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Hotel and Motel Premises Liability Wrongful Death Attorneys in North Carolina


Just like any other business, a hotel or motel can be held liable if its negligence results in the wrongful death of one of its visitors. There are any number of ways that a hotel or motel’s conduct might lead to a wrongful death claim, but a good example is the recent tragic electrocution deaths of Kendra Pittman and her daughter at the Economy Inn Hotel and Suites in Rocky Mount. Ms. Pittman and her daughter were electrocuted from what appears to have been a malfunctioning heating and air-conditioning unit. If it is found that the owners and managers of the Economy Inn failed to properly maintain and inspect the heating and air-conditioning unit, they may be held liable for damages to the beneficiaries of the Estates of Ms. Pittman and her daughter. In that case, if they have commercial general liability insurance, their insurance company would likely pay all or most of any verdict or settlement.

Proving negligence in a premises liability case can be difficult. Often times it involves the use of expert witnesses to establish that the owner or manager of a property has failed to abide by the “standard of care” in the industry. In a hotel and motel case that would mean showing that the owner or manager failed to correct a hazardous condition that they knew about or should have known about. For example, if a lawsuit is ever filed in Ms. Pittman’s case, the plaintiffs’ attorneys will likely try to prove that either the owner/manager of the Economy Inn in Rocky Mount knew that the heating and air-conditioning unit was an electrocution danger or that they would have known of the electrocution danger it if they had conducted reasonable inspections of the room. The use of an accident reconstruction expert is also required in many cases. These experts are not used to show the “standard of care” but to prove how exactly someone was injured or killed. The commercial general liability insurance companies for businesses fight nearly every premises liability wrongful death claim, no matter how clear cut they may be, so it is important to have the right experts on your side.

If the family of the victim prevails in a hotel and motel premises liability wrongful death case, there are a wide range of damages that can be recovered. They include compensation for the pain and suffering of the person who was killed, his or her medical and funeral expenses, but also compensation for the beneficiaries of the estate losing the love and affection of their family member. Recoverable money damages also can include compensation for the loss of the reasonably expect net income of the person who was killed. Finally, if the conduct that lead to the death was particularly egregious, it may lead to a claim for punitive damages. These are damages designed solely to punish. While these different types of money damages can never bring back the victim, in many cases they can help the family get back on its feet after the sudden loss of a loved one.

If your loved one has been killed by the negligence of a motel or hotel owner/manager, the Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Law can help. Our firm has extensive experience litigating complex wrongful death claims, including premises liability claims. To schedule a free consultation, contact Maginnis Law at 919.526.0450. You can also visit our contact page to send a confidential case inquiry. If you would like to reach our primary wrongful death attorney, you may email attorney T. Shawn Howard.

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