Tourism is Nevada’s top industry, accounting for nearly 13 percent of our gross domestic product. In 2018, the number of people visiting Washoe County hit five million for the first time in a decade. People visit the Reno area for the casinos—58 percent of visitors to the area come for gaming activities—and to see shows in the hotels. We’re happy to have them, as the casinos and hotels are both world-class and distinctive to the Biggest Little City in the World.
But what if you’ve sustained an injury in a hotel or casino? From slips and falls on impressive marble floors to faulty pyrotechnics at a stage show, hotels and casinos are full of elements that can injure guests and visitors. Not only that, but the hotel and casino management often take the lead in negotiating with people about their injuries. Some Nevada casinos and hotels even have in-house clinics. Yet, do the clinics do the best job of treating your injury? What happens when you get home or need care over the long term?
Contact experienced Reno hotel and casino injury law firm, like Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, immediately if you were hurt or harmed inside or on the grounds of a hotel or casino. You need to know your rights and not negotiate or sign agreements with the management of these establishments right away. Over time, we have developed experience with injuries in nearly every casino and hotel. We can help.
People associate hotels and casinos so thoroughly with fun and excitement that harm might be the last thing that comes to mind when thinking of these places. But in fact, both the interior and exterior are fraught with potential injuries.
Slip and falls, one of the most frequent types of premises liability incidents, can happen because the floors are slippery, because liquid was spilled and not cleaned up in a restaurant or bar area, or even because new carpet in your hotel room was not tacked down properly. But these are far from the only accidents that can happen.
You can contract food poisoning or another air-borne illness. A dancer or light fixture could fall on you. A roof under construction can cause falling debris. Malfunctioning water faucets could cause the roof above you to cave in. Bedbugs can live in even the classiest rooms. Inadequate lighting in the parking lot may cause you to hit a planter or other decorative element with your car. Security personnel may be overly aggressive and injure you. Another guest may attack you or steal from you.
Now, some attacks and thefts may not be the responsibility of hotel/casino management. But some, especially those that are perpetrated in the same manner over lengthy periods of time, may be the responsibility of management, because they are responsible for catching protracted scams. They are also responsible for injuries caused by inadequate training, oversight, and hiring, or negligent security procedures.
Almost every type of injury, illness, or criminal activity can occur in these establishments, including:
Owners of all premises open to the public have an obligation to make the premises safe for the public. This includes guests, visitors, and employees. If the premises become unsafe, the owner must fix the problem as soon as possible. If owners can’t quickly fix the problems, they need to warn the public and make any unsafe areas off-limits to the public. Safety cones or tape marking off a place where liquid was spilled is one example of this, but there are many possible methods of doing this.
Owners of premises open to the public must also make sure that their employees are properly trained and supervised.
Subcontractors are also responsible for ensuring that their work or areas are safe for the public. A company hired to install carpet, for example, should make sure there are no lumps or loose areas that could cause someone to trip and fall.
If owners and subcontractors do not fulfill these obligations, a court can hold them liable for injuries, illnesses, and harm that their failure to make the premises safe have caused.
Can owners claim that they didn’t know their premises were unsafe? They can certainly try. The law, however, adheres to a reasonable person standard. If a reasonable person should have known something was unsafe, the law will hold owners responsible.
Hotels and casinos also have additional mandates under the law. Many people realize, for instance, that casinos have security cameras in many places. These are installed, of course, to protect the casino itself against cheating. Footage in security cameras in stores and other establishments is frequently taken out and sometimes even recorded over. As a result, there isn’t always evidence of accidents and injuries.
But a landmark case, Fire Ins. Exchange v. Zenith Radio Corp., set forth a duty to protect and preserve evidence that contains accidents. If establishments fail to do this, a court can instruct a trial jury to infer that the missing footage benefits the victim.
As we mentioned above, some of the larger casinos/hotels have clinics for injured people. Many also take care of filing incident reports in case of accidents.
Remember, casinos and hotels have a vested interest in minimizing both the extent of injuries and accidents and the harm from them. They want to minimize any compensation paid to victims, and they don’t want the public to know of any potential harm that might make them less likely to patronize the establishment. Casinos and hotels will tend to do whatever is good for their businesses, and that may not be good for you.
If you are in a car accident, the police generally file a report. You can get a copy, and the information is likely objective. But incident reports from hotel security are not easy to get. They are the establishment’s property, and not public. You have to go to court to get them. In addition, the incident report may not be objective. It’s to their advantage to minimize their liability. They may try to blame the victim or exaggerate the amount of blame other parties have.
Finally, management may make verbal promises to pay for injuries or damages, or assure people that everything will be taken care of. But if there is no record of these, the victim may be left high and dry, paying for their own medical bills or without recourse to redress or compensation for damages. Risk management departments are often very sophisticated at negotiating as well and will offer low settlement amounts even when they do plan to pay an injured victim.
The experienced attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers have brought legal claims against almost every casino and hotel in the Reno area. We are experienced negotiators who know their gambits, and we will advocate vigilantly to seek justice and maximize compensation in your case.
Our initial review of your case is free. Contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers online today, or call (702) 382-9797.