Does your employer require you to attend conferences, or do you go to trade shows? If you do, you will naturally expect the owners of the venue and the organizers of the event to ensure the safety of all the visitors and participants. The responsible parties at hotels and conference centers in Virginia should have a comprehensive knowledge of the laws that govern the hospitality industry.
If you suffer an injury or come to any harm while you are a guest at such a facility, and you can show the lack of reasonable care to eliminate known risks, you could hold the venue liable for your damages. Although it is impossible to anticipate all possible accidents, not addressing the common hazards can indicate negligence.
What constitutes reasonable care?
If you want to file a premises liability lawsuit against a venue, you must establish negligence, which refers to the level of care taken to ensure guest safety. Reasonable care includes frequent inspections of the facility's buildings, its equipment and furniture, and taking steps to rectify any identified dangers or threats. Furthermore, the preparation and service of food must occur in appropriate, clean areas. Proper background checks of employees are essential, and they must receive adequate training and supervision.
Safety starts with security
The lack of precautions to keep visitors safe could lead to an intruder attacking a guest. The following are known security risks:
- Uncontrolled access by unauthorized workers
- Lack of identification of staff members
- Inadequate lighting in hallways, stairwells and parking lots
- Broken or damaged locks
- Failure to appoint security guards
- Insufficient door security
Falls caused by slip-or-trip hazards are the most common causes of personal injuries to guests in the hospitality industry. Typical threats include the following:
- Loose mats or rugs on the floors, or carpets with frayed or curling edges
- Wet spots on the floors from leaks, spillages or janitorial cleaning
- Randomly placed objects in walkways and halls
- Debris and wet spots on stairs
- Damaged handrails on stairs
- Electrical cords snaking across the floor — particularly to serve exhibitors and presenters
The risk of food-borne illnesses
If you suffer any food-borne illness after eating at a hospitality venue, you could hold the owners and organizers of the event liable — even if they use the services of an independent catering company. The following steps can prevent such incidents:
- Use of professional chefs with full knowledge of industry standards for food preparation
- Designation of an appropriate food-handling area that meets health standards for serving food provided by a caterer
- Prevention of the serving of alcohol to minors and guests who appear inebriated
If you are a victim of injuries suffered while visiting a hospitality venue in Virginia, you should not have to carry the financial burden on your own. Legal resources are available to provide support and guidance throughout the navigation of a premises liability lawsuit to pursue damage recovery.