Slip and fall in Hyatt Hotel can I sue?
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “If I slipped and fell at a Hyatt Hotel can I sue for injury and receive compensation?”
Falls are very common and can occur at a hotel for a variety of reasons: hazardous sidewalks, a spill, an unsafe parking lot, and insufficient lighting. Your right to sue, however, will vary based on several factors which will be discussed below.
Do I have a personal injury claim after a slip and fall?
The first issue, before discussing compensation, is to determine whether or not you really have a personal injury claim. Slip and fall cases, like other injury claims, must meet certain legal requirements or they are not legally valid.
First, you must prove the hotel had a duty of care towards you. Given that you were a hotel guest and you were legally on the premises, it is generally easy to prove a duty of care existed.
Their duty of care or legal responsibility requires them to ensure their property is safe and free from hazardous conditions, but simply having a hazard will not prove a breach of duty. You will also have to prove negligence, which means that you will have to prove the hotel knew or should have known about the unsafe condition but they failed to correct it.
For example, if the hotel did not have a regular cleaning schedule and a puddle of water was left at the entryway for hours, this could be considered negligent.
If, however, it is snowing outside and water collects in the entryway but the hotel has a schedule to mop the entry every thirty minutes, this could be considered reasonable care in ownership and maintenance and the court may rule they were not negligent.
Proving Premise Liability Case for a slip and fall
Assuming, however, you were able to prove duty and breach of duty, you will still have to prove that you were injured from the fall and the breach was the proximate cause of the injury.
So, for example, if you fell in the entryway of the hotel and the spill had been sitting there for five hours, the hotel had no intention of cleaning it despite multiple notifications from hotel guests, and your fall broke your hip, you may be able to prove that their negligence was the proximate cause of your injury.
But the issue here is whether or not you were really injured. For example, what if you fell and jumped up and you were not injured?
If there is no injury, there is no personal injury case. It does not matter that the hotel had a duty of care and they breached that duty. You must have some type of injury or loss to have a personal injury case.
What if I am partially to blame for my own accident?
Now, here’s another consideration. What if you are partially at fault for your accident? Let’s assume you were walking through the entryway talking on your cell phone and you failed to see the giant snow puddle collected underfoot and you fell and broke your ankle?
Yes, the hotel was negligent for not having a regular cleaning schedule, but you also may bear some responsibility for your own injuries.
Whether or not you can file a personal injury claim in this case will vary by state. Some states eliminate your right to compensation if you are at fault at all for your own injury. Other states allow compensation if your fault is less than 50 or 51%. Other states determine the fault of each party involved and award compensation accordingly.
If you slip and fell at a hotel and you can prove duty, breach of duty, and injury from the breach, you may be entitled to compensation. If you are partially responsible for your own injuries, however, your right to compensation may be reduced or eliminated.
If you win your personal injury claim for a slip and fall, however, you may receive payment for pain and suffering, current and future medical expenses, and current and future lost wages.
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A judgment can be enforced but you will have to take the initiative and the proper legal steps.
Category: Contract Law