Premises Liability and Your Rights Following a Hotel Accident
As summertime approaches, more people are expected to take to the road and board airplanes for pleasure, and even business trips. A significant increase in the number of people patronizing hotels, motels, and resorts is expected as well. While most people have pleasant, or at least uneventful, stays in hotels, there are instances in which guests are injured. With this duly noted, travelers need to have a basic understanding of the concept of premises liability and their legal rights following a hotel accident.
There are four key issues that you must appreciate if you are injured in a hotel accident:
- Definition of the doctrine of premises liability
- Need to document a hotel accident as thoroughly as circumstances permit
- Report hotel accident to management immediately
- Obtain information about filing a claim
Definition of the Doctrine of Premises Liability
In basic terms, the doctrine of premises liability requires the proprietor of a business to maintain the property on, or in which, it operates in a reasonably safe condition. The proprietor of a business must address a hazard on the premises within a reasonable period of time after it is discovered. What constitutes a reasonable period of time to rectify a hazard depends on the circumstances of the specific situation. For example, if milk is spilled on the floor of a grocery store, the proprietor must clean it up promptly.
Document a Hotel Accident as Thoroughly as Possible
If you are injured in a hotel accident, you need to document the accident itself and any injuries, damages, or losses you sustain as thoroughly and as immediately as possible. Your number one task at hand is to receive prompt, appropriate medical aid and assistance. Documenting an accident scene never takes priority over obtaining medical care.
Understanding these parameters, as part of documenting a hotel accident, a video or photos of the scene and cause of the incident are important. You also will want to make a video or take photos of any injury sustained, if at all possible. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, the technology needed to accomplish making a visual record of a hotel accident is highly accessible.
When at all possible, you will also want to gather the names and complete contact information of any witnesses to a hotel accident. If they are willing, and you are able, obtaining a concise statement from each witness is advisable.
Report Accident to Hotel Management Immediately
An accident on a hotel property must be reported to management staff immediately. If you are unable to do so yourself, a traveling companion should do so on your behalf. You need not make any type of extensive statement to hotel management. In fact, you should not. Rather, you should report the basics of the accident: what happened, how you think it happened, and what appear to be your obvious injuries. Do not answer any questions put forward by hotel management or a representative of the company until you’ve had a chance to discuss your legal rights with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Obtain Information about Filing a Claim for Injuries, Damages, and Losses
Finally, in the immediate aftermath of a hotel accident, obtain information about filing a claim for injuries, damages, and losses. Typically, hotel management can provide you with this information fairly quickly.
If a hotel is part of a larger company, you can obtain this information from the corporate headquarters. If lodging is a smaller operation, like a local motel, you can obtain information about filing a claim for your injuries from the owner of the company.
Bear in mind that there can be deadlines related to filing and pursuing a claim following a hotel accident. Therefore, you cannot procrastinate initiating the claims process. Delaying the filing of a claim can be to your detriment.
In many ways, the most significant step that you need to take in the aftermath of a hotel accident is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a free consultation by clicking here.