Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Hotel guest injuries: Who is liable?

If you have been injured during your hotel stay, you may be wondering how you are going to take care of the medical bills and other expenses that may occur as a result of your accident. Depending on the circumstances in which your injury occurred, you may be able to file a premises liability personal injury claim for compensation.

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What are some common hotel injuries?

While there are many injuries that can occur at a hotel, some of the most common hotel injuries that result in liability claims include:

  • Slip-and-falls - Hotels are expected to maintain the areas that guests will utilize. Things like loose of torn carpet, wet floors without proper signage, and cracks can all result in guests becoming injured due to a fall.
  • Swimming pools - While most hotel pools do not have active lifeguards, they are expected to post warnings and rules as well as keep the area maintained to reduce the chance of injury. This includes maintaining the proper chemical levels in the water, as well.
  • Food poisoning - Use of unsanitary food service products or failure to properly store and cook foods, can lead to cases of food poisoning among guests.
  • Broken furniture - Furniture in a hotel room should be maintained so that it does not break or cause a fall when used by a guest. 
  • Bed bugs - Hotel linens should be adequately cleaned and sanitized in between guests to not only keep them clean, but ensure that any bugs, germs, or bacteria have been destroyed.
  • Criminal conduct - Your safety during your stay at a hotel is the responsibility of their security staff. The hotel is responsible for preventing crimes against hotel patrons as well as remove any criminal elements from their property.

Can a hotel be held liable for a personal injury?

A hotel can be held liable for personal injuries that occur on their property or are caused by staff when it is determined that it was caused by negligence. Negligence is defined as failure to provide care that the average person would under similar circumstances.

How do you prove a hotel or hotel employee was negligent?

If you suffered a personal injury at a hotel and are the plaintiff in a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the hotel had failed to provide reasonable standards of care to prevent your injury from occurring. The hotel is required to maintain safety precautions and regularly inspect the premises to ensure the safety or their guests. Failure to do so can be constituted of a breach of duty and opens them up to personal injury claims.

Is the hotel liable for third party criminal acts?

If the crime was committed by a third party that was not an employee of the hotel, then you would most likely not be able to file a personal injury claim. The exception to the rule is if the hotel was aware of the ongoing criminal activity and failed to take measures to prevent it.

Is a hotel liable for theft of a guest's personal belongings?

A hotel will not be responsible for your stolen belongings unless you can prove that the hotel failed to provide a safe environment for your belongings such as a faulty lock or broken door. If you can prove that your belongings were stolen by an employee of the hotel or that they were taken while under control of the hotel, such as from the front desk, then you might have a claim.

What are the safety responsibilities of a hotel to prevent injury?

Hotels are required to maintain reasonable care and provide preventative measures to help ensure guest safety. Some of the hotel's primary responsibilities include:

  • Repair any unsafe items or areas
  • Maintain proper lighting at entrances and exits
  • Train staff on safety and first aid
  • Maintain locks and other safety features
  • Inspect and control insects
  • Maintain security
  • Inspect and maintain stairs and elevators

Should I consult an attorney about a personal injury suffered at a hotel?

Since proving negligence can be challenging, it is important to consult with a lawyer to help gather all the necessary information to file a claim. An attorney will be able to gather witness information as well as sort through necessary evidence to ensure that your rights are protected.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Toll Free: 866-466-5789
Phone: 412-567-1232
Fax: 412-391-7453
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