April 30, 2012
With the summer season almost here, travel and hotel stays will be increasing. For us, summer doesn’t necessarily increase our time spent in hotels. Between conferences and long trials away from home, the accident lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent end up in hotels pretty often. Last month, firm partners, Paul Bucci and Brian Kent were in a hotel in New Jersey for a few days for a trial in a longshore accident case. The case settled on the first day of trial, so luckily their hotel stay was short-lived and they got to go home to their families.
Hotel security is often an issue when staying at a hotel. Oftentimes, no key card is required to access the elevators or the floors. This isn’t uncommon for hotels, but this doesn’t mean that a hotel can’t be liable for criminal activity. Just like in slip and fall situations, a hotel’s negligence for criminal access boils down to one critical factor – foreseeability.
Liability of any person or business, like a hotel, is based on an idea that if you can reasonably foresee the risk of injury and do nothing, you may be liable. So, a hotel which doesn’t have any policy for inspecting the grounds for slip and fall hazards could certainly foresee the risk of injury. For example, a hotel pool entrance area that isn’t inspected for accumulations of water is a foreseeable slipping hazard.
By the same token, hotels which know or should know of the risk of criminal activity, but do nothing about it may face liability for criminal acts on the premises. In most situations, an isolated crime in a hotel isn’t going to make the hotel liable, but when there are repeated instances of crime at or near the hotel over a certain period of time, the hotel may certainly be liable.
Hotels don’t like to address security issues, sometimes due to costs, but mostly for fear of chasing away hotel guests. However, hotel security is an important aspect of a hotel’s duty to its guests and Pennsylvania law is clear – if a risk is foreseeable and no reasonable preventative measures are taken, liability will likely follow.
Related Article: Philadelphia Hotel Liability for Slip and Fall, Trip and Fall or Fall Down Accidents
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