Civil Liability for Hotel Patrons
When people stay in hotels, they do not expect to be the subject of a crime or act of negligence. However, when hotels have not implemented the proper security measures, hotel patrons may be the victim of a crime or an accident. If a hotel does not have proper security and a patron is injured because of an accident or an act of violence, the hotel may be held civilly liable for the patron’s injuries under the theory of premises liability, negligent hiring, or negligent retention.
Premises Liability and Inadequate Hotel Security in Pennsylvania
In accordance with state law, Pennsylvania hotels owe a duty to its patrons to keep the premises reasonably safe. When hotels breach this duty and injury results to a patron, that patron will have a cause of action against the hotel under the theory of premises liability.
While patrons may be able to bring a premises liability claim against a hotel for a number of different reasons, one reason is because the hotel had inadequate security, and, as a result, the patron was injured. To prove that a hotel’s inadequate security caused an injury, the patron must obtain evidence that pinpoints the inadequacies in the hotel’s security and that these specific inadequacies caused his or her injury. For example, if a patron is robbed or physically assaulted while on the hotel’s premises, the patron may use the fact that the hotel’s security team was too small on the date the incident occurred to establish that the hotel’s improper security measures caused the patron to be robbed or physically assaulted. Moreover, the patron can also use the fact that the hotel’s security staff lacked proper training to spot and assess the risk the patron’s attacker posed to hotel patrons to prove the same. Still, if the hotel lacked security cameras, this may also be good evidence to show that the hotel breached its duty of care to its patrons by failing to keep the premises reasonably safe.
Negligent Hiring and Negligent Retention
In addition to having a premises liability claim against a hotel when the hotel’s security caused the patron to be injured, injured patrons may also have a negligent hiring or retention claim against the hotel if one of the hotel’s security staff caused the injury to the patron.
Negligent hiring occurs when a business, in this case a hotel, improperly screens employees before hiring them and a characteristic that would be ascertained during a proper screening injures a patron. Accordingly, in the context of the negligent hiring of hotel security staff, if a hotel fails to conduct a proper background check of a prospective security guard and a proper background check would have indicated that the prospective guard has a history of violence or of using unjustifiable force against others, then the hotel may be held liable under the theory of negligent hiring if the prospective guard is hired, and, thereafter, uses unwarranted force against a patron, which causes the patron harm.
In the same vein, if a hotel later learns that a security staff member has a propensity for using unjustified force against others and fails to fire them before the staff member harms a patron, the patron may hold the hotel liable for any resultant injuries under the theory of negligent retention.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Premises Liability, Negligent Hiring, or Negligent Retention Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries while on a hotel’s premises due to inadequate security measures taken by the hotel in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Law Office of Mark A. Smith represent clients injured at hotels because of inadequate security measures in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Erie, Homestead, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 567-1313 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 322 North Shore Drive, Building 1B, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 and 215 East 8th Avenue, Homestead, PA 15120.
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.