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What if my Child is Injured at a Hotel, Resort, or Motel?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In the United States, families travel at different times of the year including summer break, winter break and spring break. During most trips, the vacation is filled with fun, laughter, and good times. It is often a pleasurable adventure to be able to stay in a hotel, resort or motel. Unfortunately, some visits to hotels end very poorly in the firm of personal injuries to a child. Is a hotel liable for all injuries that take place on premises? The simple answe is No. A hotel is not liable for all injuries or incidents but is responsible for the ones in which the following elements can be proved:

1. Duty;

2. Breach of Duty;

3. Causation; and

4. Damages.

An example may shed some light on the above elements. Let’s say that a child is a guest at a hotel. The 10 year old exits the hotel to the pool area and the door falls off of the hinges and injures the child. The child suffered a broken arm and required emergency care and follow up care by an orthopedist. Would this fit into the elements above? This fact pattern would probably constitute a case; however, it should be noted that each case should be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances. Here is a quick analysis of the aforementioned fact pattern:

1. Duty. The hotel had a duty to maintain a reasonably safe premises for guests including children. This duty included the responsiblity for periodic and careful maintenance and inspection of the premises.

2. Breach of Duty. While the door falling of the hinges may seem to speak for itself, the breach of duty element may need a bit more proof. For example, if there was rust and wear and tear on the door that could have been observed with periodic inspection – then it could be argued that the hotel failed to take necessary steps to inspect and repair the door.

3. Causation. This refers to the link between the breach of duty (improperly maintained door) and the damages otherwise known as the injuries. The door fell on the child and fractured the arm. The child did not enter the hotel with a broken arm. There appears to be a good nexus or causation between the breach of duty and the damages or injuries.

4. Damages. This refers to the economic losses (medical bills, loss of earning of parent caring for the child, etc. . . ) and the non-economic damages (pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life) that are associated with the personal injuries. Typically, there is no formula for calculating the injury. Again, each case must be evaluated and analyzed on its own facts and merits.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Medical Care & Medical Bills, Damages & Comensation, Automobile Accidents, Day Care Cneter Injuries, Theme Park and Amusement Park Injuries, Store – Shopping Center – & Mall Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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