The Travelodge name was born in California in the 1930s, and can now be seen on hotels all over the world.

The brand has been sold, acquired, and spun off over the decades, and the various branches in different countries now operate largely separately from each other.

The Wyndham company currently owns the rights to the name “Travelodge” in North America, while individual Travelodge locations belong to local franchisees.

Below, we’ll go into common reasons for suing a Travelodge. If at any time you would prefer to speak directly with a lawyer who handles Travelodge lawsuits, feel free to reach out by phone or chat.

There’s a Reason Why Fire Safety Has Its Own Rulebook

Hotel owners are responsible for anticipating all foreseeable threats to their guests, and taking all reasonable steps to protect against those threats.

This overarching responsibility covers a lot of smaller responsibilities, such as keeping walkways free of tripping hazards and keeping water heaters at a safe temperature.

Some hotel owner duties are subjective, or rely on common sense, but others are explicitly spelled out in laws and codes.

The International Fire Code, in particular, is extremely detailed, and for good reason — one fire in a poorly prepared building can destroy dozens, even hundreds of lives all at once.

Travelodges, unfortunately, have a hit-or-miss record when it comes to this essential category of safety.

Within the last five years alone:

  • A firefighter was injured in a ceiling collapse while attempting to extinguish a burning Travelodge in South Burlington, Vermont. The fire had started with food left unattended on a stove.
  • The mayor of Pelham, Alabama declared an emergency to shut down a local Travelodge, due to extreme fire safety issues. The Pelham fire marshal had received a letter, describing hazardous conditions at the motel, and responded with an unscheduled inspection to confirm them.
  • A fire broke out in the stairwell of a Travelodge in Victorville, California.
  • A mechanical failure in an industrial dryer set fire to a Travelodge in Terre Haute, Indiana, displacing 30 people.
  • A man was found dead inside a burning Travelodge room in Rockford, Illinois.
  • A fire at the Travelodge on Forest Hills Road SW in Atlanta sent two people to the hospital, in spite of the fact that the fire itself never spread beyond one room.
  • Four vacant rooms were destroyed by fire at a Travelodge in Sunnyside, Washington. The cause is still under investigation.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Travelodge fire, it’s important to recognize that fire casualties are not random events. Hotels have access to extensive instructions on how to prevent, suppress, and if all else fails, help guests escape unscathed from fires. If a hotel fails to follow these instructions, the owner is liable for any resulting harm.

Any Travelodge with a Pool Must Be Prepared for Additional Safety Challenges

The pool area of a hotel is one of the most likely parts of the property for a serious non-fire accident to occur.

This is partly because hotels rarely employ lifeguards. Swimmers who accidentally inhale water in hotel pools often suffer fatal drowning injuries before anyone even notices their distress, let alone finds a way to help them. Most victims of accidental pool drowning are small children, and the danger is even greater if the pool has design or maintenance problems.

A child drowned this way at a Travelodge in Collinsville, Illinois, back in 2002. After the child’s death, the Travelodge’s owner was charged with both running an unlicensed pool and failing to report the incident appropriately.

Drowning isn’t the only safety issue associated with hotel pools, however.

The decks surrounding pools will often be wet, which can present a slipping hazard, especially if they’re also uneven or made from the wrong materials.

Pool heaters can leak carbon monoxide (CO), yet very few hotels think to put CO detectors in the pool area.

Pools require a delicate chemical balance to be safe. The wrong mix can either allow dangerous pathogens to proliferate in the water, or cause chemical burns and poisoning.

A particularly severe pool chemical accident in 2014 created a cloud of chlorine gas at a Travelodge in Ottawa, Ontario. Three people ended up in the hospital, and over 50 more suffered symptoms.

Pools can also weaken the construction around them through years of humidity and condensation, which is why indoor pool areas are one of the most likely areas of a hotel to collapse.

In December of 2022, high winds in Lincoln, New Hampshire ripped the roof right off of a Travelodge pool area and blew it into a nearby car. By sheer luck, both the pool and car were empty at the time, and no one was hurt.

If you are one of the people who have been hurt or lost a family member at a Travelodge pool, you may well be entitled to compensation.

Travelodge Franchises Can Also Be Held Responsible for Enabling Crime

Anticipating and addressing dangers to guests doesn’t just mean preventing accidents. It also means taking an honest look at the likelihood of crime on the property, and investing in appropriate security.

If a hotel has had only one violent crime, the owner might be able to argue that the crime was unforeseeable, and therefore not the business’s fault, especially if the hotel is in a generally quiet area. It’s much harder to keep making this claim, however, on a property where crime has already proven a problem.

For example, in 2022, a 19-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man were shot in the parking lot of the Travelodge in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Then, less than a year later, a mother and her teenage son were also shot at that same Travelodge.

If the hotel didn’t already have reason to focus on security by the first shooting, it definitely did by the time of the second.

Similarly, here in Georgia, a 30-year-old mother of four was shot and killed in an early morning drive-by in the parking lot of the Travelodge in College Park. That was in 2021, and it would not be the last serious crime at that location, as we’ll cover in the next section.

Last year, there were shootings at the Travelodges in both San Antonio, Texas and Loveland, Colorado. One could generously describe both of these locations as being “on notice,” as far as security is concerned.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one to violence at a Travelodge, definitely speak with a lawyer about verifying the hotel’s history, and determining whether the owner had a duty to provide you with better protection.

Hotel Violence Often Revolves Around Sex Trafficking

One of the most common reasons why a particular hotel might have an especially high rate of violent crime is because the owner is allowing the property to be used for sex trafficking.

Back in February of 2016, the city of Brook Park, Ohio shut down its Travelodge, after it had generated over 650 calls to 911 over the previous two years. This is an extreme but not uncommon measure local governments will take when a specific hotel proves to be a serious crime hotspot. As is almost always the case with such locations, the calls involved reports of human trafficking, in addition to shootings and other assaults.

Aside from increasing the risk of random violence toward innocent, unaware guests, sex trafficking is of course a horrific crime in and of itself, causing severe and often lifelong trauma to its victims.

Other Travelodges in the U.S have been the site of numerous suspected or confirmed sex trafficking incidents in recent years:

  • In March of 2018, police responded to a human trafficking complaint at a Travelodge in Iowa City, Iowa. There they found a man and a 17-year-old girl, who reported that he had been forcing her into commercial sex and keeping the money for the past two months. Further investigation also revealed a second victim, and four other alleged traffickers.
  • In July of 2019, a man barricaded himself in a Travelodge room in Williamsburg, Virginia, after two women accused him of abducting, assaulting, and trafficking them. Police were ultimately able to arrest him following a three-hour standoff.
  • In November of 2020, the manager of a Travelodge in Colorado Springs, Colorado, along with one employee and one resident of the same motel, were all arrested and charged with human trafficking.
  • In June of 2023, police rescued a missing 17-year-old girl and two adult women from an apparent sex trafficking situation at the Travelodge in College Park, the same Travelodge where the 2021 drive-by happened. No fewer than 12 men and 1 woman were ultimately charged with taking part in trafficking the three victims.

If you have been sexually exploited at a Travelodge, you are far from alone, and you have the right to sue anyone who knowingly enabled or profited from your ordeal.

What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed at a Travelodge

Regardless of how long ago you were harmed at a Travelodge, or what has happened since, it’s worth speaking with a lawyer about your options. It’s sometimes possible to file a lawsuit years after the incident itself, especially if you were underage at the time.

That said, if your incident was recent, the way you respond, and how quickly, can significantly affect your future, including your chances of collecting fair compensation.

Starting from the moment of the accident or violent incident, your best bet is to follow these steps as closely as you can:

  1. Protect yourself and your loved ones from further harm. This may mean running away from an assailant or removing yourself from a burning room.
  2. Preserve the evidence. Although protecting your physical safety takes precedence, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the scene of the incident if you can safely do so. You should also keep any booking confirmations, text messages, or other pieces of documentation that confirm the details of your stay or its consequences.
  3. Take care of your health. It can be scary to seek medical care when you haven’t received any compensation yet, but it’s important for multiple reasons. Getting immediate care can help identify serious hidden injuries and prevent minor injuries from worsening. From a legal perspective, timely medical records are also an essential part of your evidence collection.
  4. Report the incident. Notifying the Travelodge that you were injured on the property, and when, gives them a legal responsibility to preserve any evidence they have of what happened. If you were the victim of a crime, it’s also advisable to file a report with the police. However, you should not allow Travelodge to pressure you into giving a detailed statement or interview before you have legal representation.
  5. Find a Lawyer. Once you have someone qualified on your side, who can handle all further communications with the Travelodge and other involved parties for you, your pursuit of justice will become easier, less stressful, and much more likely to succeed.

The Stoddard Firm is highly qualified to handle lawsuits against Travelodge and similar businesses. We’re closely familiar with the franchise laws that protect hospitality giants like Wyndham, and we know how to recognize situations where these companies can be held accountable for what happens in the hotels bearing their brands. And in cases where Wyndham is immune to liability, we’re often able to help our clients recover significant compensation from a franchisee company or its insurance provider.

We’re experts on premises liability, personal injury, wrongful death, and sex trafficking law. We can help you establish exactly what happened to you, and what Wyndam or a specific Travelodge should have done differently. Not only that, but we’ll help you take a thorough accounting of how their failure has impacted your life, so that your settlement will be as complete as possible.

To get started discussing your case in a free consultation, reach out at 678-RESULTS, or through our online chat function.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Matt StoddardMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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