I had a slip and fall in a Las Vegas hotel. Can I file a lawsuit?
Las Vegas hotels may be sued for negligence when patrons slip-and-fall on their wet or slippery floors. This could lead to a settlement where the hotel pays for all of the plaintiff’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Even if the plaintiff was partially to blame – such as by running – the hotel could still be legally liable to pay a portion of the damages.
How do I sue for a slip-and-fall?
Slip-and-fall victims in Las Vegas hotels can sue the hotel for negligence. In order to win a negligence claim at trial, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that:
The hotel (defendant) had a duty of care to keep the premises safe for the plaintiff;
The hotel breached this duty by allowing the floor to become slippery;
The hotel’s breach of its duty of care proximately caused the plaintiff to slip on the floor; and
This slip caused the defendant’s injuries.1
Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, the hotel has an obligation to keep the grounds safe and to warn guests of any dangers.2 So if a floor becomes wet – such as during a routine cleaning or if a patron spills a drink – hotels should take action. But sometimes staff fails to cordon off the area or to put out a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign in time.
Helpful evidence in these types of negligence cases include:
Photos or video of the accident scene, showing the slippery floor;
Eyewitness testimony of hotel patrons that saw the fall;
The shoes and clothes the plaintiff was wearing at the time to show that they did not cause the fall; and
A sample of the slippery substance itself
What money damages can I get?
Following a slip-and-fall in a Las Vegas hotel, victims may sue for compensatory damages to cover all of their:
The vast number of accident cases resolve through negotiations. But if the hotel’s insurer refuses to pay, the case can proceed to a trial. And if the plaintiff wins, the court could also order punitive damages if it finds that the hotel acted in a particularly egregious way.
Punitive damages can be as much as three times the compensatory damages. But if the compensatory damages come to less than $100,000, then the cap would be $300,000.3
Nevada hotels are liable for slip-and-falls as long as they were at least 50% to blame.
What if I was partially to blame?
Under Nevada’s comparative negligence laws, hotel slip-and-fall victims can still recover damages as long as they were no more than 50% to blame. Actions that may make plaintiffs partly at fault include:
running through the lobby,
walking while texting, or
If the plaintiff partly caused his/her injury, then the hotel does not have to pay out as much as it would have if the plaintiff were blameless. For instance, if a court finds that a plaintiff is 50% to blame, then the hotel would have to pay 50% less than it would otherwise.4
How long do I have to sue?
Nevada’s statute of limitations in Nevada for negligence is two (2) years after the victim discovers the injury. In many cases, victims discover their injury right after the accident occurs. But sometimes it takes weeks or longer for an injury to manifest itself.5
Who else can be sued?
Other potential defendants in a hotel slip-and-fall lawsuit may be:
The interior decorating company that picked out the slippery flooring;
The construction company that built the hotel;
The hotel employees who caused the floor to become slippery; and/or
The hotel patrons who may have caused the floor to becomes slippery (such as by spilling a drink)
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.