When you’re staying at a hotel, whether it’s for work, pleasure, or maybe a combination, the last thing you want to think about is getting hurt.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality sometimes. From being hurt in elevator accidents to slip and fall accidents, there are certain things you should know if you or your loved one is hurt at a hotel.
These injuries have likely been on the decline for the past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic halting most travel. Now, with the vaccine being rolled out in the U.S. and around the world, this could again become problematic.
The following are key things to know about hotel injuries and how to handle the situation if you are hurt while you’re staying at one.
What Are the Most Common Hotel Injuries?
Some of the injuries that are most common at hotels and similar lodging facilities include:
- Slips, trips, and falls: Slip, trip, and fall accidents don’t just occur at hotels—they can occur anywhere. They do tend to be common in hotels, however. There are often obstructed walkways and things like poor lighting, drink spills, and areas around pools and hot tubs that are slippery and perhaps not well-marked. Floors that have been recently mopped, loose flooring, and uneven walkways are also reasons for slip and fall accidents at hospitality facilities.
- Assaults: An assault can occur at a hotel, and especially if the security and staff of the facility didn’t provide reasonable care to keep you safe. Sometimes these assaults may be from other guests or people from outside the hotel. In other instances, they might occur from people who work at the hotel itself.
- Burns: There are a wide variety of reasons burns can be common at hotels, including irons and appliances, scalding shower water, and heating equipment in food areas that is too hot or that isn’t properly labeled to let visitors know the temperature.
- Exercise equipment: A lot of hotels have gyms, and that can be appealing for guests and would-be guests. At the same time, exercise equipment can, at times, be inherently dangerous.
- Elevator injuries: Elevator injuries can be severe, and more than 10,000 people are injured each year as a result. Elevators can malfunction because of improper or inadequate maintenance and faulty wiring, as examples. The owner of public facilities has the legal duty to keep the premises safe, and this extends to elevators.
Other potential incidents that may not lead to injuries but can lead to illness and distress include bed bugs and unsanitary conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals, and food poisoning.
So what do you do if you’re hurt at a hotel?
What to Do Right After You’re Injured
Immediately following an injury, whether you’re the one who’s hurt or it’s someone in your family, there are some things you should do.
The first thing to do is to check the severity of the injuries. Determine if medical care is needed. Even if you don’t think you’re severely hurt, it’s still a good idea to get medical care.
Often, right after an injury, our adrenaline can mask pain and injuries. A proper medical exam will help gauge how severe your underlying injuries might actually be. You may be able to get medical treatment onsite. Large hotels and facilities will often have medical personnel at the hotel or someone they can call.
As such, you should let the hotel management know right away what happened. You should ask management to take a statement from you and file a detailed report. You should also ask for their insurance information, and you should ask for a follow-up on the situation from their management team.
If you can, take pictures and videos of the scene of your accident.
If there are any witnesses, which there often are at hotels, ask them to record what they saw. You can record them on your phone. You should also ask for their contact information.
After your accident, look around and also ask if there are any nearby surveillance cameras. You may ultimately need this footage.
If you are hurt at a hotel, don’t forego medical care. This is important because you may need that documentation later on.
If you were to take legal action against the hotel at some point and you didn’t see a doctor at the time of your accident and injuries, it becomes much tougher to prove that your injuries are the result of that specific accident.
Liability for Hotel Injuries
When you’re a guest at a hotel, it’s important that managers and hotel owners follow a high standard of care to ensure safety. There is an expectation on the part of hotel management that they will take all reasonable possible action to ensure the hotel premises are safe for guests.
This includes all areas of the premises, such as parking garages, shuttle buses that the hotel owns, guest rooms, fitness centers, and restaurants.
The term foreseeable is important here since management should take precautions against “foreseeable” harm. This essentially means that hotel management is either aware or should be aware of the risk of certain situations and care should be taken to mitigate that risk.
If the management and staff of a hotel fail to keep the property safe for guests, then they may be liable for resulting injuries.
If you’re a guest and you’re injured, or someone in your family is injured at a hotel, you may be compensated for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
The challenge in these situations is proving that the hotel was negligent, and that led to your injuries. That’s where an experienced attorney becomes important. They can help gather evidence and create a case that shows the liability of the hotel. If you are hurt, once you’ve taken care of everything immediately following the accident, it’s smart to consult with an attorney sooner rather than later. There are statutes of limitation on these types of injury cases.