FAQ on Premises Liability

Q: When somebody falls and hurts himself/herself on the premises of the hotel, does he/she have any option against the hotel?

A: The hotel in question may be held responsible if somebody slips or trips on their premises. If somebody slips on a spilled food or drink in a hotel restaurant or bar, or some snow or ice that was not cleared from the walkway, or on the wet floor tiles or other polished surfaces, the hotel may be held responsible when it knew or should have known about the hazard but failed to give warning to their guests or clean the mess. The hotel may also be held accountable when somebody is injured due to a design or building flaws like very steep stairs, or may be due to the failure of the hotel to light the area properly.

Q: Does the hotel be held accountable when somebody is the victim of a crime in or near the hotel?

A: Generally, a hotel may not be held responsible for the crimes committed on or near the hotel except when it should have expected the crime like the hotel is located in a place with high crime rate, and could have avoided it by giving enough warnings or taking superior security measures. In these situations, it is the responsibility of the hotel to warn its guests about the dangerous conditions and may extend its responsibility by giving them warning about the potential crime in and/or around the hotel. The actions of the hotel like failure to install proper locks on the windows and doors, give sufficient lighting in parking areas or perform some satisfactory measures to make sure that the passkeys are not used by the criminals so that the hotel may be less liable.

Q: Does the college or any school be held responsible for an attack on its student that took place on the campus?

A: The student who is attacked on a college campus may have a negligence action against the college. Courts discovered entities like motels, convenience stores, shopping malls, and universities may be held liable for the attacks because they did not practice reasonable care in avoiding victims being injured by a third party. Basically, the hotel should provide sufficient security and should not allow people to loiter around. When college campus is involved in crimes, the court would review the facts including if similar attacks happened before in the same place. The court will also ask about the security measures the college took and the court may find the steps done were inadequate, thus, holding the college responsible.

Q: When somebody falls on a broken piece of the city sidewalk and is injured, can they sue the city?

A: Most of the states, the statutes give the local government units the immunity forbid recovery in several cases against the cities and towns. In case such statute is not present or ordinance in place, hence, the injured person may have a case against the city. Municipalities have the responsibility to maintain their streets and sidewalks safe for passersby. The injured person may win a lawsuit against the city when he/she can prove that the city failed to keep the sidewalk properly and safe. There are some deadlines and procedural requirements for filing such claims, and to know these requirements, it will be very good idea to hire the services of an experienced lawyer to help you claim recovery against the municipality.

Q: Does a person who has been attacked after withdrawing money from an automated teller machine or ATM hold the bank liable for the attack?

A: There have been instances when then customers sued banks for their failure to protect their customers from assaults at ATMs under the premises liability. In the past, the banks had no responsibility of providing security against crimes but this responsibility was recognized only in the recent years. In these kinds of situations, the judge or the jury will determine if there were previous records of attacks to customers, and if such crimes are expected. If this is the case, then, the injured customers may hold the bank liable.

Q: Can the owners of the building need to have safety precautions like sprinklers and posted escape routes, in cases of fires?

A: The owners and/or the management of the building are mandate to practice reasonable care to avoid injuries in cases of fire, and should assist people on their escape, and this protection includes sprinklers and posted escape routes.

Q: Who is responsible if the person is injured while walking on the public sidewalk next to the construction area, after tripping over a brick from the site?

A: The injured person may recover damages from the construction company which has the responsibility to perform reasonable steps to maintain the public sidewalks close to the construction site free from bricks and other debris. When the company is unable to eliminate the obstructions and somebody trips and falls, the company may be held accountable. Construction companies must tell the pedestrians they can get injured if they stray from the sidewalk, and posting a warning sign is not enough. If the company is unable to put barriers and warning lamps by a building pit, for instance, it may liable if anybody falls into it and gets injured.

Q: What if somebody gets injured while at the home of a neighbor, who invited him/her there for the party?

A: Visitors may recover from their hosts, and it depends on how the injuries took place. Homeowners should inform their visitors about or fix any dangerous conditions that the visitors may tend not to notice. For instance, if the injury is caused when the guest tripped over a throw rug, he/she may recover damage if he/she can prove that the host knows other people who had tripped over it, and the visitors was unlikely to notice its danger. The host should have warned their visitors about the danger, get rid of it during the party, or secured it to the floor with tape or tacks.

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