Friday, December 8, 2023

What to do if you are injured in an Airbnb while on vacation


Airbnb is a popular mobile app and website that connects people who are looking for short-term lodging other than hotels or motels with property owners who rent out their properties. Airbnb was established in 2007 in San Francisco and is now publicly traded on NASDAQ. During the first quarter of 2021, the company reported revenues of $886.9 million, demonstrating the continuing strength and popularity of its service.[1] While the majority of people who use Airbnb enjoy their experiences while traveling and staying in the properties, the reservations can go wrong for some people. When people are injured in accidents while staying in an Airbnb, they might be entitled to pursue compensation from the property owners and the company.

Types of Airbnb accidents

When people are injured while staying in Airbnb properties, they might be able to recover compensation by filing bodily injury claims against the property owners. There are also certain situations in which a guest might file a claim against the property owner for property damage.

Some of the types of injuries that can occur in an Airbnb rental include the following:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations

While injuries that happen in Airbnb rentals are rare, they can result in serious complications or death, depending on their severity.

Airbnb injuries can result from many different hazards on the property. People might slip and fall or be injured in a partial collapse of a staircase or roof. They can also suffer injuries because of dangerous microorganisms, bedbugs, or carbon monoxide. Some people staying in Airbnb rentals might also be the victims of intentional violence.

Most Airbnb injury claims involve premises liability law. This type of personal injury law is based on the principle that property owners owe a legal duty of care to people who are lawfully present on their property to correct hazards they know or should know about and protect guests from injury. Airbnb guests are considered to be invitees under the law, which means the property owners owe them a high duty of protection.

Owners are not liable for every injury that might happen to a guest staying in the Airbnb rental. However, if the property owner knew about a hazardous condition without repairing it or created the condition, he or she may be liable to pay compensation to the injured victim. Other hazards that might be caused by the negligence of the property owner could also result in property damage. For example, if a property owner negligently fails to install smoke detectors and a fire breaks out, the guest might be able to recover compensation for both his or her injuries and damage to his or her personal property, including luggage, jewelry, clothing, and others.

What guests should do when they are injured in Airbnb accidents

If you have been injured in an accident in an Airbnb rental property during a vacation in California or elsewhere in the U.S., the first thing you should do is to go to the hospital for treatment. Getting prompt medical attention is critical for your recovery and also provides crucial evidence for your legal claim. Getting medical treatment immediately after your Airbnb accident can help you to prove that your injuries occurred during your stay and not from another event or incident. Without medical evidence to prove your injuries, your claim will likely be denied.

After you have received medical treatment for your injuries, you will need to gather evidence and document the scene. Take photos of where your accident occurred and your injuries. Make sure to take photos of the dangerous condition that caused your accident and injuries. Your photographs should be taken from several angles, and it is best to take numerous pictures. Preserve the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of your accident by storing them in a sealed bag. Do not wash your clothing or mend any tears.

If anyone else witnessed what happened, make sure to write down their names and contact information, including their phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses. This can help your attorney to find and interview the witnesses about what happened.

As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about your accident. Documenting what happened soon after your accident can help you to recall details you might otherwise forget as time passes. You should also keep a pain journal to document how your injuries impact your daily life.

Finally, you will want to file a claim with Airbnb. You can report what happened to the company by going to the profile tab on your Airbnb app. Then, click on the help & support button and tap on the contact Airbnb button to report the accident and your injuries.[2] Beyond reporting your accident and injuries to Airbnb, you should not make any statements to the Airbnb host or the property owner. You should instead retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced with handling Airbnb claims. This can help you to avoid making statements that could harm your claim. Your attorney can also help you to navigate the insurance provided to hosts by Airbnb.

Airbnb’s host protection insurance

Airbnb carries host protection insurance to protect Airbnb property owners from negligence claims.[3] This insurance includes coverage for bodily injury and property damage with a policy limit of up to $1 million. Property owners who list rental properties on Airbnb are automatically covered by host protection insurance. The insurance is also primary coverage, meaning that injured victims do not have to exhaust other available policies before Airbnb’s insurance will be available.

Airbnb’s host protection insurance has several exceptions, including the following:

  • Injuries or damage from intentional acts
  • Income losses
  • Theft
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Car accidents
  • Defamation
  • Defective products
  • Bed bugs, pollution, bacteria, or mold
  • Natural disasters

However, injuries from some of these types of incidents might be covered under the property owner’s homeowners insurance policy.

Airbnb’s host protection insurance provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage suffered by guests. It also provides coverage for hosts for damage to common areas in buildings caused by guests.

Why you should hire a lawyer after an Airbnb injury accident while on vacation

If you try to file a claim with Airbnb and negotiate on your own, you are much less likely to recover compensation for your losses than if you work with an experienced attorney. The goal of the insurance adjusters with Airbnb is to find ways that they can deny your claim or reduce how much money the company might have to pay you.

An attorney who is experienced in handling Airbnb injury claims might anticipate the different arguments the defense lawyers and insurance adjusters might raise and gather evidence to counter them.[4] When you retain a lawyer, you will be on more equal footing with Airbnb. Your attorney can also handle all of the negotiations and communications with the insurance company and the defense lawyers for you. This can help you to avoid making mistakes that could potentially harm your ability to recover compensation for your losses while also allowing you to concentrate on recovering from your injuries. The attorneys at the Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers, APC have helped many people with Airbnb injury claims and work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay your lawyer’s attorney fees unless your lawyer recovers compensation for you through a settlement or a verdict award.