Hurt at a Hotel? You Can Sue.
No one plans to get hurt at a hotel. With 63 percent of Americans stating they intend to stay in a hotel this holiday season, injuries can and do happen. From Christmas vacations to hotel stays while visiting relatives, whatever the reason for your stay, your hotel is responsible for your well-being while you are a guest. If you become injured because of hotel management’s negligence, you can consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover fair compensation from the hotel or its insurance company.
Common types of hotel accidents and injuries
When you are paying for your accommodations, you expect them to be clean and safe. This includes proper maintenance of common areas such as elevators, hallways, sidewalks, and stairways. Unfortunately, not all hotels keep their grounds free from the kinds of hazards that frequently lead to accidents and injuries of their guests. Some of the most common reasons for hotel guest injuries include:
- Bed bugs. Just thinking about these pests can make your skin crawl. Unfortunately, bedbugs can infest hotel bedding, furniture, and even carpeting. Sometimes they are difficult to spot, and guests only realize there is a problem when they wake up with bug bites or other skin irritation from exposure. Other times, they can be unfortunate enough to get a few hitchhikers in their luggage and take them home with them.
- Broken furniture. Hotel furniture gets a lot of use from guests. Whether it is tables and chairs in common areas, or couches in private suites, things tend to break from regular use. Some hotels save money on repairs by having them performed by their in-house maintenance staff. Repairs may be insufficient or used as a band aid for older furniture that should be replaced because it is simply worn out. When hotels fail to make proper repairs or replacement and a guest is injured, they can be liable for their negligence.
- Slips and falls. Slip and fall accidents are the number-one reason for most personal injury lawsuits. Uneven sidewalks, wet floors, and poorly maintained stairs are among the common culprits behind slips and falls in hotels. When guests take a tumble because of a hotel’s negligence, they can suffer broken bones, head injuries, and sprains.
- Swimming pools. Most hotels are not required to have a lifeguard on duty. They must, however, post rules for pool usage and a notice that there is no lifeguard available to guests. While hotel guests assume a certain level of risk swimming in a pool that is not monitored by a lifeguard, hotel staff still are liable for things like pool maintenance that includes proper chemical usage and water temperature.
What are your legal rights in a hotel?
Laws vary from state to state. In New Mexico, hotels are liable to guests for any injuries or illnesses that arise out of the hotel’s negligence. Loss or theft of property is included as a legal right for guests in New Mexico hotels, even though it does not fall under personal injury law. Among the many assurances that hotels must provide to guests includes their safety and security. A hotel is obligated to extend these protections to common and private areas of their facility, including:
- Meeting rooms and banquet halls.
- Gyms and fitness areas.
- Parking lots and garages.
- Public restrooms.
- Shuttle buses.
- Swimming pools.
Hotels must take reasonable steps to ensure your safety and prevent foreseeable accidents. They have a duty of care to protect guests from harm that could reasonably happen if they ignore their obligations. For instance, if they provide a shuttle bus service from the airport, they must perform background checks on their drivers to make sure they have a clean criminal and driving record. If their driver has an accident that causes injuries to passengers and it later comes out that they had a history of reckless driving, the hotel can be on the hook. If they provide parking lots and garages for guests, they must take measures to keep those areas safe and protected. These are just two examples.
What to do if you are injured at a hotel
If you or a member of your party suffers injuries because of the hotel’s negligence, it is important to obtain the proper documentation. Photos of poorly maintained stairways or furniture that is ill-repaired or worn help prove your case if you are injured using them. If you require medical treatment from a slip or fall, your medical records serve as evidence of your injuries and how they were obtained. Calling a personal injury lawyer experienced in hotel claims is another important step injured hotel guests must take as soon as possible. Give us a call at 505-750-2363 or request your free case consultation online today, and a member of our team will be happy to assist.