When you stay at a hotel, you pay for more than just a bed for the night. You pay for a safe place to sleep and keep your possessions. Unfortunately, a surprising number of criminals will target hotels and motels.
They might lurk just around the edge of the parking lot, waiting for people to leave vehicles unattended. They might force their way into long-term stay rooms to steal people’s clothing and electronic devices. They might even assault those coming back to the room from the hotel bar.
Although the criminal is obviously the one primarily to blame for their bad conduct, sometimes the hotel or motel can be partially to blame as well. Inadequate security can be a form of negligence that opens a hotel up to premises liability claims.
Crime is a known issue at hotels and motels
Businesses open to the public should take steps to minimize the reasonably foreseeable risks that would endanger their customers or clients. The possible vulnerability of those staying at hotels and motels to criminal behavior is well-known, and both owners and operators can take certain steps to protect visitors.
Installing lights in the parking lot and around the edge of buildings, especially motion-activated lights, can deter criminals. Security cameras present in hallways and in exterior spaces can also help. Having a security guard on staff or securing access to the building or its grounds can also prevent criminals from accessing guestrooms or hurting the people staying at the hotel.
What rights do crime victims have?
If you get hurt on private property, you may be in a position to bring a premises liability claim against the owner of the property or the business operator. Provided that you could convince the court that a reasonable person could foresee the criminal risk and that efforts by the business would have potentially prevented the crime you experienced, you may be able to file either a premises liability insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit against the hotel or motel.
Given that the decision to not install lights, hire a security guard or invest in surveillance cameras likely stemmed from a desire to keep costs low, a financial consequence for cutting corners might motivate the business to change its practices. Learning more about premises liability rules can help those hurt by inadequate security at hotels and motels.