MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. Should a hotel or inn be held responsible when a person isn’t able to dial 911 in an emergency? While most phones allow you to dial 911 easily, some hotel or inn phones require users to dial an extra zero, nine, or one to access an outside line. Many of these systems don’t have a bypass in place for emergency situations.
Children are taught from a young age that they should call 911 in an emergency. Yet, one child in Texas was not able to call for help, because she attempted to dial 911 from a hotel room. According to the Guardian, the motel phone required users to dial an additional 9 to access outside services. While it is easy enough to teach children to dial 911, it can be much harder to teach them about the complexities of motel or hotel room phone lines. Motels, hotels, and businesses use multi-line phone systems. These systems have come under fire by the media because they don’t provide users with direct access to emergency services. Moreover, these lines don’t provide emergency responders with information about a person’s location. A child may have difficulty knowing his or her address, especially if she or he is traveling.
There are many ways that dialing 911 can go wrong, but one way that has had the attention of the FCC is the way that certain businesses, hotels, and motels require users to dial additional numbers to access emergency services. Legislation regarding how hotels and corporations are to handle emergency access from their phone system is patchy at best and isn’t consistent across the country. In many cases, when individuals dial 911 from within these systems, front desk personnel isn’t notified, which can create problems if emergency services show up and the front desk of a company or hotel and the personnel there think the call was made in error.
According to ArkLaTex, the family is suing the motel, claiming that the phone system should have been set up in a manner that allowed direct access to 911. The case involves a situation in which the child’s father violently stabbed the mother and the child tried to call for help, but was unable to do so on the motel’s phone.
Until the political will changes, it might be up to families to pursue lawsuits against organizations who don’t provide users with reasonable and easier access to emergency services. The family claims that in emergencies, every second is critical to life and death. The fact that the motel didn’t make it easy for guests to access 911, puts lodgers at risk, the family claims. The family also claims that the hotel owners failed to take swift action to protect the children. The owners had video evidence of the children wandering the halls, looking for help. Yet, the owners of the lodging claim that the situation was confusing. The children were young and were not able to clearly communicate the state of the emergency. At the end of the day, it is up to the courts to decide.
If you or a loved one has suffered a wrongful death or injury because of the neglect or negligence of another person or party, you may have rights under the law. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino are wrongful death lawyers in Minneapolis, Minnesota who work closely with victims and families who have suffered due to another party’s negligence or neglect. Your family may be entitled to seek damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. Visit us at https://www.martinmontilino.com/ to learn more.
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