You spend the weekend in Las Vegas, and most of your time is spent with a drink in your hand. That’s why you’re here. You came to hit up the casinos, bars and world-famous restaurants. You’re here to have a good time and put aside the normal pressures of work and daily life. It’s a vacation. Who doesn’t drink on vacation?
Unfortunately, you slip and fall while you’re in the hotel. You’re badly injured and wind up in the hospital. You want to sue for compensation, but you can’t deny being drunk at the time of the fall. Are you still able to sue, or is it your own fault for being under the influence?
The first thing to know is that every case is unique. There is no one answer that works for every hotel slip-and-fall accident in Nevada. Each case must be considered carefully to determine who was at fault and if negligence played a role.
The next thing to note is that Nevada is a comparative negligence state, as most are. Just five areas use contributory negligence — Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Alabama. Under comparative negligence rules, fault can get split between two or more people or entities. For instance, if you seek $100,000 in compensation, but you are deemed to be 25 percent responsible with the hotel 75 percent responsible, you may get $75,000 in compensation.
What you’re looking for, then, is negligence on the part of the hotel. Three things courts consider are:
- If the hotel owner created a dangerous condition.
- If the owner knew about that condition and did not correct it.
- If the owner should have known that the condition existed and did not correct it.
For instance, perhaps a stairway was missing a handrail, which it is mandatory to have under the local building codes. The hotel owner did not install a new handrail or block off the stairway with signs.
After having some drinks in your room, you took the stairs to head down to the casino. You slipped and fell 10 feet to the floor below.
The hotel owner argues that he or she did not know the handrail was missing, but security footage shows that it got taken down a month ago. The owner should have known — or actually did know — that it was gone, but failed to put up a new rail.
Yes, you may have avoided falling down the stairs if you were sober, but it’s still clear that the hotel owner allowed a dangerous condition to exist in an atmosphere where he or she knew intoxicated guests would be walking.
After a serious injury, it is critical that you know your rights. This is especially true in complex cases in which multiple parties may be at fault.