With the frightening blaze at Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan Hotel this week, you might be having second thoughts about your upcoming vacation plans.
And although no one was injured in Las Vegas, you might remember a local tragedy from 2011 when a toddler slipped and fell to her death from a Virginia Beach hotel's balcony.
But rather than proclaim all hotels and resorts to be death traps and canceling your plans, let's take a deep breath and examine the facts.
First of all, accidental injuries and deaths at hotels are a rare occurrence—especially in Las Vegas, where the disastrous 1980 MGM Grand fire led to sweeping changes in how hotels are responsible for their guests' safety.
Today, in fact, Las Vegas is the safest city in the country in terms of hotel standards.
All hotels are legally obligated to take all necessary precautions needed to avoid accidents on their premises.
Here the term “premises liability” comes into play, where a hotel can be held responsible for slips, trips and falls on their grounds if the hotel was aware of the danger beforehand, and did not sufficiently protect its guests.
For example, if you slip and fall in a puddle of spilled soda in the hotel lobby, the hotel is liable if they knew about the spill and delayed cleaning it up.
This liability extends to crimes committed on the premises; again, assuming the hotel knew there was a high risk for crime and did nothing to prevent it.
We know many of you might still have a family trip on the books, especially since our area boasts some of the nation's top vacation destinations—Williamsburg ranks as one of the South's top ten vacation spots, and Virginia Beach was voted 4th best beach in the US in 2012.
That's why it's important to report any safety concerns to your hotel's staff immediately.
Be proactive, stay safe, and enjoy the rest of your summer!
From the Team at Kalfus & Nachman