If you are planning to stay at a hotel in San Marcos or elsewhere in Southern California, you should be able to expect that the hotel will maintain the premises in a reasonably safe manner, and that you will not be exposed to unreasonable risks of harm or injury. However, in the era of COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of being reasonably safe in a hotel environment has shifted. Many people still want to travel within California, and others want to plan vacations to Southern California from other parts of the country. Ultimately, if you stay at a hotel where you contract COVID-19, can you file a negligence claim against the hotel?
This is a complicated question, and it ultimately depends upon a number of different factors. We will provide you with some clarifying information below, but it is important to speak with a hotel negligence attorney in San Marcos to determine whether or not you have a claim.
Was the Hotel Negligent in Failing to Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus?
Generally speaking, in order to have a valid negligence claim in California against a hotel or motel, an injury plaintiff needs to prove the following elements:
- Hotel or motel owed a duty of care (which is easy to prove for anyone who paid to stay at the property);
- Hotel or motel breached its duty of care by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent hazards on the property;
- Hotel or motel guest suffered an injury as a result of the breach of the duty of care; and
- Hotel or motel guest sustained damages.
In the age of COVID-19, it may not be immediately clear what constitutes negligence, however, or what steps a hotel or motel must take in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections among guests. Generally speaking, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines for hotels and motels to help reduce the spread of the virus. Those guidelines include requirements for employees, social distancing in common areas, limiting the total number of guests in the hotel room, creating contactless delivery for room service, minimizing guest and employee traffic in hotel spaces, and conducting regular and more intensive cleaning processes for guest rooms and common areas.
Did You Sign a Waiver of Liability?
Did you sign a waiver of liability? While liability waivers are not always enforceable, COVID-19 waivers tend to be more enforceable for customers or clients (than for employees) as long as the client or customer understood the risks when they signed the release.
Regardless of whether the hotel or motel followed guidance from the CDC or other state guidance, you may not be able to file a claim if you signed a liability waiver that released the hotel from responsibility for coronavirus exposure, you may not be eligible to file a claim.
Seek Advice From a Hotel Negligence Lawyer in San Marcos
If you recently stayed at a hotel or motel in Southern California and contracted an illness or suffered an injury, you should speak with a San Marcos hotel negligence attorney to learn more about your options for filing a claim. Contact the Walton Law Firm to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.
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