel’s liability for theft from a guest’s room is limited, with the hotel generally only being liable if the guest can prove that the hotel was negligent in providing safe premises, such as a faulty room lock.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Hotel or Resort Injury?

If you have been injured at a hotel or resort, such as in their swimming pool facilities, it is advisable to consult with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence to prove the hotel or resort’s negligence. Additionally, they can represent you in court, as needed, and guide you through the legal process to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

LegalMatch is an online legal matching service connecting clients with qualified attorneys who can meet their specific legal needs. LegalMatch can help connect you with experienced personal injury attorneys in your area if you have been injured at a hotel or resort.

You can simply provide some basic information about your case, and LegalMatch will match you with attorneys with experience handling similar cases. You can then review the attorneys’ profiles, read reviews from previous clients, and compare their fees before deciding which attorney to hire.

Don’t wait any longer. Act now and use LegalMatch to save you time and effort in finding a qualified local attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and seek compensation for your injuries.

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