Anyone, anywhere, at almost any time, can be injured in a slip-and-fall accident or a trip-and-fall accident. That is one reason why, in California, a property owner has a legal responsibility to ensure that his or her properties are “reasonably” free of hazards and safe for visitors.
If you are injured in California because a hotel’s owners were negligent, or if you become a crime victim at a hotel or on a hotel’s premises, the hotel’s owners – in some cases – could be held legally accountable for your personal injury or injuries.
With millions of residents in southern California and millions of annual visitors, a lot of people sustain injuries here because of negligence. If you become one of them, discuss your legal rights and options as quickly as possible with a qualified California premises liability attorney.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL OBLIGATIONS OF HOTEL OWNERS?
Hotel owners are required by the law in California to keep walkways free of obstacles, to mark clearly locations that are potentially dangerous, and to keep guests and visitors reasonably safe from criminal activity and violence.
Many hotels use security cameras in staircases and hallways. The larger hotels have security guards on duty. Most hotel owners sincerely do what they can to make sure that guests are not injured and that criminal activity does not take place.
However, some hotels are negligent regarding security. They may not have enough cameras or security guards, the cameras may not be properly maintained, or the security personnel may not be adequately trained or experienced.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WAYS HOTEL OWNERS ARE NEGLIGENT?
A hotel could conceivably be held liable for shootings, assaults, rapes, and incidents of sexual assault or sexual abuse. The owners may also be held liable if you are harmed by food poisoning at a hotel, injured in a slip-and-fall accident, or injured because an elevator malfunctioned.
Neglected floors are a top cause of slip-and-fall injuries in California hotels. Sleet and rain, uneven walkways, worn carpets and floor mats, and broken or cracked floor tiles are all potentially hazardous.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE IF YOU ARE INJURED AT A HOTEL?
If you slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall at a southern California hotel, and you’re injured, get medical attention immediately. Notify the owner or manager, and if at all possible, take photos of the injury scene. Keep and make copies of any documents or paperwork from the doctor or hospital.
If you are injured at a hotel in California – by criminal violence or simply because of negligence – you are entitled to complete compensation for your medical bills, your lost wages, and all other related losses and damages.
However, being “entitled” to compensation does not mean that a hotel’s owners will simply hand you a reimbursement check. You will have to prove that the owners were negligent and that their negligence is the direct cause of your personal injury or injuries.
HOW WILL A PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYER HELP YOU?
In southern California, an injured victim of negligence will need to be advised and represented by an experienced Pasadena premises liability attorney. Your attorney will investigate your claim, gather evidence, question witnesses, and fight diligently for the compensation you need.
If you are traumatized or seriously injured by negligence or crime at a hotel, no amount of money can change what happened, but a premises liability lawsuit can pay for your losses and can help you to move positively and constructively into the future.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PREVAIL WITH A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
If you become injured because of negligence or because of criminal activity at a California hotel, can you file a premises liability claim and be compensated for your injuries and other losses? To prevail with a premises liability claim, you and your attorney will have to prove that:
1. The hotel’s owners did not fulfill their legal obligation to take measures to keep the premises reasonably safe.
2. There was a potentially dangerous situation on the premises, and you were not sufficiently informed about it.
3. You sustained a personal injury or injuries because of negligence or crime at the hotel, and you and your lawyer can prove it.
4. The negligence of the hotel’s owners contributed directly to your injury.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES AGAINST A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
How can a hotel’s owners defend themselves against a premises liability claim? An owner may argue that an injury victim’s own negligence was the reason why the victim was injured, and a hotel owner may also offer one of these assertions as a defense:
1. The victim was not paying attention to his or her surroundings and circumstances.
2. The victim was either trespassing or had wandered into a restricted area.
3. A reasonable, average person would have recognized what was clearly a hazardous area.
In the state of California, premises liability claims are almost always settled out-of-court by the lawyers for the opposing sides, so the injured victims of negligence are not in most cases required to make a court appearance.
Occasionally, a premises liability claim cannot be settled out-of-court. If your own claim cannot be resolved privately, your lawyer may suggest taking the case to trial and asking a jury to order the hotel’s owners to compensate you for your medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.
HOW QUICKLY WILL AN INJURY VICTIM NEED TO ACT?
A three-year statute of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to file a premises liability lawsuit in our state. The three years typically begins on the date of the injury, but if you sustain a difficult-to-find injury, the three-year period may begin the day the injury is discovered.
Do not wait three years to speak to an attorney. Do it at once. Premises liability attorneys provide the injured victims of negligence with a free first legal consultation, so you can talk to a reputable Pasadena personal injury attorney, and learn where you stand legally, at no cost.
Nothing is more important than your health and your future. If you are injured by a property owner’s negligence or by criminal activity – at a hotel or on any other private property in this state – a good accident lawyer’s help is your right, and your future could depend on it.