Premises liability becomes pertinent if a person is injured while on someone else’s property, due to the tenant’s negligence or the property owner’s negligence. For example, if you were away and staying at a hotel but slipped and fell in a hallway and suffered an injury as a result, the hotel could be held liable. You would be able to file a premises liability claim against that hotel to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages if you are unable to work, and for pain and suffering.
Unsafe Conditions Are Grounds for a Claim
Premises liability claims can be filed against a number of parties, including homeowners, tenants, landlords and commercial businesses. Generally, in order to file such a claim, there must be unsafe conditions on and around the premises. Unsafe conditions can be in many forms, such as wet floors, icy surfaces, poor lighting, uneven sidewalks, uneven stairs or floors, negligent security, and even aggressive dogs.
How to Prove Negligence
To be able to successfully file a premises liability claim against a hotel, business, homeowner, or other party, you must establish that the party was negligent in some form or fashion. That means you must prove that the hotel, business, or homeowner breached their duty to ensure that no visitor was in danger. There is a certain duty that these parties are obligated to enforce
Hotel Duties to Guests
Hotels have a duty to ensure that their guests are kept safe. They are required to exercise reasonable care while operating and having guests, also known as “invitees,” so that the guests are highly protected under premises liability law. A hotel is required to inspect the grounds and maintain the property in a manner that is reasonably safe. This means making any necessary repairs to any potentially dangerous conditions and taking steps to ensure that guests are protected from any known conditions that can be hazardous. For example, if there is an area that experienced a leak, there should be signs posted up where guests can clearly see them.
The hotel also has the duty of maintaining adequate lighting, keeping stairs clear and repairing any defects that are known throughout the premises. There are other duties hotels are required to ensure in order to keep their guests safe. These are as follows:
- Controlling insect infestation, such as bed bugs
- Having the proper security available to prevent theft or assault on guests, typically security guards and security cameras
- Exercising reasonable care when hiring hotel staff
- Training hotel pool staff to prevent guest injuries
- Maintaining stairs and elevators
- Maintaining locks on hotel rooms
If there are any known areas within the hotel that are potentially dangerous, the hotel is obligated to warn guests of it. For instance, if there are steps not easily noticeable in an area, there should be a sign that reads, “Watch Your Step.” Pool areas are often the locations of various accidents. Some hotels choose to hire lifeguards to supervise visitors, but many hotels post warning signs stating that the area is unsupervised. Both of these actions may prevent a hotel from being held negligent if a visitor is injured near the pool.
With non-guests and trespassers, a hotel has minimal duties. Non-guests can enter the premises without permission from guests but can be told to leave if they perform certain activities. Trespassers don’t have a right to be on the premises. If someone is injured while trespassing on the hotel’s property, the hotel would not be held liable.
The best thing to do if you believe you have a legitimate premises liability claim is to hire a skilled premises liability or personal injury lawyer Des Moines trusts. An attorney knows the ins and outs of the law and may help you figure out if you have a viable legal claim for damages
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into premises liability and hotel accidents.