When you stay at a hotel, you expect that hotel to take certain steps to keep you safe. This doesn’t mean that injuries are impossible, but it does mean that the hotel owners and staff can’t be negligent in their duties and responsibilities. If they are, then the hotel itself may be responsible for any injuries you suffer.
In many cases, injuries happen because of a lack of proper security or other safety measures. It’s important to know how this can occur, how you can avoid it and what to do if it happens. Understanding the hazards is just the first step.
Examples of security issues
Below are a few potential security issues that you may notice the next time you stay at a hotel. Some of them can be reported and fixed, but not all. Be wary if you notice them.
- Inadequate lighting: The hotel does not have proper lighting in the parking lot. This increases the risk of being a victim of theft or assault after dusk. Inadequate lighting can also lead to trip and fall accidents.
- Unsecured windows: The hotel doesn’t have adequate locks on the windows. Maybe the windows don’t have locks at all; maybe the locks are broken. Some travel experts note that most of the theft seen at hotels occurs because windows are not locked and secured.
- Key card errors: The door locks don’t work. This may not be a security issue if it’s impossible to open it with your key card, but it becomes a problem if the key card reader allows any card to open the door or if the lock itself won’t engage.
When lack of security leads to physical injuries
When instances of the above occur, it’s not uncommon for there to also be physical injuries involved. For instance, let’s say that someone thinks your room is empty and tries to sneak in to steal your computer. They find out that you’re actually asleep and, as a result, attack. A hotel theft incident is no longer just a property crime.
Who is responsible?
Many people would assume that, in this situation, the criminal would be responsible for your injuries. That is correct in the criminal law sense. They will face charges if arrested. However, if the hotel was negligent and its failure to take security measures resulted in your injury, the hotel could be liable for damages. This is known as premises liability.
Each jurisdiction will differ on the rules regarding hotel liability. Those with questions should consult with a legal professional knowledgeable in this area.