Hazards in a Hotel
A hotel is a place in which you are supposed to be comfortable. It is designed to be your home away from home for a short time. Even if you have high standards for hotels, cleanliness and safety should be expected for all of them.
Sadly, not all hotels are kept up to these standards. Carpets may be frayed, floor tiles could be chipped and cracked, and showers and bathtubs may not be safeguarded to prevent slips and falls.
Anyone who has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident knows the sudden, devastating impact the incident can have on everyday life. The victim is left to cope with the pain, frequent doctor’s visits, hospital stays, rehab and the decreased earnings that come with lost work time.
Slip-and-fall hazards at a hotel could include:
- Ripped, torn, frayed or damaged carpeting, rugs and floors in the guest rooms, hallways, lobby, vending areas, laundry areas, pool, restaurant and other public areas in the hotel
- Unsafe bathtubs or showers
- A lack of bathmats to keep the bathroom floor from becoming slippery
- Poorly constructed or damaged furniture
- Housekeeping items presenting obstacles in hallways
- Failure to remove snow, ice and excessive water from parking lot and other outdoor areas
- Failure to ensure lobby and other tile floors are dry and free of debris
- Food or drink spills
What To Do After a Slip and Fall
If you have slipped and fell at a Hilton Hotel, or any other large hotel chain, you may have suffered injuries. These injuries can lead to mounting medical bills and lost wages. Sometimes a fall causes serious injuries that are life-altering or that cause long-term disabilities.
If your fall was because of the negligence of the hotel, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the business. Businesses – including hotels – have a duty or a responsibility to maintain safe premises for guests. That means that they must properly clean and maintain the grounds to prevent hazards.
There are four elements of negligence. If you can show that those four elements of negligence apply to your accident, you have a much higher chancing of finding success for your personal injury claim. Those four elements are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Here is how they apply to your specific situation, which involves a fall. First off, all businesses have a duty or a responsibility to protect others from injury, so they must maintain premises. You were walking through the lobby when you slipped and fell because of spilled drink on the floor. That spilled drink had been on the floor for more than 30 minutes, which was long enough for an employee to have cleaned it up.
When you fell, you broke your arm. If you hadn’t fallen, you wouldn’t have suffered the injury. The damages that you suffered were a direct cause of the fall that was the result of the breach of duty. Therefore, you can show that the hotel is liable, and you can make them cover the costs associated with your damages and injuries. You should maintain thorough documentation and evidence to support your claim and to show the damages that you suffered.
Proving a Hotel’s Negligence
Proving that the Hilton Hotel, or any other hotel, was negligent can be tricky, but it can be done with the right evidence. You should take photos of the accident scene if you are physically able to do so. Ask any witnesses to provide written statements. Be sure to get the names of any witnesses along with their contact details.
There are surveillance cameras located throughout hotels, so there is a possibility that your fall was caught on video. The video may also show how long the hazard was there and that there was time for the hotels employees to have addressed the issue.
Your attorney can ask for the video to be subpoenaed and used as evidence in court. You should establish medical care right away. Delaying your treatment can make it more difficult to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the slip and fall.
You should maintain copies of medical records and medical bills. Keep an itemized list of your medical costs, such as hospital bills, physician visits, prescriptions, medical devices or equipment, physical therapy, and so forth.
You should keep copies of medical excuses that say you cannot work or that you are limited in your abilities. You should also document any missed work and lost wages. Be sure to maintain thorough documentation to support your claim. Get photos of any injuries that are visible as well. You will want to show the progress of healing, and you will want to claim any permanent scarring and disfigurement as damages.
The more documentation that you have to support your claim, the more likely you are to negotiate a settlement with the hotel. A personal injury lawyer will help you gather supporting evidence and documentation so you can make sure your claim has a strong foundation and is on the right track.
There are several factors that affect your overall settlement and how quickly your claim is resolved. First off, the severity of your injuries, how much your medical bills add up to be, and your lost wages will come into play. Of course, the more serious your injuries and the more your medical bills add up to be, the more you will be able to claim as damages and the more you will recover for your losses.
As an example, if you fell and suffered a back injury that required surgery, your medical bills could easily exceed $50,000 to $60,000. You could be out of work for several months, and depending on your profession, you may have to change job roles. You could have $100,000 in lost wages.
Your pain and suffering must be calculated. A multiplier, ranging from 1 to 5, will be used to determine your pain and suffering. That figure will be used to multiply your medical bills. So, let’s say a 3 was used – 3 times $60,000 would add up to $180,000. When you add $60,000 to $100,000 and $180,000, your total claim would be at least $340,000. If you claim mental anguish or permanent scarring and disfigurement, that total could climb even higher.
Of course, the insurance company and the hotel may reject your initial settlement request. They may, however, make a counteroffer to help resolve the matter before the case advances to court. A personal injury lawyer can handle negotiations with the insurance company. After all, a hotel and their insurer will likely have legal representation, so you should make sure you have someone looking out for your interests.
There is a statute of limitations for pursuing a personal injury claim, so don’t wait until it is too late to get your claim underway. The time limit varies from one state to the next. Your accident injury lawyer will be familiar with the laws in your state, so he or she can make sure everything is handled accordingly and promptly.
Be sure to take along all the supporting evidence and documentation for your free case review. You should talk with an attorney right away.
How to Settle Your Claim Against the Hotel
After you file a personal injury claim, after you slipped and fell in one of their hotels, you could receive a settlement that could pay for damages that resulted in the fall. What goes into determining in slip and fall settlement are negligence, liability and the freedom of fault from you the plaintiff.
You are able to negotiate damages in your settlement against the hotel, damages that could be included in your settlement include medical bills related to your accident, lost wages and any future expenses you may need that resulted from the injuries you suffered from the fall.
You may want to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney before settling. Your lawyer will be able to advise you when to settle and if the offer that they gives you is fair or not.
Speak with an Attorney Today
Hotel chains are large companies with high-priced lawyers who are experts in defending personal injury claims. However, slip and fall victims should not let that get in the way of seeking compensation for their injuries. Immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if you feel you deserve compensation for your injuries. A lawyer will help you through the claims process and, in many cases, may agree not to be paid unless you win your case.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Hilton, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.