Summer is in full swing, and many of us are looking forward to kicking back, and getting away from it all for a week or two. Have a great time, but don’t forget to observe common sense safety rules while you’re away.
When you check in to a hotel, make yourself aware of the nearest stairway, and make sure that everyone in your family knows the location of that stairway. Never use an elevator while a fire alarm is sounding, and in any event, elevators stop functioning once the alarm sounds. Families with younger children should have an advance plan as to who will be responsible for which child in the event of an emergency.
Like any other property owner, the law requires a hotel to take reasonable steps to protect the safety of those on the premises, but you can help protect yourself. Make sure that the door to your room is locked, and don’t leave valuable possessions in your room when it is unattended. Most states have limitations on the amount of liability that a hotel has to its guests in the event of theft. Use the hotel safe to store valuables (some hotels have a safe right in the room), or better yet leave them at home. Be aware of your surroundings when you’re out, and try to learn in advance what areas are best to avoid in a foreign country.
You should be aware that many chain hotels are owned not by the parent organization, but rather by a local franchisee, which is most likely a corporation which has purchased the rights to use the parent company’s name for its business. The distinction can be very important, because the identity of a hotel’s owner will probably determine whether the owner of that hotel can be sued in New York. The injury attorneys at Worby Groner Edelman have years of experience in identifying the correct party to sue, and in determining where that party can be sued.
Renting a Room in Someone's Home
Instead of staying in a hotel, many travelers today take advantage of websites to rent a room in a home, or the entire home, at a travel destination. These websites provide the option of staying in a home, instead of in a traditional hotel setting. It can be a great idea, but be aware of safety issues. If you have a small child, make sure that the home is child-friendly. You should also speak to your insurance agent to discuss how your homeowner’s policy covers you – or does not cover you – while you’re staying at a site booked through this type of website (and if you rent out your home, speak to your carrier, as your policy may not cover incidents that arise from a business run from your home). These websites will usually include reviews from past renters, so that you can learn more about a particular location. As always, due diligence is in order.
Summertime Recreational Activities
Many of us also engage in summertime recreational activities, especially when on vacation. Just be aware that the law imposes limitations on whether you can sue for negligence if you are injured. Sometimes, a doctrine known as “Assumption of the Risk” will prevent you from suing, even if your injuries are very serious. New York generally prevents lawsuits from injuries resulting from athletic or recreational activities; you should be aware of that limitation before you make the decision on whether to participate in any type of activity.
Traveling with a Medical Condition
Finally, if you have a medical condition, don’t forget to take your prescription medications with you, together with your medical insurance card(s), and the name and phone number for your doctor.
Have a great summer, and enjoy yourself. Just remember to take care, and follow a few rules. Call the White Plains accident attorneys at Worby Groner Edelman if you have any type of accident while you’re on vacation. We can answer your questions, and help you determine your rights. We’re always happy to assist, and there’s never a fee unless we recover money for you.