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Who’s Liable for an Injury Sustained at a Hotel?

Who’s Liable for an Injury Sustained at a Hotel?

When you go on a vacation or a work trip, you typically want your time in your hotel to be relatively uninteresting. It is a place to sleep, shower, and change your clothing. If you have enough time and it is a nice enough hotel, you may take a dip in the pool or visit the workout room. What you don’t expect from your experience is to suffer an injury. 

If you are unlucky enough to get injured while at a hotel, you will probably have some questions. The most important question is who is liable for that injury. It could be the hotel, you, or even some other party. This guide will help you understand typical scenarios and who is liable. 

Premises Liability 

A hotel is a public accommodation. Public accommodations are required to maintain safety standards that protect patrons, employees, and anyone else visiting the premises for legitimate reasons. If the hotel is negligent in maintaining those standards, it is responsible for injuries resulting from that negligence. 

For example, if the hotel has a stairwell and one of the stairs has a broken tile, management is required to either correct that situation or warn people of the danger. If the hotel administration fails to do either and you slip and fall, the hotel will be liable for your injury.  

Typically, the only defense against this liability is if the hotel staff were unaware of the danger. However, even this defense has limits. The hotel management is required to regularly inspect the premises and can’t claim ignorance if its staff didn’t make reasonable attempts to be aware of dangers. 

Your Negligence 

Just because you were injured in a hotel, that doesn’t mean the hotel is responsible for your injuries. If you were negligent, you are liable for any injuries that you suffered. Some common examples of negligence that can result in injuries are: 

  • Ignoring warning placards or signs 
  • Swimming in the hotel pool when a lifeguard isn’t present 
  • Using weight lifting equipment improperly or without a spotter 
  • Running in the halls or on stairs 

In these types of situations, the hotel takes the appropriate steps to protect you from harm. However, you were negligent, and that directly contributed to the injuries you suffered. You may be able to get compensation for your medical bills if you have medical insurance, but you shouldn’t expect any hotel insurance to pay for your expenses. 

Other Parties’ Irresponsibility 

Imagine some hotel patrons are drunk and wandering around the hotel. They bump into you while drunkenly wandering around and knock you to the floor, resulting in you suffering a broken ankle. Most likely, the drunken revelers are responsible for your injury. 

You weren’t doing anything irresponsible, and similarly, the hotel didn’t create an unsafe situation. If the other party had been more careful, no one would have gotten injured. 

Joint Liability 

In some circumstances, multiple parties will be responsible. Returning to the previous scenario, imagine now that the drunken guests were previously drinking at the hotel bar. The bartender noticed that they were getting drunk but continued to serve them drinks well after they were noticeably intoxicated. 

In that situation, both the drunken guests and the hotel may be partially responsible for your injury. If the bartender had cut them off before they got too intoxicated, there is a good chance they wouldn’t have drunkenly bumped into you.  

That is the kind of situation where it may be difficult to get respective insurance companies to agree on how responsibility should be divided. You will likely need to file a lawsuit to get appropriate compensation. 

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help 

If you were injured at a hotel, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The hotel has lawyers on call, and you will probably get contacted by one shortly after the injury. 

Before you agree to anything, you should consult with your lawyer and let them investigate what caused the injury. In the best-case scenario, this will give you better negotiating power. In the worst-case scenario, this gives your lawyer extra time before the statute of limitations runs out to prepare for a lawsuit. 

Consult With a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

A stay at a New York hotel should be relaxing and comfortable. Suffering an injury is just the opposite of that. While we can’t prevent the injury, the attorneys at our law firm will help make you more comfortable by making sure you understand your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.