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Premises Liability Claims for Inadequate Security at Hotels

Casey Woodruff

hotel keycardWhen it comes to providing a safe space for hotel guests in Aurora, what must a hotel do to ensure the safety of its patrons or else be held accountable through a premises liability claim? Under the Illinois Premises Liability Act (740 ILCS 130/1), property owners owe a duty of reasonable care to guests on the premises, which includes “a duty to warn of or otherwise take reasonable steps to protect such entrants from conditions on the premises that are known to the entrant, are open and obvious, or can reasonably be expected to be discovered by the entrant.” In addition, the law also makes clear that property owners have a duty to warn of latent defects or dangers, as well as a duty to warn patrons about consequences of misuse of the property and to protect patrons from dangers resulting from their own misuse of the premises.

Now, you are probably considering a lot of different scenarios in which a hotel may be liable for injuries sustained by a hotel guest. Indeed, there are numerous ways in which a hotel can be held accountable for a patron’s injuries on the property, from slip and fall accidents due to damaged flooring to an animal attack on the property. Yet there is a specific issue that we would like to address: liability due to inadequate security.

Understanding Inadequate Security and How it Relates to Premises Liability Law

An article in the Gaming Research & Review Journal explains that inadequate security can indeed be an issue under premises liability law. Just as property owners have a duty to protect entrants against dangers that could cause a slip and fall accident, or to warn about dangers that could result in an animal attack (such as in the recent Disney alligator attack premises liability case), hotels also have a duty to protect guests from harms resulting from inadequate security.

The term inadequate security can refer to many different acts or omissions on the part of the hotel. As the article points out, one of the most notable cases nationwide in which a plaintiff was successful in a premises liability claim involved faulty door locks in a hotel that enabled an intruder to enter and commit a violent crime. Hotels have a duty to provide functioning locks to prevent guests from avoidable harm. Another notable case focused on the issue of foreseeability and when a hotel must implement certain security measures to prevent an assault on a patron. In sum, cases brought under a theory of premises liability law tend to show that resorts, hotels, and other similar establishments must take steps to prevent a guest from being injured in an assault or other violent crime.

Issues that May Give Rise to an Inadequate Security Claim

If you were injured in an assault or another violent crime while staying at a hotel, how can you know whether you have a premises liability claim? Common examples of inadequate security that can give rise to premises liability lawsuits include but are not limited to:

  • Broken locks on doors or windows;
  • Limited or no security guards in areas where an attack has previously occurred;
  • Inadequate response from security guards—in other words, not responding quickly enough when an incident is occurring;
  • Limited or no lighting in parking lots, stairways, and other dark areas; and
  • Limited or no security cameras in areas where incidents have previously occurred.

Contact an Aurora Premises Liability Lawyer

If you or someone you love got hurt while staying at a hotel due to inadequate security, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit. An experienced Aurora premises liability attorney can assist with your case. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans to learn more about our services.

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