As a hotel guest, you put your trust in the property owner, whether you realize it or not. You trust that no one can enter your room while you’re sleeping. You trust that you won’t be ambushed while walking to your car. You trust that giving your credit card to the front desk employee is a secure procedure.
In fact, you put more than just your trust in a property owner. When you stay at a hotel, you put your very life in the hands of the party responsible for securing the premises from the actions of criminals.
So what happens if your trust is misplaced? What if someone does enter your room while you’re sleeping, ambush you in the parking lot, or pull a gun in the hotel lobby?
Are you wondering: How do I file a civil lawsuit for negligent security at a hotel? Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can guide you through this complicated legal process. Please contact our office to discuss your case with a member of our team. There is no cost or obligation to learn your legal options.
- Negligent security refers to actions that fail to prevent foreseeable crimes.
- The hotel owner may or may not be liable if a guest is injured by criminal conduct on the property.
- Because these are tricky legal cases, it’s important to work with a lawyer skilled in Maryland premises liability civil law.
What Is Negligent Security in Civil Law?
Negligent security lawsuits are handled under Maryland’s premises liability civil statutes. This area of the law governs incidents that happen on someone else’s property.
Negligent security refers to the actions of a property owner who does not take reasonable measures to protect guests from foreseeable crimes. Crimes may include assault, rape, battery, theft, carjacking, or other forms of violence.
Owners of business establishments, like hotels, have a legal duty to institute adequate security that deters or prevents criminal conduct from occurring on the property. Determining what “adequate security” looks like requires the property owner to assess factors such as crime trends in the area, past incidents, the nature of the property, if valuables or cash are kept onsite, the number of guests or tenants, and the security measures of similar businesses in the vicinity.
Depending on the needs of the establishment, a hotel owner may need to set up:
- Working locks that are changed or cleared between guests
- Multiple layers of locking mechanisms on guest doors, including chain bolts
- Surveillance cameras
- Exterior maintenance and lighting
- Trained security guards on duty
- Check-in and registry point for all entering guests
- ID checks at points throughout the premises
- A limited number of entrances to guest buildings
- Vehicle protection measures for parking lots
- Fencing around the perimeter of the property
- Restricted access to room windows and balcony sliding doors
- Safes available for storing valuable items
- Adequate protection and training for front desk personnel
- Effective emergency response plan
Can I Sue a Hotel for Negligent Security?
If you are injured at a hotel because of a lack of adequate security measures, the hotel owner may be liable. If found liable, the owner would be responsible for the economic and non-economic damages you suffered as a result of the incident. This may include damages like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
But being injured at a hotel does not automatically make the hotel’s owner responsible. Many crimes are not foreseeable, and there is no way they could have reasonably been prevented. Additionally, other factors that must be considered are the reason for your presence on hotel property (for example, were you a guest of the hotel?), any actions you took that may have contributed to the incident (such as starting a fight), and the actions of hotel employees or independent contractors who may have been involved.
Determining liability in a Maryland negligent security case is often easier said than done. There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to defining what kind of crime is foreseeable and what level of security is adequate.
You and your attorney will need to provide evidence to prove that adequate security measures that could have prevented your injuries should have been in place but were not, thus breaching a legal duty of care you were owed as a guest of the hotel.
The most important factor that can answer the question “Do I have a right to sue the hotel for negligent security?” is whether the four elements of negligence are present.
What Do I Need To Prove To Win a Civil Lawsuit Against a Hotel?
To prove that a hotel ownership entity is liable for your injuries and losses, you need to prove negligence. Negligence means that the property owner:
- Owed you a legal duty of care,
- Violated the duty of care owed to you, and
- Caused your injuries (that resulted in verifiable losses to you) by failing to meet the legal duty of care.
If you were injured as a hotel guest, it’s not your responsibility to figure out the answers to these questions by yourself. Your lawyer will analyze a wide range of evidence—such as camera footage, eyewitness testimony, crime trend reports, records of past incidences at the hotel, and more—to determine if you have the right to file a civil lawsuit for negligent security at a hotel.
What Kind of Lawyer Handles Hotel Negligent Security Cases?
A premises liability lawyer who focuses on negligent security cases is the best legal professional to represent you after being victimized by a crime on hotel property.
When choosing an attorney, it’s also important to narrow your list to those who practice in the state or city where you were injured. Local jurisdiction changes from state to state and county to county, even from city to city in some cases. If your legal counsel doesn’t have a firm grasp on local statutes, they won’t have the specialized knowledge needed for your particular case.
We invite you to come discuss your case with our legal team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC.
At our personal injury law firm, we dedicate a significant portion of our legal practice to representing victims of preventable crimes in negligent security cases. We take clients throughout Maryland, with a strong understanding of the laws pertinent to hotel security crimes that happen in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Rockville, Columbia, Greenbelt, Hagerstown, and other parts of the state.
Contact us here on our website or by phone to schedule a free case consult with an attorney.