New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Hotel Injuries & Personal Injury Lawsuits
According to statistics, in 2015, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States was unintentional accidents or injuries – accounting for 5.4% of all deaths. The previous year, an estimated 136,053 people died as a result of unintentional injuries – the highest death rates from these injuries were found among people at the age of 75 and older.
Some of the worst unintentional injuries involve head or spinal cord injuries, or more specifically, brain trauma. Such injuries can result in permanent physical as well as mental disability, and in some cases, even death. As of 2015, there were approximately 17,000 spinal cord injuries annually and of these, roughly 30% were re-hospitalized in any given year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the year 2016, a total of 5,190 fatal occupational injuries were recorded in the US – an increase of 7% from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported the previous year. As per the reports, it has been established as the third consecutive increase in annually recorded workplace injuries and it is also the first time that over 5,000 deaths that the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries has recorded since the year 2008.
Also, the rate of fatal and serious injuries increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from around 3.4 in the year 2015, which is the highest rate since 2010.
The BLS also reported that approximately 2.9 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by employers in the private sector in 2016. These injuries occurred at a rate of 2.9 cases per 100 FTE workers.
We often hear about the high rates of workplace injuries in construction, industrial and other fields. However, it should be noted that accidents and injuries occur quite often in the hotel industry too. Hotel employees have higher rates of workplace injuries and are more seriously injured than most other service workers.
According to data from the BLS, roughly 1 in every 1,000 hotel employees sustains an injury on the job each year. Accidents that are reported in the hotel industry make up close to 2% of all accidents in the private sector. In 2011, a total of 17,160 injuries occurred in hotels; 17,670 in 2012; 17,550 in 2013; and 17,910 in 2014.
The most frequently reported types of injury in the hotel industry are sprains, strains and tears (36%), pain (20%), cuts (9.0%), and bruises (9.0%). The most common causes of injuries in hotels are over-exertion (34%), slip, trip and fall accidents (32%), and contact with equipment (24%).
Common Injuries Sustained by Housekeepers
As mentioned earlier, employees of hotels and motels suffer more injuries than any other workers in the service industry in the US. Housekeepers particularly have a high rate of injury. This is mainly due to the fact that they perform highly repetitive tasks that can strain tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
In most states, hotel and motel employees are covered by the workers’ compensation program. If they sustain an injury while performing their job, they may be eligible for benefits to help them with medical bills and lost wages while taking time off to recover.
Housekeepers and maids in the hotel industry face a very high risk of suffering musculoskeletal disorders, such as sprains and strains. The reason for this is the fact that a large number of the tasks they have to perform while on duty require them to bend, stretch and stoop constantly. At nicer hotels, the rooms have heavier mattresses that they need to lift in order to change the linens – this can also cause serious injuries to the back.
The majority of the musculoskeletal disorders that housekeepers and maids suffer affect the back while the rest affect the shoulders and arms. Many hotel housekeepers report that the injury they sustain at work interfered with their routine activities.
More than half of these hotel employees also reported that they required medical help to deal with their workplace pain, and that they required pain medication to be able to get through their daily housekeeping duties.
Apart from musculoskeletal disorders that involve the back and neck, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, hotel housekeepers also sustain injuries such as:
- Acute trauma, such as sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, burns, and lacerations
- Exposure to chemicals
- Stress as a result of anything ranging from time limitations and increase in workloads to sexual harassment and assault
Hotel Employees Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Employers
Although hotel employees can file a workers’ compensation claim when they are injured on the job, there are instances when their employers deny their claim – in fact, this occurs more often than we think. In such cases, hotel employees can seek the help of an attorney with experience in handling, hotel injuries involving employees and file a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel.
It is likely that the attorney will make an attempt to convince the employer to approve the workers’ compensation claim and if they continue to deny the claim, the attorney will begin taking the steps to file a civil suit on behalf of the injured hotel employee and make sure that they receive fair compensation for their injuries as well as other damages, such as loss if income, pain and suffering, mental distress, etc.
It is the responsibility of the lawyer to make sure that the hotel employee’s rights are protected and that they obtain compensation for sustaining injury while performing their duty at the workplace.
Lawsuit Against Pittsburgh’s Drury Plaza Hotel Filed by Injured Contractor
A contractor in Pittsburgh who allegedly sustained serious injury while working on a construction project at the Drury Plaza Hotel filed a lawsuit against the hotel and other hired construction entities. He claimed that their collective failure to ensure that the premises were safe resulted in his injuries.
Mars resident Mark Beitler filed the lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas against Drury Properties, LLC, Drury Southwest, Inc., F.J. Busse Company, Inc., and the leading DSW Development Corporation Pittsburgh Exchange, LLC – these entities were doing business collectively as “Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown”.
The lawsuit said that before the events in question transpired, the Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown on Grant Street was owned, possessed and maintained by the Drury defendants for the purpose of developing the structure to operate as a hotel. As part of the process of modifying the structure, F.J. Busse, Inc. was retained and hired by Drury to serve as a general contractor to facilitate the development of the property.
Beitler was an employee of Ryco, Inc., a company that Drury and/or F.J. Busse, Inc. sub-contracted whose functions were to provide fire protection and/or plumbing services to the development project named in the suit.
According to the suit, the defendants affixed plywood on the top of garbage dumpsters during the construction project for construction workers, including the plaintiff, to walk on to dispose of materials and other debris. Beitler considered the condition dangerous due to the presence of a section of the plywood that was cut out in a rectangular shape.
On February 24th, 2016, Beitler was on the Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown property in the course of this employment. As a direct and proximate result of the dangerous conditions that were described in the suit, Beitler alleged that as he was in the process of disposing refuse, he had to step into the missing section of the floor and fell from the dumpster onto the concrete floor below.
The fall allegedly caused Beitler to sustain a number of injuries including: intra-articular displaced distal redius fracture on the left wrist requiring surgical repair, contusions and trauma to his entire body, bruises and other injuries that the platiff needed to prove at trial.
Beitler claimed that there was failure on the defendants’ part to adequately or properly hire, train, and supervise its employees and sub-contractors on the work site and provide and implement safety procedures in the worksite for its employees and sub-contractors. The plaintiff also alleged that they violated OSHA regulations regarding the provision of a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that could potentially cause injury or death to employees. There was also a litany of other charges in addition to these.
The plaintiff sought damages, for two counts of negligence, in excess of the jurisdictional limits of compulsory arbitration as well as court costs, interest, etc. as well as further relief that the court may deem just and equitable.
Injury to Hotel Guests
There are instances when guests of a hotel sustain injury due to the negligence of the hotel. In such cases, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel and obtain compensation for damages.
Common accidents that can take place in hotels are:
- Slip and falls
- Food poisoning
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Parking lot car accidents
- Acts of violence
If you suffer any type of incident that causes you injury at a hotel, you should immediately start looking at your potential rights to file a lawsuit. To file a suit against a hotel, the elements that you need to start with proving the duties of the hotel to you. Typically, it is easy to prove this as hotels automatically owe basic duties of care to all guests and property visitors – with the exception of adult trespassers. These include:
- Disclosing health and safety hazards
- Protecting the privacy of guests
- Keeping the premises reasonably safe
- Taking adequate security measures
- Not discriminating against guests
Breach of Duty
On hotel premises, breaches of duty can take many shapes and forms. A “breach” is defined as any act or failure to act that goes against accepted standards of care for the industry and situation. The incident may need to be investigated in order to prove negligence or a breach of duty on the hotel’s part. The injured party must prove that the defendant did not act in a manner that a reasonable and prudent party would have in similar circumstances, causing your accident.
When a guest is injured in a hotel, they must prove that the breach of duty of care of the hotel was the actual and proximate cause of the accident. An accident’s “proximate cause” is nothing but the primary cause.
Although the proximate cause may not really be the initial event that triggered the accident, but it could be the action that resulted in foreseeable negative consequences. The injured party will be required to show that their injuries were caused directly by the proximate cause – the cause without which there would not have been an accident.
Finally, a person who is injured in a hotel accident must have real and compensable damages in order to have grounds to file a lawsuit against the establishment. If you do not incur damages like a personal injury, property damage, medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering or even the wrongful death of a family member, the establishment will not owe you anything, even in the event of an accident.
To have grounds to sue the hotel, you must have incurred some kind of damages. You should consult a personal injury lawyer to find out more information about suing a hotel when you have been injured in a hotel accident.
Get the Best Legal Assistance for Hotel Injuries Which is RMFW Law
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hotel accident, either as a guest or an employee, it is critical that you seek legal assistance from an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney and this is where Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 needs to enter your life. The legal counselor will review your case and determine if you have a viable case against the establishment.
If you do, your attorney will help you begin in taking the steps to filing a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel and make sure that your rights are protected.
It is vital to hire RMFW Law who has experience in handling, hotel accident or injury cases so that you have the best chance of recovering compensation for damages. With a sagacious and motivated legal pro, you can make sure that the hotel is held liable for the accident and that you receive the compensation you are legally entitled to for the injuries you sustained as a result of the hotel accident.
RMFW Law knows this this aspect of the law. Our track record testifies to this. Our track record of winning and settling in favorable terms for our clients is fantastic and regal. We know how to win these types of cases and we know the tactics of the other side.
It is not just about hard work it is about working smart and RMFW Law does both. Call us now! You have nothing to lose. We only win if you win!