Like many businesses, hotels serve the public. Since a hotel provides services that differ in key ways from many other businesses, however, their responsibilities to guests differ as well.
Hotels have certain legal duties toward their guests. These include a duty to use reasonable care to protect guests from injuries, including the responsibility to address reasonably foreseeable risks – either by fixing the problem or by warning guests about it so they can protect themselves.
Guests in hotels throughout the country see this duty being carried out every day, often without realizing it. For instance, the sight of a hotel staff member mopping up a spilled coffee on the lobby floor, then placing a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign over the spot, is one example of a hotel both addressing a potentially dangerous condition (the spill) and warning guests about lingering risks (the wet floor, which may be slippery until it dries).
When a hotel fails to take reasonable care, serious injuries can result. Negligence in the upkeep of the hotel leading to burned-out lightbulbs, broken stairs, or other problems can cause serious harm. Failure to provide adequate security can also result in injuries to guests from third parties, for which the hotel may be liable if the risk of criminal activities was foreseeable but reasonable security measures weren’t implemented.
While hotels are not obligated to eliminate or warn of dangers on the entire property, they do have a responsibility to address these issues in any place guests might reasonably be expected to go. These areas include guest rooms, hallways, lobbies and common areas, parking areas, and the sidewalks or other areas immediately surrounding the building.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.