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Last Update: 5/5/23

Florida Law Imposes A Duty On Hotels To Protect Their Guests From The Negligence Of Hotel Security

In this article, we’ll break down:

When an invitee (i.e. a hotel guest), as defined under Florida law, sets foot on hotel property that hotel must exercise reasonable care to keep its guests safe. That obligation is imposed, in part, under Florida’s premises liability law.

Seems like an obvious task for any hotel to do, but it’s shocking how often people are hurt and seriously injured while staying at a hotel.

Under Florida law, hotels have a “duty of care” to protect its guests as well as the public from reasonably foreseeable acts undertaken by third parties. Chapter 509 of the Florida Statutes is filled with laws passed by the Florida Legislature that impose legal responsibilities upon hotels (and other “public lodging establishments”) to take action to protect people.

For example, Florida Statute 509.211(1) requires that “each bedroom or apartment in each public lodging establishment shall be equipped with an approved locking device on each door opening to the outside, to an adjoining room or apartment, or to a hallway.”

Quick Tip: The Average Hotel Negligence Settlement In Florida Is $40,000.00 (Details)

What Have Florida Courts Said About Protecting Hotel Guests?

Anyone injured while staying at a Florida hotel is protected by state law because Florida courts view these people as “business invitees” – as a business invitee the Courts place a strong duty upon the hotel to protect their guests (whom, after all, are paying the hotel revenues).  As one Florida appellate court explains:

A registered guest in a hotel is a business invitee to whom the hotel owes a duty of reasonable care for their safety. See cases cited at 17 Fla.Jur., Hotels, Restaurants, and Motels, § 24; 40 Am.Jur.2d, Hotels, Motels, and Restaurants, § 111. While most of the Florida cases announcing the innkeeper-guest standard of care involve a hotel’s common rooms and other facilities which are available for the use of all hotel guests in common, we see no reason to require a higher degree of care for protection of a guest in the confines of the particular room assigned to him upon registration, than in the common areas.

Furthermore, with all of the studies done by those who insure hotels against these sorts of claims, hotels should be aware that all sorts of injuries are happening at hotels in Florida and across the United States.  Even though most of these injuries involve slip and fall injuries – there is plenty of literature in the public domain about all of the negligent or inadequate hotel security claims being filed each year.

Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach Florida

Image of the former Royal Poinciana Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida

Hotel Injuries Are Called “Hospitality Risk” By the Insurance Companies

According to the National Specialty Underwriters’ data, it defines hospitality risk claims as:

  • Guest Vehicles Damaged – Valet or Non-Valet
  • Guest Property – Missing
  • Cuts, Lacerations, Abrasions
  • Auto Accidents – At Fault / Not At Fault
  • Guest Property – Damaged
  • Food – Illness / Food poisoning
  • Personal Injury
  • Assaults – All Types
  • Food – Foreign Object in
  • Recreational Activity
  • Illness – Not otherwise classified
  • Guest Vehicles Stolen – Valet or Non-Valet
  • Fire / Smoke
  • Drowning
  • Liquor Liability
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