Though Nevada is well known for its world-renowned casinos, clocking in with more than 300 casinos throughout the Silver State, all but five U.S. states have at least one casino. Only Alaska, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont don’t offer casino gambling.
Because casinos often combine high emotions with drinking, 24-hour buffets, and long hours at the poker table, injuries can happen. From slip-and-fall accidents to defective slot machine stools to food poisoning to physical assault, if you’ve been injured at a casino, it’s important to know your rights. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common casino injuries (and causes) and the steps you can take after an accident.
Common Casino Injuries
Casinos are unique in that they offer dining, live shows and entertainment, drinking, and gambling all in one (often window-free) location. Their dynamic nature and 24-hour-a-day operation can often increase the likelihood of an accident. Some of the most common casino injuries are related to slip-and-fall accidents, broken fixtures, food poisoning, and assault.
Casinos get an incredible amount of foot traffic, and maintenance staff may not always spot and repair potential hazards. As a result, slip-and-fall injuries make up a large proportion of casino accidents and can be caused by tripping over worn or torn carpet, slipping on a spilled drink or freshly mopped floor, or falling over a purse or bag another patron has carelessly left in an aisle. Depending on the circumstances, the casino may be liable for failing to prevent injury from a known hazardous condition.
Broken Fixtures or Furniture
From poker tables to slot machine stools, casino furniture endures far more wear and tear than the furniture in most public businesses. Although casinos are required to regularly inspect their furniture and make any necessary repairs, accidents can still happen—most often collapsing chairs or stools, falling light fixtures, and too-loose handrails.
Many casinos offer low-cost buffets to help keep patrons on-site through breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. But while these buffets can seem like a good value, they also tend to be a breeding ground for food-borne bacteria. Hot or cold foods that are kept between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or the “danger zone) can develop an alarming amount of bacteria quickly, with bacteria levels doubling every 20 minutes that hot food is kept below 140 degrees or cold food is kept above 40 degrees. This means that a buffet warmer (or chiller) that is just a few degrees off can turn food from safe to dangerous in less time than it takes to finish your first plate.
Assault and Battery
Because casinos tend to have more than the average number of people carrying around large amounts of cash, inadequate security can put patrons in danger. From mugging to pickpocketing, casino management can often be held responsible for failing to take all necessary steps to keep patrons safe.
Additionally, the combination of alcohol and high emotions can increase the risk of assault. And because many casinos are attached to hotels, staying on-site could raise the risk that someone follows you from the casino back to your room, where there are fewer potential witnesses to an assault or battery.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured
After seeking medical treatment and any follow-up care necessary, it’s important to contact an attorney who specializes in casino injuries. Even if you ultimately decide not to file a lawsuit, your attorney can protect your rights throughout the process and ensure that your options stay open. Your attorney will also be able to help you jump through any legal hoops necessary, like filing accident or police reports, so your claim remains viable.
An experienced casino injury lawyer can take steps to preserve evidence, whether this involves subpoenaing the casino’s security camera footage or getting the names and contact information of any witnesses to the event. For food poisoning claims, it’s even more important to act quickly—the casino may throw away important temperature logs after just a few months, making it tougher for you to show negligence. To recover damages for a casino injury, you’ll need to show that the casino owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and the breach caused you damages.
After your accident, if you’re able, it’s also a good idea to take pictures of the scene—and the closer in time to the accident, the better. Photos that show the lighting, foot traffic, and other elements that may have contributed to your accident can be persuasive evidence when arguing that the casino was negligent. If you wait too long, the casino may quietly make repairs that conceal the cause of your injuries.
In some cases, you may have a legal claim against both the casino and a third party (like a security contractor, furniture manufacturer, or even another patron). In other situations, your claim may be against only the third party. This is all the more reason to seek legal counsel, as untangling the true cause of your injuries can sometimes be tougher than it may appear, and suing the wrong person or entity could leave you without recourse.
Reach Out to a Casino Injury Attorney
Because casinos operate in so many states, and each state’s laws are different, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to your legal questions. By contacting a casino injury attorney today, you’ll be able to learn more about your options and get the information you need to decide how to move forward.