If I had my engagement ring stolen while staying in a hotel room, do I have a case against this hotel?

I returned to my room after work and my engagement ring was missing. It was hidden in my purse and nothing else of value was missing from the room. The only person who had access to the room was the housekeeper. I contacted the police and when they showed up the housekeeper tried to leave.My fiancee stopped her and questioned why she was leaving, and the manager said the housekeeper was going to lunch. She had been clocked in less than an hour. She was left alone while the officer took our statement, and when he searched her she did not have the ring. Can I get compensation?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A hotel is not responsible for the criminal actions of its employees unless you can show that the hotel was "at fault" in some way--e.g. that they knew employees stole but turned a blind eye.

You could sue the housekeeper, but without some evidence of her theft (i.e. a confession; finding the ring or other belongings of yours on her; etc.) it will be very difficult to prevail--you'd have to show that it's more likely than not that she stole, and since there are many other ways the ring could go missing (e.g. you lost it), that will be difficult without evidence.

This is what insurance is for--seeking compensation when it is difficult or impossible to hold another liable. You may be able to submit a claim under your homeowner's or renter's policy; check what your policy says.

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