How to Sue a Hotel for Negligence
Every day, hotel and motel patrons across the US suffer from personal injuries—or become victims of property theft—due to hotel negligence. Hotels have responsibilities to their guests and their staff, but many hospitality organizations cut corners and fail to provide adequate security or maintain proper standards of safety.
In such cases, victims can sue hotels for negligence, receiving monetary compensation to pay for lost items, or medical bills related to injuries sustained on hotel grounds.
The Role Negligence Plays in Hotel Lawsuits
Some level of negligence by hotel staff must be proven in order to hold a hotel responsible for an injury or loss. A hotel is ‘negligent’ in the eyes of the law when it fails to adequately protect its patrons and employees.
Examples of Hotel Negligence
- The hotel was irresponsible with its supplies or keys
- The hotel did not have enough security
- The hotel failed to provide reasonable services, such as safe parking
- The hotel failed to remove hazards that can cause tripping or falling in parking lots, lobbies, hallways etc.
- The hotel failed to sanitize sheets, blankets, pillows
Negligence can be proven on the part of the hotel by gathering eyewitness statements, gathering physical evidence, or asking questions of hotel staff about their policies. However, because proving negligence can be difficult, many victims seek out skilled injury attorneys to help them with this.
When is a Hotel Liable for Guests?
Technically, any hotel is automatically subject to premises liability since it is a business that provides services to citizens. Therefore, any harm that befalls people on its property may qualify as the hotel’s responsibility.
However, many states, including New York, adhere to “innkeeper’s duty” laws. These are essentially a version of premises liability. They state that innkeepers or hotel owners are responsible for any theft or injury of patrons that occur on their property.
Under the innkeeper’s duty laws, hotels are liable when:
- Employees or guests are injured on their premises
- When people are injured by hotel property
- When personal property is stolen from hotel premises
Alternatively, hotels may be considered liable when the issue that occurred could have been directly prevented had the hotel acted per industry standards or with common sense.
Hotel negligence is common in the United States. When the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a nationwide survey for hotel residents between the years of 2004 and 2008, it found that an average of 7,840 people were victims of negligence in US motels or hotels each year.
Hotel Negligence and Employees
Employees can hold their hotel liable for unsafe working conditions and other issues that may lead to personal injuries. Unfortunately, this is somewhat common in the US, as research from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found hotel employees have higher rates of workplace injuries compared to other types of service workers.
Further data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that about 1 in every 1,000 hotel employees gets an injury on the job every year. Therefore, hotel employees may be interested in securing knowledgeable legal representation when suing their employer for worker’s compensation, and/or through a personal injury claim.
Hotel duties are broadly categorized as any duties that will meet industry standards of care to available guests. For example, hotel duties commonly include:
- Keeping the hotel and any grounds in safe condition to prevent accidental injuries to their guests
- Making repairs to any unsafe conditions swiftly
- Ensuring that inclement weather does not pose temporary hazards to guests, such as frozen sidewalks
- Ensuring an adequate level of security to prevent theft or breaking and entering into certain hotel rooms
- Hiring enough staff to maintain all necessary services and fullfill all duties
- Ensuring that all hotel room door locks function correctly
- Acting on and fixing health and sanitation issues, including plumbing problems or insect infestations
If a hotel fails to adhere to any one of these duties, it could be grounds for a lawsuit based on provable negligence.
How to Prove Hotel Negligence
To prove negligence on the part of a hotel, victims must gather evidence. Hiring help from a legal team is often the fastest and most efficient ways of collecting the evidence needed to prove hotel negligence. Physical evidence and eyewitness accounts are among the most useful pieces of evidence in court.
Physical evidence includes:
- Video recordings, which can be subpoenaed by law enforcement officers if necessary
- Proof of theft using keycard timestamps
- Pictures of physical injuries and related medical records
Meanwhile, victims or their legal representatives can gather eyewitness testimonies from:
- Fellow guests who were present at the time of a crime or negligent act
- Hotel staff
Ultimately, proving a hotel’s negligence can be time-consuming and difficult. Furthermore, the evidence must be gathered swiftly to prevent the hotel from covering up evidence and to prevent the statute of limitations from affecting a potential lawsuit.
Contact New York Hotel Negligence Attorneys Today
For these reasons and more, those who have been mistreated by a hotel and who want to sue the organization should contact skilled New York hotel lawsuit attorneys like Sobo & Sobo. Unlike other legal representatives, Sobo & Sobo is well prepared to help tackle any legal obstacle and can provide a swift, positive outcome for their clients.