Every year, thousands of Americans escape the frigid winter months for a brief hiatus to experience Miami’s beautiful beaches and warm weather. Not everyone has the money or the time to vacation for months on end at a rented house in South Florida. Hotels are perfect places for weeklong vacations and weekend getaways. Sometimes, in an effort to ensure that a steady flow of vacationers occupy their establishments, hotel owners will fail to correct unsafe conditions, or they will ignore safety regulations. This can lead to serious injuries or death for hotel guests.
Hotels offer all sorts of amenities where accidents are liable to happen whether they take place at the pool, in the weight room, at the hotel bar or restaurant, or even in the suites and balconies. Victims of hotel accidents have the right to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered. If you or a loved one have been injured in a hotel accident, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA to speak to a Miami hotel injury attorney and find out what your rights are.
Common Accidents and Injuries from Hotels and Resorts in Miami
Hotels and resorts offer various services and amenities based on price, geographic location, and function. The injuries that are sustained in hotel accidents vary depending on the type of lodging that is offered at a particular establishment. Some hotels offer cheaper rates to guests by cutting maintenance costs, and thereby, slip and fall accidents and assaults might be a common occurrence in those establishments. Other hotels and resorts might offer more outdoor amenities which could result in drowning accidents and injuries related to sports and recreational activities. Below is a list of some of the most common hotel accidents and injuries:
- Bed bugs
- Negligent Security leading to violent crime
- Food poisoning
- Broken locks
- Drowning accidents in hot tubs or pools
- Slip and falls
- Illness and infection from unsanitary conditions
- Elevator or escalator malfunction
- Poor lighting
- Broken stairwells
- Broken furniture
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Hospitality Industry Standard of Care
When people decide to stay at a hotel, they are entrusting that establishment with not only their personal belongings, but also with the responsibility to keep them safe from harm. Florida law defines hotels as “public lodging establishments” who have a special duty of care to protect their guests/invitees. Hotel owners have a duty to maintain their establishments in a reasonably safe condition and to correct or repair any known dangerous conditions. Owners also have a duty to inspect for hidden defects on the property and if defects are discovered, they have a duty to repair them or erect safeguards.
Miami Hotel Liability for Accidents and Injuries
When hotels and resorts deviate from the standard of care that they owe to guests, by act or omission, they could be found liable for negligence. There are three essential elements that a plaintiff must prove in order to succeed on a negligence theory. These elements are:
- The hotel or resort owed a legal duty of care to the guest;
- The hotel or resort breached the legal duty of care; and
- As a result of the breach, the guest suffered damages
If a court finds that a hotel or resort was negligent, a plaintiff could be entitled to two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary damages include benefits such as:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Present and future lost earnings
- Household services
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Wrongful death damages
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate but they are still recoverable nonetheless. Nonmonetary damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Courts will award punitive damages when they find that a defendant’s conduct was egregious or outrageous to the degree that it shocks the conscience. Punitive damages are awarded to make an example out of a defendant for the purpose of deterring others from committing similar acts in the future. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a personal injury cause of action. A plaintiff may recover three times the amount of compensatory damages that were awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Florida has a four year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. This means that an injured hotel guest has four years from the date of the incident to file a claim for damages. Florida also has a two year statute of limitations for wrongful death suits. Thus, a victim’s family has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a claim.
Miami Hotel Injury Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or someone you love has been injured in a hotel accident, contact a hotel injury lawyer right away. Do not spend another day watching the medical bills pile up, wondering when, if ever, you will return to work. Let an experienced personal injury attorney from Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA fight for your legal right to just compensation for your injuries. Call Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an attorney you can trust.