Whether you decide to spend a weekend on the Las Vegas Strip and catch a couple of shows, drive up to Reno for a few days or travel further, you expect the hotel in which you’re staying – especially if it’s one that comes highly recommended and is fairly pricey – to be safe. However, dangers can lurk on any property – including hotels.
Even the best hotels are somewhat understaffed these days. That can leave spills uncleaned and torn carpeting unfixed. Security might not be as tight as it should be.
If you’re injured or otherwise harmed at a hotel, it’s basically the same as if you slipped on a wet floor in a grocery store or tripped on a wayward extension cord at your bank. Basically, to hold the owners responsible, you would need to show that they knew or should have known of the hazard and did nothing about it. That would constitute negligence.
What is required to prove negligence?
To prove negligence, you would need to show that:
- The hotel had a duty of care.
- It breached that duty.
- The breach caused your harm.
For example, say there was a large spill in the lobby just in front of the concierge desk that had been there for a while and you slipped in it, fell and broke your ankle. You didn’t see it, no one warned you about it and there were no cones or signs around it. That’s probably a pretty clear case of a breach of duty of care.
However, say you go outside the hotel and get robbed a couple of blocks away or struck by a person riding an e-scooter down the sidewalk. You really can’t say the hotel staff had a duty to warn you about criminals and reckless scooter riders in the area.
If, on the other hand, a maid carelessly leaves your room door wide open after she’s finished cleaning, and someone walks off with your blackjack winnings from the night before – along with a very expensive coat you just purchased – that might be a different matter. Hotel rooms have safes, but you can’t be expected to lock up everything. The cleaning staff has a responsibility to close the door when they’re finished.
A hotel that knows they’re at fault may try to avoid a lawsuit by settling with you. It’s always wise to seek guidance before signing away your rights to take legal action.