When you’re a guest at a hotel, you expect to have a fun and relaxing time during your stay. However, a slip and fall accident can turn a pleasurable vacation into a stressful experience. Hotels owe a duty of care to guests—they have an obligation to ensure the premises are kept in a reasonably safe condition. If the hotel failed to do so, and you were injured as a result, it could be held liable for the accident.
Causes of Hotel Slip and Falls
Hotel slip and fall accidents can happen nearly anywhere on the premises. Unsafe conditions may occur in the lobby, in the parking lot, at an onsite restaurant, in a stairwell, at the pool, or in a gym area. Common causes of hotel slip and fall accidents that lead to injuries can include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Icy walkways
- Spills or debris
- Precipitation accumulation
- Excessive floor wax
- Torn carpet
- Broken tiles
- Loose mats
After a slip and fall accident, it’s critical to gather as much evidence as possible. Take a photo of the hazardous condition with your smartphone and obtain the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. You should also file an incident report with the hotel and obtain a copy. Video surveillance footage and maintenance log books can also be essential in proving your case, among other evidence based on the specific facts and circumstances of the accident.
Can a Hotel Be Held Liable for a Slip and Fall?
Hotels aren’t responsible for every slip and fall that occurs on the property. Importantly, they only have a duty to protect guests from a foreseeable risk of harm. To be held accountable for your slip and fall injuries, the hotel owner, management, or an employee must have been negligent or careless in some way. Negligence can be established in a personal injury action if a hazardous condition existed that the owner or one of its agents knew about—or should have known about—and failed to remedy it.
For example, if the hotel owner had knowledge of a defect in the flooring and did not repair it in a timely manner, you might be entitled to bring a lawsuit if you were hurt as a result. A hotel may also be held liable for failure to warn about potential danger by not placing the appropriate signage. Significantly, a hotel can be held vicariously liable for an employee’s actions or inaction under the theory of respondeat superior.
In the event you caused the condition that gave rise to your injury (for instance, by spilling a beverage in your hotel room), the hotel would not be responsible. However, if an accident occurred in your room due to the hotel’s failure to repair a leaky pipe or faulty plumbing, you may be eligible to take legal action against the hotel.
Compensation for Hotel Slip and Fall Injuries
Depending on the cause of the incident and the surrounding circumstances, the injuries you may have sustained can be severe. Hotel slip and falls can result in nerve damage, broken bones, paralysis, brain injury, fractures, and various other injuries that can impact your daily life and livelihood. It’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately — not only for your health, but to ensure your case is properly documented through your medical records.
If you are able to demonstrate the hotel’s liability and sufficiently establish your injuries, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your economic losses and pain and suffering. Economic losses cover unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, and other pecuniary damages. Pain and suffering damages—also known as non-economic damages—are meant to compensate you financially for the physical pain and mental anguish you experienced in connection with your injuries.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident at a hotel, it’s vital to have the representation of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help ensure the negligent party is held accountable. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has been advocating for the rights of slip and fall victims in New York and securing positive results in their cases for more than 30 years.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.