Florida Hotel Laws: Who Controls and Regulates Hotel Safety and Security for Hotel Guests in Florida? Federal or State Laws?

Posted By on October 10, 2013

Last Update: 06/02/16

If you are staying in a Florida hotel or resort, odds are that you are visiting Florida from another state or country on business or pleasure or maybe a little of both. As a guest of a Florida hotel, you can depend upon the hotel to serve your needs and to keep you safe and secure during your stay – or at least you should be able to do so.

However, if something should go wrong during your hotel stay (some type of personal injury occurs), Florida has enacted laws to allow you to pursue a legal claim and seek legal redress against the hotel or resort for your damages. Unfortunately, the federal judicial system isn’t going to be much help to you because the United States government does not get involved, for the most part, in the relationship between a hotel and a guest when it comes to personal injury and negligence.

 

hotel lobby

Hotel lobbies can be beautiful, but those marble floors can be risky for a slip and fall and the hotel owes a duty to its guests of reasonable care for their safety.


 
However, their are a few Federal laws that could apply to hotels but those relate to providing public accommodations, including:

1. Discrimination by a Florida hotel is prohibited under federal civil rights laws;

2. Florida hotel facilities must conform to the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA); and

3. Florida hotel facilities must meet fire safety standards established in the federal Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990/1996.

Florida Law Regulates Injury Claims Against Hotels in Florida: Claims Must Be Filed in Florida State Courts

Florida hotels of every type (resorts, spas, luxury hotels, executive suites, etc.) must adhere to the regulations established by state agencies, the statutes passed by the Florida legislature, and additional legal requirements imposed upon them as the result of court precedent (in cases ruling on issues of negligence, premises liability, negligent security, etc.).

Under Florida law, their are duties of safety and security imposed upon hotels and resorts that are not imposed upon other kinds of businesses (say, for example, a shopping mall or a seafood restaurant).  Specific legal duties exist under the law for those who offer public accommodation in Florida i.e. keeping guests safe from accidental harm (negligence) as well as from criminal acts (negligent security law).

Hotels Have a Duty of Reasonable Care Placed Upon It By Florida Law

In Florida, a guest enters into a binding contract to pay for lodging at a hotel and the hotel undertakes legal duties distinct from that contract to provide safety to that guest during their stay. This is the hotel’s duty of reasonable care.

However, this duty has its limitations.

The hotel is not the Guardian Angel of the guest; the hotel is legally responsible to make sure that the guest premises of the hotel are kept in a reasonably safe condition. If there are dangers on the premises, say a broken stair on a stairway to the beach from the hotel, where a guest might slip and fall, then it is the duty of the hotel to block that danger off from guests, and to warn guests not to use the stairs until things are safe once more.

Comparatively, if the danger on the premises is glass shards in a storage location, for instance, then guests are not to be in storage facilities, and the hotel need not take measures to protect guests from possible harm here (thought the hotel may have a duty to its employees in this scenario).  And all of this state law legal protection goes out the window if the hotel happens to be on Indian Tribal land.  (Like the Hard Rock here in South Florida, for instance.)  Additionally, and as discussed in prior posts, hotels are responsible for negligent security matters, where guests have become victims of crime due to the hotel’s failure to meet their legal duties to protect and secure its guest.

The bottom line is that if you have been injured or hurt during a stay at a Florida hotel, you have specific legal rights that have been granted to you under Florida statutes and Florida case law (court decisions).   As such, it’s a good idea to hire a Florida personal injury lawyer to act as “local counsel” to help your attorney back at home understand the legal duties of the hotel as well as assist in the litigation of any Florida claims against the hotel’s owners and operators for damages you may have sustained as a result of their negligence.

What Should You Do?

A good piece of advice if you have been hurt at a hotel, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
 
 
 
 
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