Hotel and Motel Injuries
There are many different kinds of hotels and motels in Florida, each offering their own unique customer experience. But there is one thing they all have in common: They each owe the highest duty of care to their guests.
Florida hotel injuries and motel injuries can occur when property owners, management and other staff fail to use reasonable care to protect their guests. State law requires individuals and entities that own or operate a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or other similar facility to maintain that property and all related aspects so that lawful guests will be safe from known dangers or foreseeable risks.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale hotel injury attorneys know that when people book a hotel, they trust that it’s reasonably safe. They are entitled to that expectation and when hotel owners or operators fail to meet those expectations and personal injuries result, that could be grounds to assert a personal injury claim.Common Causes of Hotel Injuries
There are many different types of hotel injuries in Florida. The potential for a successful claim will depend on the facts specific to each case, but some of the more common cases we’ve seen prevail include:
- Swimming Pool Injuries. Swimming pool in general are extremely dangerous. If the surface is too smooth, it can be extremely slippery and dangerous for those walking around it. If it is not properly gated, there is the potential for young children to slip in and drown. If the depths are not clearly marked, someone might mistakenly believe a shallow area is deep enough to safely dive. If it is not properly lit, someone may slip underneath the surface without notice. If it isn’t properly supervised, someone could become seriously injured or drown. F.S. 514 covers regulations of public swimming pools in the state, including those operated by hotels and other recreation sites.
- Slip-and-Fall Accidents. F.S. 768.0755 holds that if a person slips and falls on a transitory substance in a business establishment, the injured person has to prove the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge can be shown with circumstantial evidence that shows the condition lasted for such a length of time that it should have been discovered in the exercise of ordinary care or that it occurred so regularly that it was foreseeable. Slip-and-falls can occur in common areas, such as the hotel lobby or parking lot, but they can also occur near the pool or in the hotel bathroom.
- Balcony Falls. A study published a few years ago in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine revealed that between 1990 and 2006 there were 86,500 balcony falls and injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms. Most of those occurred at private residences, but some did occur in hotels. In some cases, railing on balconies is not up to code or the structural integrity is compromised. This can be particularly dangerous for young children who may not fully understand the danger of leaning on railings that aren’t 100 percent sturdy.
- Burns. We usually see this occurring when the hotel management sets the thermostats far too high. Scalding water from the shower or sink can result in first- and sometimes second-degree burns.
- Assaults. Hotels can sometimes be held accountable for third-party assaults on guests when there is evidence of inadequate security or negligent security. There is no one-size-fits-all for what counts as less-than-adequate security. The type of crime will be relevant as well the history of similar crimes on the property and the foreseeability. For example, a hotel that fails to install security cameras, working locks on doors, secure windows, etc. may be subject to liability if someone is attacked.
- Liquor Liability. Per F.S. 768.125, if a hotel staffer serves alcohol to a minor or someone known to be habitually addicted to alcohol and that individual causes a traffic accident or some other injury, the hotel may be liable for damages.
F.S. 509 is packed with Florida statutes that impose legal responsibilities on hotels and other public lodging establishments. For example, every bedroom or apartment has to be equipped with an approved locking device to the outside or to adjoining rooms.
But beyond that, what you should understand is that as businesses, hotels and motels owe invitees the duty to:
- Use reasonable care in keeping and maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe condition;
- Provide warning of any concealed dangers that are either known to the hotel or should be known and which the invitee cannot discover with the exercise of due care.
Generally speaking, property owners and operators have a duty to routinely inspect the site for possible dangers and either fix them or provide adequate warning of them.
If you have questions about whether your Florida hotel injury might be compensable, we can help.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.