Doe v. Doe et al.
Family recovers $20 Million in damages for the wrongful death of a hotel guest who died after exposure to a deadly virus within his hotel room.
The hotel owner/operator created a public safety risk by designing and constructing unsafe accommodations that exposed the guest to a deadly virus. The accommodations were negligently maintained further exposing guests to this risk of serious harm and wrongful death. The hotel owner/operator in this case continued to rent accommodations to guests despite knowledge that the accommodations remained infested with vermin. Notably, the hotel owner had notice of an infestation on the premises, but continued to rent accommodations to the public.
The industry standard for hotels includes using reasonable care to avoid exposing guests to harmful or deadly bacteria, infestations, or vermin that can lead to a deadly virus or debilitating health condition. In this case, housekeeping records, maintenance reports, and guest complaints all demonstrated that the hotel owner/operator had knowledge of a dangerous condition and chose to ignore it.
Hotel Negligence; Owners/Operators of Rental Property
An owner or operator of a hotel or lodging accommodations have a legal obligation to their guests, including the duty to use reasonable care to keep guests safe from hazards on the property. This includes a duty of vigilance to monitor and inspect for risks that place guests in harm’s way. Owners and operators of guest accommodations must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm to guests.
A prudent hotel owner and/or operator must develop a risk assessment of their facility as well as a maintenance program to protect guests from hazards ranging from slip and fall incidents, drownings, pool dangers, Legionella bacteria, or even insect or other vermin infestations.
Damages caused by the owner or operator of lodging that fails to use reasonable care can result in liability to injured guests or other foreseeable victims.
Hidden dangers at hotels or lodging include exposure to Legionnaires’ disease. The deadly Legionella bacteria can exist where the hotel’s water cooling tower is not properly maintained or regularly inspected. Symptoms and injuries caused by Legionnaires’ disease include cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, severe pneumonia potentially causing death.
Hotels should take steps to reduce the risk of harm to guests on their property. Training employees and providing written guidelines can insure that staff are all operating under the same rules to protect guests. Hotel policies must be enforced by management, and employees must be held accountable for failure to implement their training and the rules that are meant to keep guests safe. Strategically placed video surveillance systems can provide an additional layer of security and safety for hotel guests. Hotel owners/operators should create safety alerts or warnings to guests of hazards that are not readily apparent, in order to provide adequate safety for their guests.
At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, we understand just how devastating the death of a loved one can be, especially when it was caused by someone else’s actions. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers have dedicated their careers to ensuring that our clients are put in the best position possible, and will fight to secure you the maximum compensation possible. If you are looking to hire a passionate and experienced legal representative, call us at (415) 940-7176 to discuss your situation over the phone, or let us know about your situation by filling out our online form today.