Posted on Jan 02, 2023

According to sources, sometime in the morning around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, North Charleston Police responded to a report of a gunshot victim. An employee at the Stayover Lodge told the officers which room the victim was in, and when the officers arrived at the room, they found 32-year-old, Quantez Jackson, unresponsive and without a pulse. Tragically, the young man passed away.

How Can a Hotel or Motel Be Held Liable When a Guest is Shot?

Hotel and motel owners have a duty to provide safe and clean rooms to guests. Not every shooting at a hotel or motel will serve as the basis for a viable negligent security or wrongful death claim. The reality is that some shootings can’t be prevented.

A negligent security case is a type of premises liability claim. Premises liability typically looks to whether a landowner or business took reasonable steps to remedy or fix hazardous conditions. In a negligent security case involving a shooting at a hotel or motel, we’re asking the same question: Did the hotel or motel take reasonable steps to deter foreseeable violent attacks on the hotel or motel premises? If not, then the hotel or motel may be liable.

What Types of Attacks Typically Occur at Gas Stations?

Negligent security cases involving incidents at hotels and motels will generally involve one of the following types of criminal attacks:

  • Homicide;
  • Shooting;
  • Stabbing;
  • Armed robbery;
  • Sexual assault or rape; or
  • Some other violent criminal act.

The above list of criminal acts is not exhaustive, and any violent criminal attack at a hotel or motel may be the subject of a negligent security claim if the hotel or motel owner, property owner, or any other potential defendant acted negligently. Thus, if you or a loved one have been the victim of a criminal attack at a hotel or motel, regardless of whether the specific type of attack is listed above, you may have a viable a claim for negligent security.

Be Vigilant and Stay Away from Dangerous Hotels and Motels

Often times, the victims of a violent crime at a hotel or motel are people that are from out of town. They’ve been driving a while, and they’re looking for a cheap place to get some rest. Unbeknownst to them, the hotel or motel may be a hotspot for crime.

Unfortunately, folks visit South Carolina from all over the place and aren’t aware when they are in a “bad” area. They go to a place they should not go because they don’t know any better. Well, when an area is known to be dangerous, that places more responsibility on the owner to take reasonable and proper measures to deter crime. When they don’t and someone gets hurt, they may be held liable under the legal theory of negligent security.

Signs to Look Out for When Choosing a Hotel or Motel for the Night

Although you can’t really know the area you’re traveling through unless you’ve spent some time there, you can look out for signs that a hotel or motel may be dangerous. Trust your instincts. If something feels off, keep on driving until you find a place you’re comfortable with. In addition to trusting your instincts, look out for some of the following:

  • Bad lighting or no lighting;
  • Bars on the windows;
  • Graffiti;
  • Trash strewn around the premises;
  • Hourly hotel rates and other signs of prostitution;
  • People doing drugs or loitering in the parking lot; and
  • Bad Google reviews.

That last one is very simple. Pull out your phone and do some quick research on Google. Look the hotel or motel up and scroll through the 1-star reviews. Find out what other folks have experienced when staying in that particular hotel or motel. They may say that you need to ignore the exterior because it’s a wonderful place to stay. However, they may tell you to run for your life. Pay attention to the bad reviews.