Surveillance’s Role in Premises Liability Claims in Restaurants and Hotels

Hotel and restaurant guests have the right to expect a clean, hazard-free environment. You are, after all, spending a lot of money on your stay.

One hopes that their hotel stay will be free of any violent incidents or slip-and-fall mishaps. And this is the least a customer can ask for. In addition, the law requires proprietors of hotels and restaurants to provide such services.

Accidents like slips and falls, dog attacks, and automobile crashes are always surprising. They are, unfortunately, common and may happen anywhere. Accidents may occur for various reasons; sometimes, one is to blame for their own accident and on other occasions, someone else is to blame.

You might not have been hurt on business or residential property if someone had intervened. In this case, you can file a premises liability claim for damages. A premises liability lawyer will know all the necessary details on how to go about your claim.

Property owners who neglect safety measures or upkeep sometimes cause these accidents. The same thing will happen at restaurants and motels, as seen below.

Premises Liability Law

As a body of law, premises liability holds landlords and renters liable for injuries sustained on their property. Owners who reside on their property must take reasonable care to protect visitors in all states.

If you don’t, you may be liable for premises liability, which means you are responsible for property safety. Property damage claims are typically based on negligence. The owner might cover your medical bills if you are injured on their property.  A premises liability lawyer will assist you in collecting evidence and investigating your claim. However, exceptions exist depending on the doctrine being used.

State case law, sometimes known as “common law,” is the major basis for premises liability legislation. Nonetheless, local regulations, construction rules, and state laws may also be applicable.

Furthermore, if another party’s negligence caused the accident, you should sue. This might be a maintenance or cleaning contractor. When you hire a premises liability lawyer specializing in liability cases, they can quickly assess your situation and determine who is at fault.

Why Do People Typically File Premises Liability Claims?

Injuries sustained on someone else’s property may lead to a premises liability lawsuit. The most common justifications for such lawsuits are:

  • Slip and fall incidents

Most property accidents include a slip, trip, or fall caused by a spill, bad lighting, or a construction fault. You can hire an attorney to file premises liability and slip & fall settlements.

  • Dog bites

In most cases, pet owners are liable for damage caused by their pets. This involves physical and emotional injuries from an animal’s aggressive behavior, such as bites or falls.

  • Accidents in Swimming Pools

Due to injuries, swimming pool accidents may result in premises liability settlements. For example, falls, lacerations from pool drains, electrocution, and unintentional drowning.

  • Assault because of insufficient security

Businesses like casinos and nightclubs often have to hire security guards to keep patrons safe. You may sue the property owner liable for your injuries if you are assaulted due to inadequate or nonexistent security measures.

  • Toxic exposure

If you become ill because of hazardous materials on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability claim.

  • Fires

Property owners must prevent fires by taking care of issues like defective wiring or gas leaks that might cause an explosion.

  • Faulty equipment

Broken equipment might cause injuries; therefore, property owners should be liable. For example, amusement parks must examine and repair damaged rides to keep guests safe.

How Are Premises Liability Cases Assessed?

Sufficient evidence in premises liability suits includes:

  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Surveillance
  • Statements from Witnesses
  • Medical records
  • Police reports
  • Assessment of Stability on a Slippery Surface
  • Lighting and directional signage
  • A record of previously reported dangers

Expert witnesses may testify and demonstrate vandalism, regulatory infractions, industry standards, and workplace safety. This may also include facility design and construction errors.

You should endeavor to consult engineers, architects, security specialists, construction managers, and building code and safety experts.

What Kinds of Damages Can Be Paid in Premises Liability Cases?

Compensation can be obtained for the following if you or a loved one have been wounded on another person’s property:

  • The Cost of Healthcare
  • Lost wages 
  • Damage to Potential Income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rare cases when punitive damages are awarded
  • Additionally, you are entitled to any damages authorized by the law or that the court finds fair and reasonable.

You might have legal grounds to sue for damages but due to legal restrictions, discussing your legal alternatives with an attorney is something you will want to immediately start on.

The Responsibilities of Hotels and Restaurants Toward Their Customers

Hotel and resort owners should take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their visitors. For instance, hotels that charge guests must prevent electrical and plumbing problems.

There are some crucial responsibilities that today’s restaurants and hotels have and these include: 

  • Maintaining a clean hotel and all of its shared spaces
  • Providing enough lighting in public spaces
  • Maintaining all the elevators 
  • Reprogramming room keys after visitors leave
  • Calling the proper authorities in case of an emergency 
  • Making sure you have a strategy in place in case of an emergency, such as a fire escape
  • Always following federal and state regulations on food safety
  • Respecting all applicable federal and state anti-discrimination legislation
  • Guests should not have to deal with any short-term inconveniences like icy or slippery sidewalks because of the weather
  • Hotel rooms and restaurants need to have sufficient security to avoid theft and burglaries.
  • Finding and retaining enough workers to maintain essential services and complete all assigned tasks
  • Taking care of all plumbing troubles, pest infestations, and other sanitary concerns

Legal Terms of  Use for Guests

The property owner is responsible for keeping the property safe and warning visitors of any hazards. If someone is hurt because of a problem on the property, it might be considered a case of “premises liability.”

The harmed party’s trespassing, licensee, or invitee status is simply one factor in whether they may claim damages.

Damage awards in premises liability cases are typically determined by state courts. It all comes down to what the plaintiff had in mind when they came to the property. There are three classifications, and each is afforded a unique degree of safeguards:

  • Trespassers

Trespassers are those who enter a property without authorization.

  • Licensees

People who were invited or counted as guests at a social event with the consent of the host.

  • Invitees

Customers who entered for the owner’s profit (clients in the corporate world, shoppers in a mall, etc.).

Video Surveillance’s Limitations in Hotels and Restaurants

Despite their many benefits, video cameras have fundamental legal and practical limitations:

  1. Legal Limitations

Your staff members can be left alone in certain areas of your restaurant. Avoid live broadcasting from public toilets, locker rooms, and showers. Workplace surveillance cameras need a “legitimate business reason.”

State privacy laws may affect the legality of video surveillance. Before posting videos, consult local law enforcement on employee privacy.

  1. Practical Limitations

Cameras have a cost, and video evidence has to be organized. Placing a camera in every area where your business may be sued is not feasible. You can manage your video system or hire an expert. You will have to decide whether video surveillance is worth the cost of your restaurant.

Surveillance cameras may also hold managers and owners accountable. Create and enforce severe safety measures instead of hoping that cameras will keep people honest.

Nonetheless, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks if your video surveillance system is effectively installed.

The Benefits of Video Surveillance in  Hospitality Businesses

Restaurants, like other businesses with many clients and various dangers, must be operated with risk reduction in mind. Due to life’s uncertainty, precautions can reduce risks to your employees, customers, and suppliers.

Risk management’s main aims are protecting loved ones and maintaining financial stability. Since surveillance cameras keep an eye on everyone, they may be used to mediate disputes over:

  • Crime: Theft by workers, arson, and armed robbery
  • Accidents: Workplace accidents, including slips and falls, that result in claims for workers’ compensation
  • Serving alcoholic beverages: Automobile accidents, fights, and physical altercations among customers
  • The cooking process: Issues with food allergies, food poisoning, and pathogens

There must be proof of what caused these occurrences and who is financially accountable for the damages. People who know they are being recorded are more inclined to follow safety rules and avoid problems.

E Video surveillance may give clear proof of fault except in rare cases. When implementing video surveillance for the safety of a restaurant, it is crucial to recognize this truth.

Hotel/Restaurant Video Camera Placement Tips

A restaurant’s security system, especially one with well-placed video cameras, will be important in a lawsuit.

Cameras should be installed in hotels and eateries to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Everyone’s Entrance and Exit

Make sure the video records everyone who comes in and exits the building.

  • Kitchen

The preparation of meals can be filmed for security purposes. That’s crucial in the event that a disease spread via food makes people ill.

  • Bar and restaurant

Keep an eye out for those who leave without paying, in addition to keeping tabs on the quality of service provided by waiters and bartenders.

  • Cash registers

When cameras capture criminal activity, they also assist workers in avoiding temptation.

  • Driveways and sidewalks

It may be impossible to install cameras everywhere in a vast parking lot, but they should be installed at all entrances. 

With the development of digital technology, VSaaS (video surveillance as a service) has become a viable business model.

The service provider takes on the burden of setting up, monitoring and maintaining the client’s video system. Depending on the specifics of your restaurant, VSaaS may be a workable solution.

Conclusion

A skilled premises liability attorney can help you collect proper compensation if you are seriously injured at a hotel or restaurant. If the hotel’s carelessness was extreme, your lawyer might ask for punitive damages in addition to the hotel’s insurance payout.