Legal Liability for a Hotel Fire
The recent fire at the Bayview Hotel has many people thinking, “Who is responsible if a fire breaks out in a hotel?” It’s an interesting question. Most premises liability cases involve slip and falls, where a business visitor falls on the property. A fire will cause different injuries, including burns, smoke inhalation, and possibly even death.
Actually, the answer of who is legally liable will depend on the circumstances.
Who or What Caused the Fire?
In a personal injury case, the first question is always, “Who is responsible for the accident?” Usually, this person bears legal responsibility when other people suffer injuries. Fires can be started by:
- Hotel employees
- Faulty wiring or electrical systems
Sometimes, more than one person or entity will be responsible. For example, if an employee accidentally caused the fire, then the hotel will also be responsible simply by virtue of being the person’s employer. The hotel does not have to do anything wrong. Instead, the legal concept of vicarious liability makes the employer responsible for injuries caused during an employee’s scope of employment.
If faulty wiring caused a fire, then the electrician or subcontractor could be responsible, but the hotel might also bear responsibility. The key will be whether the hotel used sufficient care to protect its guests from injury. If the hotel did not regularly inspect its wiring, or if they ignored problems with the wiring, then the hotel is also on the legal hook for any injuries caused by a fire.
What Happens when Hotel Guests Cause Fires?
When guests cause fires, hotels can still be legally liable depending on the circumstances. Here are some examples where you might be able to hold a hotel responsible even if a guest started the fire:
- The hotel did not clearly mark the fire escapes, so guests are injured when they can’t flee the hotel in time.
- The hotel did not install fire extinguishers or sprinklers as required by building codes.
- The hotel did not warn guests of the fire to give them time to escape.
- The hotel used dangerous, flammable materials that easily catch on fire. The key is how foreseeable it was that the materials might ignite.
- The hotel did not replace defective or dangerous lamps or hair dryers which ultimately cause a fire.
Every situation is different. Instead of assuming that you do not have a legal case, you should meet with an experienced Volusia County personal injury attorney to review your case against a hotel for injuries.
Speak to Daytona Beach Premises Liability Attorney
Daytona Beach has many beautiful hotels, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. If you have been injured in one, you might be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
At Bundza & Rodriguez, our premises liability attorneys can meet with you and identify who to hold responsible for your accident. Please call 561-265-2220 to schedule your consultation.
Avoid delay. Florida law gives you a short window of time to bring a lawsuit for personal injuries, and any delay can cost you money.