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Hospitality industry still faces liability risks

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Posted on March 22, 2021

Hopefully, guests and customers will resume going to conferences and restaurants and staying at hotels this year. With reopening, the hospitality industry will be responsible for the safety of their guests and may still face the consequences of a premises liability lawsuit for their negligence.


A facility is negligent if it did not exercise reasonable care to ensure its guests’ safety. An injured person does not have to prove that the property owner was aware about the unsafe condition if the owner did not use reasonable care to prevent or fix the problem that caused the injury.

Reasonable care includes regular inspections of the facility and its equipment, screening employee backgrounds, providing appropriate employee training and supervision, having clean areas for food and beverage preparation and service, providing reasonable security, and taking measures to prevent the repeat of accidents.

Slip and fall accidents

These are among the most common accidents in the hospitality industry. Typical causes include loose or unsecure carpeting, wet floors from leaking ceilings or cleaning, stairs that are wet or obstructed by objects, defective handrails and electrical cords that are improperly laid or insufficiently taped or covered.


Hotel and other venues have the duty to prevent an intruder from attacking a guest. Property owners may be liable for injuries if unauthorized individuals had easy access to the location, there was insufficient staff identification and the property had broken locks, no security guards and inadequate lighting in parking lots, stairwells, and hallways.

Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable precautions. Improved door security, video cameras and professional security personnel are some of the measures that provide security.

Food and beverages

Hotels, restaurants, and other venues that serve food may be liable if a guest suffers a food-borne illness. Food preparation should involve a professionally trained chef that works with the local health department to ensure that industry standards are being met for hygiene and food preparation. There should be a one room designated as a food preparation area that is ready for food preparation and serving if food is brought onto the property.

Venues could be liable for injuries involving drunk drivers and minors. A facility that serves alcohol should not provide it to minors and obviously inebriated guests.

Attorneys can help victims of these injuries obtain evidence and seek compensation. Lawyers can also help assure that their rights are protected in settlement negotiations and trials.