Many people frequently patronize the 24,000+ available hotel rooms in Pittsburgh and have great experiences. But when things go wrong and the hotel’s negligence causes injury, who foots the bill? Depending on the situation, injured victims may be able to hold the hotel or worker liable. Below, we discuss some of the basic legalities for hotel accident and injury cases. For help pursuing compensation, call a hotel accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green: 412-661-1400.
What types of accidents and injuries do hotel guests sustain?
The hotel industry in Pittsburgh is competitive. Hotels are constantly striving to improve their facilities and add to their list of amenities and services to provide guests with a better experience. However, even with more amenities and better service, there is often much to be desired in terms of hotel safety, security, and sanitation. And this leads to accidents and injuries.
Some of the most common types of accidents that occur at hotels include:
- Elevator injuries
- Swimming pool injuries and drowning
- Slip and fall accidents
- Injuries from defective products like furniture and hair dryers
- Food poisoning
- Bed bug bites (serious cases can lead to anemia) and other poor sanitation-related illnesses and conditions
- Burns from building fires, hot water, irons
- Falls in stairwells
Did the hotel’s negligence cause the injury?
In order to hold the hotel liable for your damages, you will need to be able to show that the hotel or the worker’s negligence is what caused your accident. Hotel managers and owners have a legal duty to ensure they keep the grounds reasonably safe for guests. This includes the onsite restaurant and bar, pool and spa area, exercise room, shuttle bus, and parking lot.
Any failure on their part to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable harm could be negligence. This area of the law, referred to as premises liability, provides a way for people to hold property owners financially liable for the harms they cause.
There are number of ways a hotel might act negligently, such as:
- Failing to mop up spills or tracked in rain or to put up wet floor signage
- Failing to replace broken furniture or equipment
- Negligent hiring practices
- Poor maintenance, e.g., not calling the elevator company for maintenance, not fixing malfunctioning electrical outlets, not ensuring the fire alarms are working
- Shoddy housekeeping, e.g., not changing bed sheets or not properly sanitizing guests’ bathrooms
- Not putting adequate protections around the pool area
- Using unsanitary or dangerous practices in the kitchen
- Poor lighting or security features
Is the hotel the only potentially liable party?
With most hotel accidents and injuries, the hotel will usually be the party that victims file against (defendant). But this is not always the case. Firstly, if you caused your own injuries, you will need to absorb your losses yourself. You cannot rightfully sue a hotel if you slipped while running alongside the pool, for instance.
Injuries resulting from assaults by other guests or intruders are another exception, unless the hotel could have foreseen this. In these cases, victims can hold the attacker liable by filing a civil lawsuit, often in addition to filing a premises liability claim against the hotel.
There are a lot of third-party companies who perform work at hotels, as well. If a contracted company, such as an elevator company, electrician, or construction company, contributes to an accident at a hotel, then that company may be liable for damages. Similarly, when injuries result from a defective object or appliance, then the manufacturer would be responsible for the victims’ losses, not the hotel.
Liability is not always clear-cut. It is important to speak to a Pittsburgh hotel injury attorney to determine which party or parties are liable and for help pursuing your case.
How do I prove my hotel accident case?
You will need to have sufficient evidence to prove the hotel’s negligence in order to win your case. There are a couple of things you can do that can benefit your case:
- If at all possible, try to collect evidence such as photos of the scene and what caused your injury.
- Report the incident to management. Take down the names and titles of every employee you speak to.
- File a police report, if applicable.
- Take down the names and contact numbers of any witnesses that saw what happened.
- Keep detailed records of all of your injury-related expenses.
- Share all of this information with your attorney.
When you work with Berger and Green, we will help locate and gather evidence to support your case. For example, we can obtain copies of any security footage that might contain your accident, interview hotel workers, talk to witnesses and other guests, and obtain the hotel’s maintenance records. The more evidence, the better.
What types of damages can I recover if I win my case?
You can pursue compensation for all of your injury-related expenses, from medical bills and physical therapy to lost wages and long-term disability. You can also obtain compensation for emotional damages and pain and suffering.
There is actually a long list of damages that are compensable in a premises liability claim, so make sure you are thorough when explaining your story to your attorney.
We will take the time to investigate and fully understand your out-of-pocket expenses, your prognosis and future treatments, and how your injuries have impacted you socially, emotionally, and psychologically.
Then, when writing the demand for damages document that we will send to the hotel or its insurer, we take all of this into account as we create a comprehensive list of your losses so that you receive a fair award.
Does Berger and Green accept hotel injury cases in Pittsburgh?
Yes, our firm accepts many types of premises liability cases in Pittsburgh, including hotel accidents, and we are passionate about helping our clients obtain the justice and compensation they are entitled to. For over 40 years, our attorneys have helped victims secure sizable settlements and verdicts; we would like an opportunity to do the same for you.
Contact Berger and Green today at 412-611-1400 for a free legal consultation.