Illinois Hotel Accident and Injury Lawyers in Chicago
If you are traveling to the Chicago area for business or pleasure, staying in a hotel can give you access to nearby attractions while providing a place to relax and enjoy your trip. Yet, it is important to know that hotel accidents and injuries do occur and the hotel can be liable for those injuries. Hotels have a duty to ensure the premises are safe for guests. Taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents and injuries from happening on their property. When a hotel guest suffers an injury, speaking to a capable and caring Illinois personal injury attorney is the recommended course of action.
Common Types of Hotel Injuries in Illinois
Many types of hotel injuries can occur, ranging from accidents and injuries because of substances on the hotel restaurant floor to defective walkway surfaces, such as torn carpet, and uneven or broken tile, to negligent security that results in a third-party assault.
Most types of hotel accident claims will fall under the category of premises liability, which is an area of personal injury law. The following are some of the most common hotel accident and injury claims our firm handles:
- Premises liability: There are many types of premises liability claims. They all come about because a property owner (or anyone in possession or control of a property) fails to take reasonable steps to make the property conditions safe for others or warn them about risks on the property. Most hotel injuries will be filed as premises liability claims in which the injured person has the burden to prove that the hotel did not keep the premises in a safe condition or failed to warn guests about a hazard on the property. Premises liability lawsuits can result from the following: slips, trips and falls, swimming pool accidents and drownings, food poisoning at a hotel restaurant, or negligent security.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Slips, trips, and falls can occur almost anywhere in a hotel, resulting in serious and even fatal injuries. Most often, hotel slips and falls result from liquid or food left on the floor. Trips and falls can also happen in places where there are cluttered walkways, damaged or uneven carpeting or flooring, lack of proper lighting, or inadequate handrails in stairways. In any of these circumstances, the hotel staff must provide guests with a barricade or warning and actively remove the hazard(s) to remedy any potential injuries.
- Swimming pools: Swimming pools can pose many different types of hazards at hotels. From injuries caused by slips and falls around the pool deck to drowning risks. The causes of these unfortunate events can be a result of guests consuming alcohol, inadequate safety notices posted around the pool, or children using the pool without adult supervision. Hotels can be responsible for swimming pool injuries in many circumstances including improper supervision like a lifeguard or signs informing that a lifeguard is not on duty. In addition, the increased risk of harm around pools requires hotel owners to have a heightened duty of responsibility.
- Negligent security and assaults: Negligent security is another area of premises liability, involving a hotel or motel being liable for injuries caused by a third-party assault on a guest. While this type of case can be complicated, hotels have a duty to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe from foreseeable criminal activity. For example, if a hotel has improper door-locking mechanisms in several rooms, the hotel has a duty to repair that door-locking issue. Otherwise, the hotel could be liable for a third-party assault that occurred in the hotel room. When assaults occur in poorly lit hotel parking lots, the hotel also may be liable for failing to install adequate lighting. Further, if a hotel knows that it has a history of assaults in certain areas or at particular times of day, the hotel may have a duty to employ a security guard to provide safety for the guests. The hotel may be responsible for circumstances regardless of who committed the assault. The perpetrator may have been another hotel guest, a hotel employee, or an unknown party who entered the premises. The hotel still may be responsible for damages. If a hotel is negligent in fulfilling any of these responsibilities, it may be liable for injuries when a third party assaults a hotel guest, (e.g., weddings or onsite events).
- Elevator or escalator accidents: Most people do not think about injury risks when they are getting on an elevator or an escalator. Elevators and escalators can cause serious and deadly injuries. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, elevator, and escalator accidents result in approximately 30 deaths and about 17,000 injuries per year. Elevators are responsible for the majority of deaths and serious injuries, although escalators can cause significant injuries that can also be debilitating. There are various ways in which elevators and escalators can malfunction or cause serious injuries at Chicago hotels.
In elevators, common malfunctions include:
- Failure of the pulley system that results in a sudden drop, doors that will not close and expose riders to the elevator shaft,
- Electrical wiring issues that lead to sudden drops, improper leveling of the elevator with the floor when the elevator comes to a stop that leads to a trip and fall,
- Faulty doors that close on a rider’s hand or other body part, and
- Improper repairs.
Escalator accidents commonly involve:
- Loose or missing screws or teeth on the elevator track can result in clothing getting caught,
- Faulty alignment of the steps can also lead to hands being entrapped,
- Missing steps, broken steps, or an electrical issue.
Common hotel injuries include falls from heights, slips or trips and falls, broken bones, crush injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Hotels may be liable for any of these accidents if the hotel failed to have the elevator or escalator properly maintained or to repair a hazard,
- Hotel liability for employee conduct: When a hotel employee harms a guest through a negligent act or failure to act, the hotel may be liable for that employee’s conduct under the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” Under this doctrine, when an employee acts within the scope of their employment and causes an injury to another person, the employer (in this case, the hotel) can be responsible for damages caused by the employee’s conduct. In addition, a hotel may also be liable for an employee’s intentional act that causes harm if the hotel fails to perform a reasonable background check. The hotel needs to ensure that the employee will not likely engage in behavior that could harm guests.
What to Do After a Hotel Injury
After a hotel injury happens, the steps you take afterward can be extremely important to determine whether your rights are protected. Preserving and gathering evidence, including witness interviews, is needed to support your claim and your ability to seek financial compensation for your losses. Generally, after an accident happens at a hotel, it is important to take the following steps:
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. Safety first, since some injuries may not cause immediate signs or symptoms.
- Document the scene of the accident as well as you can. Take photographs of the scene and your injuries. When you take photographs of the area where the accident happened, take pictures of the broader area as well as close-up images of anything that caused the accident (such as a liquid spill, for example), as well as close-up images of any injuries.
- Obtain contact information for witnesses, including anyone who saw the accident happen or may have experienced the same hazard on the hotel property. Since all guests at hotels are transient, it can be extremely difficult to track down contact information for other witnesses or guests later on. Hotel employees’ contact information also should be noted since an employee who witnessed the accident or observed the hazard on the property may be a valuable witness in your case.
- Speak with a confident and caring, experienced hotel accident attorney in Illinois who can provide you with a free consultation regarding your claim against the hotel.
Filing an Accident Claim from Out of State
People are concerned they will not be able to file a hotel accident and injury claim because they live in another state, but our injury attorneys want to make clear that you can file a lawsuit even if you do not live in the state where the accident happened. In most hotel accident claims, the injured plaintiff can file a lawsuit in the state where the hotel exists and where the injury happened, but the plaintiff will not need to be in the state to do so. To be clear, you can return home after a hotel accident, and our Chicago hotel accident attorneys can handle the claim for you from Illinois.
Elements of a Hotel Accident and Injury Claim: What Do You Need to Prove?
Most hotel accident and injury claims are premises liability cases. While the specific elements that you will need to prove will depend upon the particular facts of your case, the following are the general elements you will need to show in order to win a premises liability lawsuit against a hotel:
- Hotel owed you a duty of care as a guest or visitor;
- Hotel breached the duty of care as a result of negligence, which involves failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner or to warn about hazards;
- The hotel’s negligence caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result of the hotel’s negligence.
Statute of Limitations for Hotel Accident and Injury Claims
When hotel injuries happen at hotels or motels in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, a claim for compensation will likely be filed in Illinois. Accordingly, it will be essential for you to file your claim before the Illinois statute of limitations deadline expires. Under Illinois law, most hotel accident lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the accident that caused your injuries. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that two-year time window, your claim can be time-barred.
In cases where a hotel accident results in the death of a loved one, you should know that the statute of limitations will also be two years, but the clock on that statute of limitations will start ticking on the date of the deceased’s death as opposed to the date of the hotel accident.
Damages in a Hotel Accident
What types of damages can you expect to receive if you file a hotel accident claim and win your case? Damages typically include economic and non-economic damages, which are both compensatory damages. Those types of damages can compensate you for a wide range of losses, including but not limited to the following:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Prescription medication costs.
- Rehabilitative therapy.
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Disfigurement and scarring.
Contact an Illinois Injury Attorney Today
If you or somebody you love suffered injuries in a hotel, seeking advice from a skillful, caring lawyer who can assist you with your personal injury claim is critical. It is important to remember that you do not have to be in the place where your hotel accident happened in order to file hotel injury claims. You can return home, continue to receive the medical treatment you need from your own doctors, and file an injury claim against the hotel with assistance from one of our experienced Illinois hotel accident and injury attorneys. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to learn more about how we can help you with your case. Call or text the Blumenshine Law Group at (312)766-1000 or email [email protected] today to get started on your hotel accident lawsuit.