You're staying in a hotel for a few days on a business trip. Everything goes well at first, but then you slip and fall in the hallway. You break your arm. Not only does that lead to a lot of unneeded pain and suffering, but you have high medical bills and you miss an important business meeting. Can you then seek financial compensation from the hotel?

You absolutely may be able to if the hotel was negligent in some way, breaching the duty to provide a safe space for your stay. If you were responsible for the fall, you likely can't sue.

Ignoring Issues

Often, negligence is shown when those who own the property know that it has become dangerous and they ignore it. For instance, maybe a water pipe broke over a tile floor in that hallway. Guests reported it and the hotel owner took a look at it, then decided to deal with it later. No signs were put up to warn you, and though the water had been turned off, the floor was still wet. The hotel owner was negligent in putting off repairs and failing to warn guests of the hazard.

Should Have Known

Where these cases sometimes get tricky is if the owner says he or she had no idea there was a problem, but you argue that hotel officials should have known about the issue. You could have a valid claim.

For instance, if that leak started two minutes before you walked down the hall and there were no previous indications that the pipe would break, the owner may have a case. Perhaps employees were hurrying to get the warning signs when you fell, but they just couldn't do it instantly.

You may be able to argue that there were other issues -- an employee should have stayed in the hallway, the pipes were clearly old and about to break, etc. -- but every case is different.

However, there are cases where property owners should have been aware of the danger, even if they honestly were not. Maybe, after your fall, another guest claimed he'd seen water leaking in that hallway all week long. The owner should have known about the issue and made changes days before your fall, so he or she is still potentially negligent.

Seeking Compensation

As you can see, a lot of factors go into these cases. Be sure you know your rights if you're seeking financial compensation.