When Traveling, Beware of these Common Hotel Hazards
There is something about traveling that makes us forget all about safety and security. We are completely focused on whether or not we remembered to pack the suntan lotion, with nary a thought about far more real and present dangers. This is not just true for vacationers, but for business travelers as well. They are typically stressed about not losing their laptop, and memorizing the most important stats for the big presentation.
Even when there is some awareness of travel dangers, it all flies out the window once we enter the hotel. We have fallen for the images of the weary traveler entering the hotel room, kicking her shoes off, and collapsing on the bed with a sigh of relief. It might come as a bit of a surprise that those images do not reflect the reality of the situation. You are not free from danger when you enter the hotel. You might just be at the hight of danger if you are not aware of the hazards.
On their page covering premises liability, Tampa based JFSW Law lays out the modest expectations of a hotel regarding the protection of clients from the most common hazards. The two addressed on the page are:
- Slip/Trip and Falls
- Inadequate Security Resulting In Criminal Assault
Two not mentioned in the report, but worth mentioning here are:
- Food Poisoning
- Pool Injuries
Slip/Trip and Falls
The reason this type of injury seems to happen in public places more than at home is that at home, we are in complete control of our environment. We know exactly where the leaks are. We are used to stepping over dog toys. We know where that loose floor board is. In public buildings, we have no idea. The article lists the following as slip/trip and fall culprits:
- A foreign or transient substance
- Water (for example a leak or spill)
- Slippery floor or tile
- Unsecure floor mats
- Stairs that have deteriorated or not to code (ie. no handrails)
- No railings or broken railings
- Poor lighting
- Uneven pavement or broken sidewalks
If you happen to slip and fall at a hotel, you must fight the impulse of blaming yourself. Out of embarrassment, we might decide that we were just clumsy. But that uneven and broken sidewalk you tripped on is not due to your clumsiness. Even if you are not injured in any obvious way, you need to report the fall to the manager on duty. Also, never admit to being clumsy or careless. Finally, under no circumstances should you sign anything without consulting with an attorney.
Inadequate Security Resulting In Criminal Assault
Again, this is not your fault, and can happen to anyone. Just a couple of months ago, an army veteran died of injuries after a hotel assault in N. Carolina. Hotels have a minimum standard of security that they must maintain. Failure to do so endangers all their unsuspecting guests. Being military trained does not keep you safe from such assaults.
Hotel guests are especially vulnerable, as they are presumed to be carrying valuables that are easily liquidated. They drop their guard when entering the hotel premises, making them an even easier target. The Hotel bears responsibility for your safety. After such an assault, call the police, seek treatment, inform management, and under no circumstances should you sign anything without consulting an attorney.
Food and Fun
Finally, many select their hotel based on the entertainment options, including restaurants and pools. But people drown in hotel pools and hot tubs that are not watched by life guards. Do not just assume that a lifeguard is on duty.
When it comes to food, that could be the deadliest part of your trip. In 2013, 200 suffered food poisoning at an Intercontinental Hotel restaurant. Just last week, a chef and manager was jailed after a woman died and 31 taken ill at a Christmas dinner.
None of this is to cause you to change your travel plans. We all have to and want to travel. It is just a reminder that we should not let our guard down when arriving at the hotel. When traveling, there is never a good time to let our guard down.