Every year, thousands of Americans escape the icy winter months to experience the beautiful and warm climate of Houston. Not everyone has the money or time to vacation for months in a house rented in Houston. Hotels are the perfect places to vacation and escape. Occasionally, to ensure that a constant flow of people occupy their establishments, hotel owners fail to correct unsafe conditions or ignore safety regulations. This can lead to serious injuries or death for hotel guests.
Hotels offer all kinds of amenities where accidents can occur. These places include the pool, the weight room, the restaurant, or even the suites and balconies. Victims of hotel accidents have the right to seek compensation for injuries sustained.
Accidents and Common Injuries in Hotels and Resorts
Hotels and resorts offer various services and amenities based on price, geographic location, and function. The injuries suffered in hotel accidents vary depending on the type of accommodation offered in a particular establishment. Some hotels offer low rates to their guests by cutting maintenance costs, and therefore, slips and accidental falls can occur frequently in these places. Other hotels and resorts may offer more outdoor amenities that can result in accidental drowning and injuries related to sports and recreational activities. Below is a list of some of common accidents and injuries that occur as a result of hotel accidents:
-Accidental drowning in hot tubs or pools
-Slips and falls due to poor lighting, improperly maintained stairs or broken furniture
-Diseases and infections due to unhealthy conditions
-Injuries due to poorly maintained elevators and escalators
-Head and neck wounds
-Spinal cord injuries
The Hospitality Industry Standard of Care
When people decide to stay in a hotel, they not only trust their belongings to the establishment but also trust that they will be safe. Texas law defines hotels as “public accommodation establishments” who have a special duty to protect their guests. Hotel owners must keep their facilities in reasonably safe conditions and to correct and/or repair any known dangerous condition. The owners or managers also have to inspect hidden defects in the property and if these defects are found, they have to repair them or make users aware of the potential danger.
Hotel Responsibility for Accidents and Injuries
When hotels and resorts don’t follow the standard of care, by action or omission, they could be held liable for negligence. There are three essential elements that a plaintiff must prove to succeed in a negligence claim. These elements are:
-The hotel or resort had a legal duty towards its guests
-The hotel or resort breached its legal duty of care
-As a result of the breach, the guest suffered injuries
If a court finds that the hotel or resort was negligent, the plaintiff may be entitled to two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary damages include benefits such as:
-Present and future medical expenses
-Loss of present and future income
-Compensation due to wrongful death
Non-monetary damages are more difficult to calculate but are still recoverable. Non-monetary damages include:
-Pain and suffering
-Loss of enjoyment
The courts will grant punitive damages when they find that the defendant’s conduct was particularly offensive. Punitive damages are granted to make an example of the defendant to prevent other people from incurring the same acts in the future. Texas imposes a limit on the amount of punitive damages awarded in a cause of action for personal injury. Punitive damages in Texas are capped at the greater of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages PLUS the amount equal to non-economic damages, up to a total of $750,000.
In Texas, the civil statute of limitations laws is anywhere from one to five years, depending on the severity of the claim. This means that an injured guest has up to five years from the date of the incident to sue for damages. Texas also has two years of statute of limitations in cases of wrongful death lawsuits. Therefore, a victim’s family has two years from the date of death of the victim to file a claim.
Injury Lawyer in Houston Hotels
If you or a loved one was injured in a hotel accident, contact a hotel accident lawyer immediately. Do not wait another day watching as medical bills increase, or waiting to see how and when you can return to work.
Contact our personal injury lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.
PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.