Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | March 30, 2020 | Premises Liability
It’s not a surprise that millions of people visit New York City every year. Some come because the City has a lot of wonderful tourist attractions and fun things to do.
New York City is also one of the world’s major hubs for business and government, so many people travel here on business errands.
Many of those who visit will stay in one of the many hotels or motels in the area. When they do, they of course expect to be secure on the premises and also to have their belongings respected.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Many criminals know that guests at hotels and motels are fairly easy targets for theft and even for muggings and other assaults.
Traditionally, and even to this day, many people have thought that the responsibility for this bad behavior lay with the criminal. Unfortunately, this often leaves a victim without any real justice for their ordeals, as criminals very rarely actually have the funds to compensate a victim for their losses.
Premises liability generally
However, owners of land, including owners of hotels, have customarily had obligations to those who are the landowner’s invited guests. In New York, landowners have a legal obligation to protect their guests from dangerous conditions on the property.
Dangerous conditions can include a number of things. Aside from common problems like slippery entryways, guardrails in disrepair, broken glass and the like, a dangerous condition can even include something like insecticide.
A landowner has an obligation to correct a dangerous condition. If the landowner cannot do so, the landowner must either keep guests at a safe distance, properly warn guests or do a combination of the two.
When a landowner, including a hotel, fails to take these measures, then an injured victim can hold the landowner financially responsible for those injuries in a premises liability case. The victim can receive compensation for items like medical bills, lost wages, counseling or other therapy and the like. The victim may also be able to receive compensation for so-called non-economic damages like emotional distress.
Premises liability includes negligent security
Over the years, many states, including New York, have come to recognize that hotels and other businesses have a certain degree of responsibility to keep their guests safe from criminal activity on the premises. In other words, as with other dangerous conditions, landowners need to take reasonable steps to prevent crime. This does not mean that they can, or should have to, stop all criminal activity.
However, they do have to do things like hire security, have working locks, and the like. They must do what the reasonably can to prevent crime, particularly if they are located in a high crime area or have had criminal activity on the property before. That being said, the onus of proving premises liability on the grounds of inadequate security lies on the victim of the crime.