Holding Negligent Seattle Hotel Owners Accountable
Throughout the year, Seattle hosts millions of travelers from across the country who come to our city for events, work and vacation and to see family. Our downtown district hosts dozens of major hotels and motels, and even more line the streets of our various neighborhoods. Whether you are from a neighboring city or from out of state, you should expect to be safe when staying at a hotel. However, when a property is managed by a negligent owner, guests run the risk of suffering a serious injury.
If you or someone you love was injured in a hotel accident, then you should bring your case to Pendergast Law. Our Seattle hotel accident attorneys can thoroughly review what happened to you in a free case evaluation and explain your rights under Washington state’s premises liability laws. If a negligent hotel employee caused your injuries, we may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Call us today toll-free at 888-539-9211 to speak with an experienced legal team.
Common Catastrophic Hotel Accidents
Seattle sees more than 40 million visitors each year according to Visit Seattle, many of whom come for work or to take part in several major events that dot our city’s calendar. The Washington State Convention Center can host over 400,000 visitors and over 360 events in a single year. Such high visitor counts mean Seattle’s lodgings are constantly dealing with a massive flow of guests.
As such, facilities can be damaged due to heavy use, and require consistent renovations and inspections. They may even host dangerous guests. Hotel owners should always put the safety of their guests above all else, but not all owners are as thorough and careful as they should be. Seattle hotels and motels have many common dangers, including:
Slip-and-fall accidents: Any poorly maintained property can have slip or trip hazards, such as loose carpets, wet floors, poorly lit stairwells and loose handrails, especially older hotels and motels. But even newer lodgings can have serious safety hazards if a building manager does not regularly inspect all common areas and rooms to make sure they are up to code.
Parking lot and garage accidents: Pedestrians are particularly at risk when walking through parking lots and garages, especially during packed events like the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival or PAX. In most cases, if you are involved in a vehicle collision in a parking area, then you can file a claim against the at-fault driver, but in some cases, your claim may be against the property owner, such as if poor road design contributed to the accident.
Negligent security: Hotel and motel owners are required to provide basic safety measures for all guests, including securing each room and window with a lock; requiring security cameras at entrances, exits, lobbies, and hallways; hiring security staff to patrol the common areas; and providing proper lighting in stairwells, parking lots and garages. Victims of violent crimes can typically seek compensation through the Washington State Victims Fund, but if a hotel owner allowed a guest to be mugged, assaulted or otherwise harmed due to a lack of proper security measures, then the guest may be able to pursue a negligent security claim.
Dog attacks: It is not uncommon for other guests to bring their dogs with them when traveling, and some hotels do allow small animals. However, Washington state follows strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. If another guest’s dog bit you without provocation, you could file a dog bite claim against their homeowner’s insurance to receive compensation for your injuries.
Swimming pool injuries: As semi-public common areas, swimming pools should be regularly inspected and closed if a hotel owner discovers a safety hazard, such as a loose handrail, electrical hazards, or toxic chemicals in the water. Hotel employees should also follow all swimming pool requirements as outlined by Seattle municipal codes, which include installing depth signs, securing gates against younger guests, and ensuring the water is free of dangerous chemicals.
Fires: All hotel rooms should have smoke alarms. So should common areas such as lobbies, hallways and stairwells, according to WAC 246-360-220. Owners should also make sure that all heaters and electrical equipment are up to code and free of defects; otherwise, these devices may lead to a fire that could severely injure or kill guests.
Elevator and escalator accidents: While rare, elevator and escalator accidents can be catastrophic. In Seattle, hotel owners should inspect these devices once a month to ensure they are free of defects or mechanical errors, especially if a facility sees a high amount of traffic.
The Responsibilities Of Hotel Owners In Washington
Hotel and motel guests are considered business invitees under Washington state’s premises liability law, which requires owners to provide a reasonable amount of care for their safety. Under these laws, owners are required to:
- Identify safety hazards by performing regular inspections
- Warn guests of any safety issues
- Fix all hazards in a timely manner
If a hotel owner violates this duty, then they can be found liable for a guest’s injuries. In addition, if the hotel owner should have reasonably been aware of a safety hazard but did not fix it, then an injured guest can also file a claim against them.
Speak To An Experienced Seattle Premises Liability Attorney Today
In order to recover compensation for your injuries, you will want to work with an experienced law firm that can thoroughly investigate the accident. At Pendergast Law, our attorneys can:
- Consult with your doctors and physicians regarding your injuries
- Review the hotel or motel’s liability insurance policy
- Collect evidence of negligence, including witness statements, security footage, and maintenance reports
- Calculate the total costs of your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering
- Negotiate with the property owner’s insurance company
- Represent you in a jury trial
In the state of Washington, you have up to three years to file a claim against a negligent hotel or motel owner for your injuries. While you may assume that this is a lot of time, it is important to contact a Seattle premises liability attorney as soon as possible. These cases are complex and require a thorough investigation.
Our legal team at Pendergast Law, is prepared to hit the ground running the moment you reach out to us. We offer every client a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay us unless we win your case. To discuss your case in more detail, call our office toll-free at 888-539-9211.