Hotel accidents and injuries can have a devastating impact on guests who were hoping to simply enjoy a night away from home. Hotels are responsible for many different kinds of harm to guests. Hotels could be liable for injuries in swimming pools, in elevators or escalators that malfunction, for fall down injuries, and for injuries when balconies collapse. Among the many situations where a hotel can be held accountable for harm to guests include situations where the hotel is negligent about security.
An attorney experienced in hotel accidents can provide advice on whether your hotel can be held responsible if you were affected by violence as a guest. Whether the hotel can be held accountable for incidents of violence is going to depend upon whether the facility acted reasonably under the circumstances or was unreasonably negligent and careless and failed to fulfill a basic duty to protect guests. A Connecticut case could soon shed more light on the extent of a hotel's liability.
Hotel Desk Clerks Can Be Held Responsible for Negligent Security
Fox reported on an incident where negligent security in a Connecticut hotel may have been a contributing factor in the alleged rape of an elderly woman. The 83-year-old woman was staying at a hotel and had several glasses of wine at the hotel bar. A man, a former Connecticut state trooper reportedly fired for sexual harassment, was speaking to her as she was drinking her wine. The man was not staying at the hotel, but he chatted with her briefly about her grandchildren and about her life. When the woman decided to go to her room, the man offered to walk her. She believed he was just being chivalrous.
The woman was unable to find her hotel key, so she and the man went to the desk. The clerk made the key and gave it to the man, although the man was not a guest at the hotel. Approximately 15 minutes later, the bartender went to the front desk to express concern the man posed a threat to the elderly woman. The bartender asked the hotel desk clerk to check on the elderly woman and see if she was safe.
The clerk found them on the second floor, even though the woman was staying on the first floor. The woman appeared confused and disoriented. The man led the woman to the woman's room, as the hotel clerk watched. The clerk observed the man inserting the key into the door, walking the woman in, going into the room, slamming the door shut, and dead bolting the door. The clerk listened for several seconds but did not hear loud noises and subsequently went back to her post at the front desk.
The elderly woman indicates she was raped in her room by the man and she is now suing the hotel. The question in determining if the hotel is liable will be whether the desk clerk acted appropriately or whether the clerk was negligent and the security in the hotel was too lax. Hotels can be held responsible for failures of employees. The victim is also claiming the hotel provided inadequate security training and should have had security cameras in public areas.