Can I sue if I had a slip and fall in a Las Vegas hotel?
Las Vegas hotel patrons injured in a slip-and-fall can sue to recover money for their medical bills, lost wages from being unable to work, and pain and suffering. Victims that were partly at fault – such as by walking and texting – might still be eligible for a payout for some of their damages.
Whom do I sue?
The most likely defendant in hotel slip and fall cases is the hotel itself. Victims may have a viablecase against members of hotel staff – such as a waitress who failed to clean up a spill. But the hotel will have the deepest pockets.
Other potential defendants in hotel slip-and-fall cases include:
Other patrons who may have caused the fall hazard (such as by spilling a drink);
The construction company that created uneven flooring; and/or
The restaurant or store the fall occurred in (if applicable).
What do I sue for?
The most common legal ground for a slip-and-fall lawsuit is negligence. To prevail on a negligence claim against a Las Vegas hotel, the plaintiff (victim) would need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that:
The defendant (hotel) had a duty of care to maintain safe premises for patrons;
The defendant breached this duty by causing or permitting a fall hazard to form;
This breach of its duty of care proximately caused the plaintiff to slip and fall; and
This fall caused the defendant to sustain damages.1
Nevada’s legal doctrine of premises liability requires hotels to prevent fall hazards.2 So for example if carpet becomes loose, the hotel should fix it as soon as possible and warn people to avoid the area in the meantime.
Typical evidence in hotel slip-and-fall lawsuits includes:
Medical records of the victim;
Surveillance video of the slip and fall incident;
Photos and videos by the victim and/or eyewitnesses;
If applicable, a sample of the substance the victim slipped on; and/or
When victims are partially at fault for a slip-and-fall in a hotel, they predictably receive less damages than if they were blameless. For example, if a court finds that a victim was 25% to blame, the hotel would have to pay only 75% of the total damages.4
What is the time limit to sue?
People injured by a slip-and-fall in a Las Vegas hotel have a two-year statute of limitations to sue for negligence. This two-year clock begins running after the victim discovers the injury. Often that is the same time as the accident, but it can be weeks or months later depending on the injury.5
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.