Thursday, June 2, 2016

Is a Clearwater Hotel Liable For Guest Injuries?


When you stay at a hotel, motel, inn, or bed and breakfast, you are usually on vacation, traveling, and expecting to have a fun, relaxing time away from home. However, if hotel or motel property owners do not sufficiently take care of their building and the surrounding area, it could lead to serious guest injuries.

A hotel has a general duty to exercise reasonable care in operating its business and protecting guests.  A hotel guest is considered an "invitee" under Florida premises liability law[1] and is legally entitled to a high amount of protection.  A Florida hotel must inspect the hotel grounds and maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.  This duty includes quickly repairing dangerous conditions and taking affirmative steps to protect guests from known or reasonably discoverable conditions.

Florida Hotel Duties

A hotel's premises include the hotel's airport shuttle bus, the hotel parking lot as well as inside the hotel itself. This includes all common areas, meeting and banquet halls, swimming pools, guest rooms, and other areas where guests are free to move about.

A hotel has many duties it must fulfill on behalf of guests including:

           Maintain adequate lighting

           Keep steps dry and unobstructed

           Repair hotel defects and maintain furniture

           Control insect infestation ("bed bugs")

           Maintain proper security (security guards and cameras) to avoid theft and assaults on guests

           Exercise reasonable care in hiring hotel staff

           Train hotel pool staff to prevent injuries to guests

           Maintain elevators

           Maintain locks on hotel rooms

                     Prevent criminal activity or theft

A hotel has minimal duties to non-guests and trespassers. Non-guests have a right to enter the hotel premises with the permission of guests, but non-guests may be evicted for engaging in prohibited activities.

Common Causes of Hotel Injuries in Clearwater

           Swimming pools

Swimming pools are exceedingly dangerous. When the perimeter area is too smooth, a guest can easily fall. Because the surface is often partially made of concrete, a fallen guest can suffer serious injuries, including broken bones and head trauma. Improperly marked steps inside a hotel pool can result in a guest losing his footing.

           Broken furniture

Many hotels make in-house repairs to furniture which can break from overuse. Some furniture is just too old. If a guest is injured as a result of broken furniture, the hotel can be liable for their damages.

           Slip and falls

           When there is a difference in the levels of the floor, worn carpeting or cracked flooring, a guest can trip and fall.  Bunched rubber matting at entries and exists also cause stumbling and falling. 

                Bed bugs

Bed bugs are very small insects that can infest hotel mattresses, pillows, furniture, and even light switches. They are hard to see with the naked eye and very difficult to eradicate. Bed bugs bites can cause small blisters on human skin that can take hours or even day to appear. The guest can also carry them home in clothes and suitcases where it can cost thousands of dollars to eliminate the bugs from a private home.

                Burns

Burns can occur when hotels set hot water thermostats too high. Showerheads can flow scalding water on an unsuspecting guest's skin, resulting in first or even second-degree burns.

         Assaults

Unsuspecting tourists and vacationers can drop their guard while at hotels. They carry cash and credit cards on them instead of leaving them in their rooms or the hotel's safe. Criminals know these guests are easy targets. When a hotel fails to provide adequate security, criminals can leave guests physically injured and psychologically traumatized

Liability of Hotels for Employee Conduct

A hotel may be liable for the acts of its employees[2].  The hotel’s liability depends on whether the employee’s actions were performed “within the scope of employment.”  A hotel may be liable for an employee’s actions even if the hotel did not sanction the conduct, was unaware of the incident, or did not have direct control or supervision over the employee at the time the incident occurred.

Contact a Clearwater Premises Liability Lawyer

If you have been injured while on the premises of a hotel, motel, or resort, and that injury could have been prevented if not for the carelessness or negligence of the owner of the property, you may not be responsible for your medical bills, your lost wages, or your pain and suffering.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled premises liability attorneys will investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law to collect all of the compensation to which you are entitled.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900


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