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If you're injured during a hotel crime is the hotel liable?

Someone breaks into your hotel room with the intent of robbing you. You've put your valuables in the safe, though, so they can't get to them quickly. You come back during the robbery. The thief knocks you down while fleeing from the room and you hurt your back.

Is the hotel liable for the injury?

Generally, if a crime happens at a hotel, the hotel is not responsible. It cannot control all of the actions of guests. Things like this may be impossible to predict.

The exception, then, is when the event could have been predicted or anticipated, but the hotel didn't do enough to keep its guests safe.

For example, perhaps there have been break-ins at the hotel before. There is a lot of crime in the area. The hotel owner put locks on the windows, but the lock in your room is broken. Multiple guests have complained about it in the past, but the owner has neglected to fix it. That unlocked window is how the thief got into your room.

The hotel may then be liable since they were negligent in doing repairs and they did not remove a risk they had been told about numerous times. Had the owner simply replaced the lock, the thief may never have gotten in and you may never have been hurt.

Of course, it could be argued that the thief could have just broken the window with a new lock, and that's true. However, then the hotel would have at least tried to prevent the crime and the injury. It's the negligence shown by the lack of effort that could make the company liable.

As you can see, it's important to know about all of your options after an injury. It may be possible to seek compensation from multiple parties.

Source: FindLaw, "Premises Liability FAQ," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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