Hawaii Hotel Liability for Accidents and Injuries

by | Mar 7, 2020 | Vacation Accidents

Were you hurt at a hotel while on vacation in Hawaii? Getting hurt somewhere you went to relax and have fun and where you should have been safe from harm can be very frustrating.

To make matters worse, you might have to spend your valuable vacation time getting medical care, or waiting to travel home as soon as a doctor clears you to fly. Matt Menzer understands the difficulties you face getting hurt at a hotel far from home. He has over 30 years of legal experience. Over the years, he has handled many premises liability cases against hotel and motel owners and their insurance companies.

He knows how to investigate and build your case for compensation, and how to handle any litigation that may be required in Hawaii.Whether you live in Hawaii or were here on vacation, Matt can handle your case. His office is located in Wailuku, HI, and he handles claims arising on Maui and all the neighbor islands.

Premises Liability in Hawaii

Under premises liability law, a property owner has a duty of care toward their guests and visitors. A duty of care is a standard of conduct. It’s how the owner is supposed to behave. In Hawaii, property owners and other entities responsible for a property are expected to keep the premises reasonably safe. This entails inspecting the property, maintaining it, and providing clear warnings of any potential dangers.

Many states look at the status of the person who was hurt during a premises liability case. Was that person a licensee, invitee, or trespasser? Hawaii doesn’t make this distinction – it was abolished in 1969 by the Hawaii Supreme Court in Pickard v. City and County of Honolulu. Instead, Hawaii courts focus on the property owner’s conduct and whether or not they took steps to eliminate unreasonable risks of harm.

If you were hurt on hotel property, and you believe the area or activity wasn’t reasonably safe, talk with us about your rights and options. We’ll thoroughly investigate the hazard that caused you harm, the hotel’s inspection and maintenance processes, and the hotel’s history of similar serious accidents. We’ll look for evidence to prove the hotel owner or another party was negligent.

Common Hotel Accidents

Call Menzer Law right away if you or a loved one were injured in an accident related to hotel property or activity. We handle all types of significant premises liability claims, including:

Slip and Falls: We handle slip or trip and fall accidents, as well as falling from heights. These accidents often happen because of wet flooring, loose rugs or mats, torn carpet, poor lighting, loose or broken stairs, loose or missing handrails, and loose or missing guardrails on balconies.

Swimming Pool Accidents: We accept cases involving swimming pool accidents, including drownings and near-drownings. These include slips and falls around the pool, water slide accidents, inadequate pool lighting, inadequate pool maintenance, sharp edges in pools, missing ladders, and absent and improperly trained lifeguards.

Stairway Accidents: We handle cases involving defective stairs and railings that lead to serious falls.

Elevator and Escalator Accidents: We take on cases involving serious elevator and escalator accidents in hotels. An improperly functioning elevator or escalator can cause serious injuries, including broken bones, brain injuries, or amputations.

Recreational Activity Accidents: Hotels in Hawaii offer a variety of recreational activities beyond swimming pools. If you were hurt in an activity located on the hotel property or offered by the hotel, such as a luau or beach or ocean activity, call us right away.

Foodborne Illnesses: Hotels that serve food are required to uphold health and safety regulations. Failing to handle food properly can lead to the spread of serious diseases.

Robbery, or Rape and Inadequate Security: Hotel guests can become crime victims when hotels don’t provide adequate security. If you or a loved one were physically, sexually, or robbed on hotel property, please call us right away.

Establishing a Premises Liability Claim

A premises liability case against a hotel is based on negligence, which is a breach of the duty of care.  You also need to prove that the breach of that duty caused you serious harm. In sum, you have to prove several elements by a preponderance of the evidence to win compensation. We’ll fight for your compensation by:

  1. Establishing that the hotel owed you a duty of care. A hotel’s responsibility, as a property owner, is established by law. It’s their duty to keep the property reasonably safe and to warn about hazardous.
  2. Proving the hotel failed to uphold their duty. We’ll present evidence of the hazard and the hotel’s actual or constructive notice of the hazard. We want to be able to show that the hotel either knew or should’ve known about the danger and didn’t take reasonable steps to fix it or warn guests about it.
  3. Connecting the hotel’s breach of duty with your accident and injuries. This is establishing causation. We’ll show that the hotel’s failure to warn you about the hazard or fix it led to the accident and your injuries.
  4. Proving your damages. We must establish that the existence and value of the damages resulting from your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.

Exceptions to Hotel Owner Liability

There are circumstances in which the hotel owner won’t be liable for your injuries. The hotel is not responsible, for example, if you get hurt because of a risk the hotel effectively warned you about.  For example, if the hotel posted “No Diving” and “No Lifeguard on Duty” signs, you’d be expected to be cautious and not dive into a shallow pool. Another exception is if the owner didn’t have notice of the hazard. For the owner to be responsible for warning you and other guests about a specific danger or fixing the problem, they either had to know or reasonably should have known about the hazard or defect. If the hotel owner can show they didn’t have such notice, then they can’t be found negligent.

Open and Obvious Dangers Are Not a Defense

In most states, a property owner can claim a hazard was open and obvious as a defense. Individuals are expected to notice and avoid open and obvious hazards, and if they don’t, their injuries are their responsibility. Hawaii doesn’t consider open and obvious dangers to be a complete defense. The Hawaii Supreme Court decided this in Steigman v. Outrigger Enterprises in 2011. However, if the hotel claims the danger was apparent, this brings up the issue of your comparative negligence. Your compensation could be reduced if the jury finds you were also negligent.

Contact Menzer Law About Your Hotel Accident and Injuries Today

Matt Menzer is here to help with all vacation injury claims, whether you were injured in an auto accident, during a tourist activity, or in a hotel accident. Call 808-400-3726 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. Don’t worry about upfront fees. There’s no charge for meeting with us or retaining our firm. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe us nothing until we win you compensation.