When you check into a California hotel, there are a few things that you rightfully take for granted. One of them is that you’ll have a clean and safe place to sleep during your stay. Another is that all of the common areas, from the lobby and elevators to the parking lot and swimming pool, will be properly maintained so guests don’t suffer injury or death.
Unfortunately, this is not always the reality. Many people who check into hotels for a vacation or business visit are injured because management fails to keep the premises reasonably safe for guests. This is true of large hotel chains as well as smaller locations. To make matters even worse, hotels are prepared to aggressively defend against any claims that may threaten their profit margins.
If you were seriously injured at a hotel in CA, you need a hotel accident attorney with the skill, experience, and resources to fight for the compensation you are entitled to. In this blog, the Los Angeles personal injury team at Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP reviews common hotel accidents in CA and what you should do to preserve your future claim.
What are Some Common Hotel Accidents in CA?
Below is an overview of some of the accidents that can occur in a California hotel.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Most injuries in the hospitality industry are caused by slips and falls. Common hazards that can lead to injury include:
- Wet or Slippery Floors: If someone spills a beverage or the hotel experiences a water leak and management doesn’t address it quickly, a guest can slip and fall.
- Damaged or Uneven Surfaces: Common examples include damaged sidewalks leading up to the hotel, potholes in the parking lot, or loose carpeting in the common areas.
- Obstacles: Clutter or obstacles in walkways can make it difficult for guests to navigate safely. If items are left in hallways, stairwells, and other common areas, someone can trip and fall over them.
- Insufficient Lighting: Poor lighting can make it difficult for guests to see where they are walking, increasing the risk of hotel injuries. This can happen in dimly lit hallways, stairwells, or parking lots.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
To make it easier for guests to get from one part of a building to another, most large hotels in California have elevators or even escalators. Hotel owners and management are responsible for maintaining any elevators or escalators in their building and ensuring they are safe for use. When this doesn’t happen, guests can be injured in situations involving:
- Equipment Malfunction: If an elevator or escalator is not adequately maintained, it can malfunction and cause an accident. For example, passengers can fall and injure themselves if it suddenly moves or stops.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall accidents can occur on escalators if the steps are wet or slippery. Hotel injuries can also happen in elevators if the floor is wet or uneven.
- Design Flaws: In some cases, elevator or escalator accidents can be caused by design flaws. For example, if an escalator step is too high or too narrow, it can increase the risk of someone tripping and falling.
Negligent security accidents can occur when the hotel fails to take reasonable steps to protect guests from foreseeable harm. These types of hotel injuries can be caused by the following:
- Insufficient Security: If a hotel does not have enough security personnel or if the security personnel are not properly trained, this can increase the risk of criminal activity.
- Improper Access Controls: Unauthorized individuals can easily gain access to a hotel if it lacks proper access controls, such as keycard systems or security gates.
- Failure to Screen Employees: The risk of theft, assault, and other criminal actions increases if a hotel fails to screen and run background checks on its employees.
- Lack of Security Cameras: If a hotel does not have security cameras in place or employees fail to monitor them, it can increase the risk of assault and other violent crimes.
- Poor Lighting: If the property does not have adequate lighting in its common areas or parking lots, this can make it easier for criminals to hide and victimize guests.
Los Angeles has seen a rise in bed bug infestations in recent years. As bed bugs spread relatively quickly, especially in places where people live in close proximity, and are difficult to kill, hotels should do everything they can to prevent them from entering.
The hotel should address bed bug complaints immediately rather than trying to cover up the issue due to the time and expense involved in addressing it. Guests may suffer from itchy welts if bed bugs persist in the hotel. In severe infestations, bed bugs can even make people anemic.
The most common causes of food poisoning are undercooked food, cross-contamination in the kitchen, or negligent preparation. When you are diagnosed with something like norovirus, E. coli, or salmonella, you can sue the hotel for food poisoning.
Swimming Pool Accidents
In California, many hotels offer luxurious pools and hot tubs where guests can relax or exercise. Even though hotels are required to keep their pool areas in a reasonably clean and safe condition by posting rules lists and warning signs, keeping the water sanitary and chemically balanced, and maintaining hot tub temperatures at the right temperature, accidents still occur, including drownings that are fatal or life-threatening.
What to Do If You’re Injured at a Hotel in CA
If you slip and fall in the dining room, trip over bunched-up carpeting, or injure yourself on a piece of poorly-maintained pool equipment, the first thing you’ll want to do is check yourself for injuries. If you can move without pain, do so, but be careful. If you are bleeding or have visible injuries, remain in place and ask someone to help you with the following steps.
- Alert the Manager: Immediately after an accident, report your injuries to management so you can begin documenting them. Write down their name, title, best contact information, and insurance information for their employer. Make sure you ask for a copy of the completed incident report.
- Identify Any Witnesses: Get contact information and statements from anyone who saw your accident occur. You can use their testimony to verify your personal injury claim.
- Gather Evidence: If your smartphone wasn’t damaged, take photos and video of whatever caused your accident. If your phone is inoperable, ask a friend or family member if you can use theirs to document evidence.
- Get Medical Attention: You should seek medical attention even if you think you weren’t injured. In some cases, injuries may not show symptoms immediately, but they can be extremely harmful or even fatal if left untreated. Medical care can help determine the cause and severity of your injuries and enable you to fully recover.
- Contact an Experienced Hotel Accident Attorney: Talk to a hotel injury lawyer to make sure you protect your rights and don’t make any mistakes that could harm your compensation claim. A lawyer can analyze the facts of your case, determine if you have a valid claim, and represent you in settlement negotiations with the insurer.
Staying in a California hotel should provide you with a relaxing and enjoyable experience. As a guest, you expect the hotel management to provide a comfortable and safe environment as well as first-class service. There are some hotels, unfortunately, that fail to take their responsibilities seriously. If this occurs, you may have to seek legal counsel to hold them accountable.
Get a Free Consultation From a Los Angeles Hotel Accident Lawyer
At Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have handled several claims arising from common hotel accidents in CA. We represent clients not only from Los Angeles but also from across the state and even the country. Our hotel accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. To schedule a free confidential consultation, please contact us today.