Hotels owe very high standards of care to guests. Hotels guests are “invitees” by law, or visitors expressly invited to the property for the hotel’s benefit. As invitees, hotel guests have the right to an environment that’s free from hazards. It is every hotel’s duty to repair known dangers, search for unknown ones, and warn guests of risks that may not be obvious. Any breach of these duties, resulting in guest injury, may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit so speak with an experienced Bakersfield premises liability attorney to learn more. There are four main elements you need to sue a hotel in Kern County:
What is a Hotel’s Duty?
Common accidents that can happen at hotels are slip and falls, elevator/escalator accidents, swimming pool accidents, food poisoning, parking lot car accidents, and acts of violence. If you suffer injuries after any type of incident at a hotel, start looking into your potential rights to sue. The elements needed to sue a hotel start with proving the hotel’s duty to you. This is typically an easy thing to prove since hotels automatically owe all guests and property visitors (other than adult trespassers) basic duties of care. These duties include:
- Disclosing health and safety hazards
- Protecting guests’ privacy
- Keeping a reasonably safe premises
- Not discriminating against guests
- Taking adequate security measures
The hotel’s duties of care to you in a particular accident may depend on the circumstances surrounding your injuries. Say, for example, that someone mugged you in the hotel’s parking lot. If the courts deem that a history of crime at the hotel or other factor is enough for the hotel to have foreseen the attack, the hotel may be guilty of negligence if it didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the mugging, such as hiring a security guard. If, however, the courts rule that the hotel didn’t have reason to foresee the attack, the hotel may not have owed you the duty to hire a security guard.
What is a Breach of Duty?
Breaches of duty can take many shapes and forms on hotel premises. A “breach” is any act or failure to act that goes against accepted standards of care for the industry and situation. Proving a hotel’s breach of duty or negligence may take an investigation of what happened. As an injured party, you must prove that the defendant acted in a way that a reasonable and prudent party would not have in similar circumstances, resulting in your accident.
Injured hotel guests must prove that the hotel’s breach of duty of care was the actual and proximate cause of the accident in question. The “proximate cause” of an accident is the primary cause. It might not be the initial event that started the accident, but the action that produced the foreseeable negative consequences. The injured party must show that his or her injuries resulted directly from the proximate cause (the cause without which the accident would not have occurred.)
Finally, the victim of a hotel accident must have real, compensable damages to have grounds to sue the establishment. If you did not suffer damages such as a personal injury, the wrongful death of a loved one, property damage, pain and suffering, medical bills, or lost wages, the hotel will not owe you anything, even if an accident happened. You must have suffered some kind of damages to have grounds for a lawsuit. Talk to a Bakersfield lawyer for more information about filing a suit against a hotel.