When checking into a hotel, there should always be a certain level of security expected. When crime occurs, such as robbery, assault, battery, rape, or even murder, it can often be nearly impossible to locate the criminal responsible. If these crimes occurred in a hotel that failed to provide reasonable security measures to protect their guests, there may be a legal path to seek compensation from the hotel.
In order for an injured person to win an inadequate security lawsuit against a hotel, they must prove that the hotel was negligent. This means that the victim must prove that the crime could have been prevented if the hotel had taken proper precautions. Victims must further show that the crime was foreseeable. Foreseeability can be proved by showing that similar crimes were committed in the hotel or the surrounding area. If the hotel was aware of these crimes and failed to take proper security precautions to stop further crime or inform their guests of the crimes, they can be held liable for injuries and damages resulting from the crimes.
Inadequate security can take all kinds of forms. Generally speaking, all hotels are expected to have working locks, security personnel monitoring the entrance, working lights, and surveillance equipment. These security features are standard, and failing to have them can create dangerous situations for guests who are under the false impression that they are safe and secure.
Failure to properly screen hotel employees can also put guests at risk. The most common crime to occur in hotels is theft committed by hotel employees, such as cleaning staff. Hotels are expected to do searches for any criminal background of their employees to avoid hiring anyone who is likely to steal, and any time an employee steals from a guest while acting in their official capacity, the hotel can be held responsible.
However, a hotel cannot be found negligent simply because a crime was committed in the hotel. In situations where the perpetrator was invited into the room, for example, the hotel cannot be held responsible for the crimes they committed.