Whether you travel for business or pleasure, chances are you’ll be staying in a hotel during your trip. Hotels have rebounded strongly since the end of the COVID pandemic and have returned to pre-2020 booking and staffing levels. The last thing all these guests and workers expect is to injure themselves in an accident at their hotel. However, hotel accidents do happen, and in the case of hotel workers, at a higher rate than the national average.
It’s essential to know your rights and responsibilities if you find yourself injured while working or staying at a hotel. Below you’ll find out more about what to do if you’re injured at a hotel and what your legal rights are.
Common Types of Injuries
Slip and Fall Accidents: Slippery floors, uneven surfaces, poorly maintained stairs, or inadequate lighting can lead to slips and falls, resulting in broken bones, sprains, or head injuries. If the victim is elderly, the fall can even prove fatal.
Trip and Fall Accidents: Objects left in walkways, loose carpeting, or damaged flooring can cause guests or employees to trip, leading to injuries such as fractures, dislocations, or sprains.
Accidents in Hotel Pools or Spas: Improper maintenance, inadequate supervision, or slippery surfaces in pools and spas can result in drowning, near-drowning accidents, or injuries like spinal cord damage.
Burn Injuries: Malfunctioning electrical systems, scalding water, or inadequate safety measures in hotel kitchens can cause burns that range from mild to severe.
Accidents involving Hotel Staff: Injuries can occur due to lifting heavy objects, repetitive motion injuries, or workplace accidents involving equipment or machinery.
Immediate Steps to Take
Seek Medical Attention: Your health and well-being are of utmost importance. If you’re injured, prioritize getting medical help immediately, even for seemingly minor injuries. Document your injuries and keep copies of all medical records and bills.
Report the Accident: Notify the hotel management or your employer about the accident as soon as possible. Request a written accident report and keep a copy for your records.
Gather Evidence: If possible, take photographs or videos of the scene, documenting any hazards or conditions that contributed to your injury. If anyone witnessed the accident, get their contact information.
Preserve Documentation: Save all records related to the incident, such as medical bills, accident reports, witness statements, and any correspondence with the hotel management or your employer.
Your Rights and the Law as a Hotel Employee
If you were injured as an employee of the hotel, you are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and disability benefits.
In cases where employees are injured by someone that isn’t their employer, they would also have the right to file what’s known as a third-party personal injury lawsuit against that person or entity. An example would be a worker who is injured in a traffic accident while operating a hotel shuttle for their employer.
Your Rights and the Law as a Hotel Guest
Attorney J.J. Dominguez of The Dominguez Firm explains, “Most guests injured during their hotel stay suffer fall accidents. These are considered premises liability cases. Anyone seriously injured in this manner needs the services of an experienced slip and fall attorney right away.”
To hold the hotel responsible, you must prove that they knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to address it. This legal concept is known as Duty of Care. Both employers and hotel owners owe a duty of care to their employees and guests, respectively. This duty includes maintaining a safe environment, regularly inspecting and repairing hazards, providing adequate training, and following applicable safety regulations.
Statute of Limitations
It’s crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in the state the hotel is located in. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. However, specific circumstances may shorten or extend this timeframe, so consult with a personal injury attorney right away.
Understanding your rights and taking immediate action after an injury at a hotel is crucial. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process, whether it involves workers’ compensation or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Remember, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
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