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Can California Hotels be Sued for Providing Negligent Security?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017By Richard Alexander

Hotels are a part of modern life – we think nothing of going on a road trip or a long vacation away from home knowing that we can find a hotel practically anywhere. We expect that the hotels we stay at are safe and that the management will take steps to ensure our safety during our stay. This includes our assumption that the hotel will hire security guards to protect its guests when necessary. But are hotels required to provide security for their properties? And if they don’t, are they liable for guest’s injuries?

An owner of any property that is open to the public is liable to his guests for their safety. In legal terms, it’s said that the owner has a “duty” or a responsibility to his guests to make sure that they stay safe. Of course, an owner cannot be expected to foresee the unforeseeable, but he should take steps to repair any potential hazards he becomes aware of or to resolve any circumstances that could put a guest in danger. A hotel owner can be held liable for failing to correct a hazard or circumstance that foreseeably puts a guest in danger.

With that standard in mind, we turn to the issue of hotel security. There is no blanket rule that a hotel must provide security guards on its premises. However, a court could find that if a guest is injured and the hotel knew about the hazard, the hotel is liable. For example, if a hotel is located in an urban downtown location that has had several issues with rowdy, obnoxious patrons in the lobby bar, the hotel is likely aware that those same rowdy patrons could assault a hotel guest if not controlled. Or if the hotel has been robbed several times over the past months, hotel management would know that the hotel was a target for criminal activity and it could be foreseeable that one of its guests would be robbed. Both scenarios could establish liability for a hotel if it does not provide proper security and a guest is injured.

When determining whether a hotel has liability for providing negligent (or non-existent) security, California courts will balance the foreseeability of the criminal act with the burden it would place on the hotel to have adequate security in place to prevent those types of acts. As part of a lawsuit it is important to establish that the hotel could foresee the injury occurring and provided negligent security in response.

Negligent security cases can be difficult but the right attorney can prevail with a combination of detailed investigation and smart legal strategy. Alexander Law Group, LLP has litigated numerous negligent security cases and obtained favorable settlements for our clients.

If you’ve been injured as a hotel or another public place as a result of negligent security, call us at 888.777.1776 to find out more about how we can help. Or contact us online for a free, private consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.  

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