Whether you check into a hotel in Texas for business or a vacation, you shouldn’t leave with a serious injury. Unfortunately, many hotels fall short of the standards of care when maintaining their properties, resulting in premises that have defects and guest injury risks. If you were injured in an accident during a stay at a hotel in Texas, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

How Does a Premises Liability Case Work?

An accident at a hotel deals with the legal concept of premises liability. A premises liability lawsuit is a civil claim against the party that owns or is in charge of a property that contained a dangerous defect that injured a visitor. For example, if a visitor slips and falls on a freshly waxed floor that did not have any warning signs, he or she could potentially file a claim against the business for a broken hip.

Your ability to sue for a premises liability accident at a hotel depends in part on your status as a visitor:

  • Invitee: the highest level of property visitor. Invitees have the owner’s express or implied permission to be on a property, such as guests at a hotel. The duty owed by the property owner includes inspecting the premises for new or unknown hazards, remedying any discovered defects, and warning visitors of potential injury risks.
  • Licensee: someone with permission to be on the property who does not have a mutually beneficial commercial relationship to the owner. An example is a social guest. Licensees are owed a slightly lesser duty of care than invitees; property owners generally do not have the duty to search for new dangerous conditions.
  • Trespasser: someone who knowingly enters a property without the owner’s permission or lawful authority to do so. A property owner does not owe any duties of care to a trespasser unless the trespasser is a minor. However, property owners cannot intentionally injure trespassers unless necessary to protect themselves.

In general, all property owners owe a duty of reasonable care to keep their premises in a safe condition and to warn of dangerous defects that are not open and obvious. An owner’s exact duties of care, however, can change depending on the type of visitor. Hotel guests are owed the highest standards of care as invitees. This means the hotel and its staff members have a responsibility to keep you reasonably safe.

What Must You Prove in a Lawsuit Against a Hotel?

As a hotel guest, you have the right to reasonably expect a safe premises that is clear of hazards and injury risks. All areas of the hotel should be safe for guests, including rooms, hallways, elevators, staircases, the lobby, swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and parking lots. If any part of the property contained a defect that caused harm to you during your stay, you may be able to file a premises liability claim.

A successful lawsuit against a hotel in Texas requires proof of the following elements:

  • A condition or defect on the hotel’s property presented an unreasonable risk of harm.
  • The owner or controller of the hotel had actual or constructive knowledge of the risk (knew or reasonably should have known it existed).
  • The owner failed to take reasonable care to remedy the dangerous condition.
  • You were injured during your stay as a result of the dangerous property condition.

The burden of proof rests with you as the claimant, meaning it is your responsibility to establish that the hotel is liable for your injuries with at least a 51 percent certainty. An attorney can help you prove your premises liability lawsuit by collecting and presenting evidence of negligence, such as hotel maintenance and cleaning logs, surveillance footage of your accident, witness statements, and photographs of the dangerous property condition. For more information about a potential lawsuit against a hotel in Texas, contact an attorney.