When you pay decent money to stay in a California hotel, you naturally expect to receive safe and comfortable accommodation in return. Unfortunately, some hotels focus more on their profits than guest safety. They’ll cut corners with housekeeping, neglect to repair broken steps or railings or fail to replace broken lights in parking lots and other potentially dangerous areas. Consequently, many guests and patrons are injured or even killed in hotels and motels every year.

If you were seriously injured while staying in a California hotel and the management or staff were at fault, you may be able to secure compensation for your financial losses as well as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-economic damages. In this article, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP go over common types of hotel accidents, the injuries they can cause, and how hotel injury settlements work in CA. 

Types of Hotel Accidents in California

Hotel injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Below is an overview of the different types of hotel accidents that may occur on premises.

  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Hotel employees are generally responsible for keeping steps, sidewalks, hallways, and other high-traffic areas dry, well-lit, and free of debris that could cause someone to slip or trip and fall. Should a hazard take time to address, they should warn guests about it by posting signs. When they fail in this duty of care, devastating injuries can result.
  • Elevator and Escalator Accidents: Injuries can occur if the hotel fails to inspect and maintain its elevators or escalators properly. Guests could get trapped between floors or be injured when a sudden stop causes them to fall.
  • Burn Accidents: Although hotels may seem like an unlikely setting for burn injuries, these painful incidents are very common. Overheated hot tubs, scalding water from a shower, and malfunctioning appliances, such as hairdryers, irons, or coffee makers, can all cause debilitating burns.
  • Pool Accidents: Many hotels in California have luxurious pools and hot tubs where guests can relax or exercise. While hotels have a responsibility to maintain their pool areas in reasonably clean and safe conditions, accidents continue to occur, including life-threatening or fatal drownings.
  • Negligent Security: Hotel employees should be properly screened, the building’s common areas should be brightly lit, and doors and windows should be locked securely. Key cards should not be accessible to anyone but guests, nor should employees reveal room numbers.  Victims of violent crimes may have a negligent security claim if the hotel fails to take these steps.
  • Parking Lot Accidents: Car crashes and pedestrian injuries may be caused by inadequate parking lot signage, lighting, or crosswalk markings. An employee, such as a hotel valet or shuttle driver, can also drive in a negligent manner, resulting in a car accident.

Depending upon the type of accident, victims can sustain serious and even fatal injuries like the following:

  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Heat and electrical burns
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding 
  • Disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury

When is a California Hotel Liable for Guest Injuries?

As soon as hotels accept money from guests, they assume a duty of care for those patrons.  If a patron is injured on hotel property, the hotel may be held responsible for damages like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

To establish fault, it is necessary to show that the hotel was negligent. For example, management may be aware of a maintenance issue, such as a malfunctioning elevator or escalator, but doesn’t fix it in order to save money. If a guest is then injured or killed in an accident that could have been prevented with adequate maintenance, the hotel will most likely be held liable for compensating the victim or their family.

What Should You Do After a Hotel Injury?

If you suffer any type of injury on hotel property, take the following steps.

  • Get any medical attention you need. Keep track of your medical costs, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and lost wages so you can pursue compensation for your injuries. 
  • If you are able to do so, take photos of the accident scene and anything that contributed to your injuries, like a wet floor without appropriate safety signage. If your phone is damaged or you can’t move, ask a bystander for help.
  • If anyone saw your accident, ask if they would be willing to provide their contact information for a possible witness statement.
  • Report the incident to the police and ask the hotel management for security footage. Video or photographs of the incident, as well as a police report that proves that the accident occurred when you said it did, are among the strongest pieces of evidence you can provide.
  • Contact a hotel accident attorney. When you have been injured by a hotel’s negligence, you may be unsure what your rights are. Your personal injury lawyer can assist you in navigating the situation and determine if you will be able to pursue compensation.

How Do Hotel Injury Settlements Work?

Once your lawyer has calculated all of your accident-related damages, they will seek a settlement that covers everything so that your injuries don’t leave you at a financial disadvantage. While every case is different, common economic and non-economic damages include:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of quality of life

How much money you receive in a hotel injury settlement can depend on whether you are partly responsible for your accident. California follows a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that you can still collect damages if you share fault, but your compensation will be reduced accordingly. Your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can explain how this legal rule may impact your case.

Get a Free Consultation From a Los Angeles Hotel Injury Lawyer

At Moaddel Kremer & Gerome LLP, our Los Angeles hotel injury attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death claims brought by hotel and motel guests. We are familiar with common hotel and insurer defenses and will aggressively discourage any attempt to deny you and your family full and fair compensation. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a personal injury lawyer at our firm, please contact us today.