Airbnb, HomeAway, and other house-sharing services can seem like a godsend to travelers. You get to enjoy all the amenities of home – and sometimes even a few extras – without the frustrations and interruptions that sometimes come with staying in a hotel. Even better, you tend to get more bang for your buck along with that more comfortable, relaxing atmosphere.
At least, that is the pitch. Unfortunately, it does not always reflect the reality. Hotels have a clear legal duty of care to keep their guests safe by maintaining the property, and by-and-large, most of them do this.
Rentals through house-sharing services such as Airbnb do not have the same kinds of standards. Since they are all owned by different people, they can vary widely in quality, so you are “rolling the dice” to a much higher degree.
Hotels are used to having to fix issues on a regular basis to avoid lawsuits, but an individual property owner new to house-sharing might not be. They could have numerous issues on their properties they simply have not gotten around to dealing with. This does not impact the owners. They know about the problem and can avoid it, but guests are not always so lucky.
People can be – and have been – hurt and even killed while staying at Airbnb rentals due to the property being poorly maintained. If this happens at a hotel, you know who to turn to for recourse: the hotel itself. Things are a bit more complicated where house-sharing services are concerned. Who is liable? The house-sharing service itself? The individual property owner?
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey have been working for decades to help people injured due to the negligence of others get the compensation they deserve. They have an incredible track record of success in premises liability cases, and they understand how to navigate the murky waters of Airbnb accidents to make sure you do not have to pay for the mistakes of others.
Many guests think that if they book a rental through Airbnb and they get hurt due to negligence, the house-sharing company will cover their damages. Sadly, this is not true.
Airbnb and similar companies are closer in what they do to listing sites, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Hotels.com. If you booked a hotel through one of those services and suffered an injury on a hotel elevator, chances are good that you would not try to sue them – you would file a lawsuit against the hotel itself.
Every property listed on Airbnb and other house-sharing sites is essentially a mini-hotel. In fact, Airbnb has specific language saying that they cannot be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on properties listed through their service. In some very rare cases, there may be ways around this, but generally speaking, you will have a tough time getting compensated by Airbnb.
So who do you hold liable?
Property owners. Most of the people who list properties on Airbnb and similar sites are the owners of those properties. That means that they are responsible for maintaining their properties and ensuring their safety. If they are neglectful in these duties and it leads to harm, they can be held directly accountable.
Lease holders. Sometimes, people who rent a property will post on house-sharing sites. Maybe they have an extra room and need help covering the rent. Or they will be leaving on vacation themselves and figure they might as well make money while they’re gone. If you are injured while staying there, you can file a lawsuit against them. Sadly, most renter’s insurance plans (if they even have one) will not cover this type of situation, so it is likely that you will have to go after the tenant directly.
Landlords. Another way to go if you are renting out a space from a tenant in an apartment complex and get injured is to turn to the landlord for compensation. While this is technically possible, these types of situations can become complicated fast because many apartments place restrictions on what is essentially subletting. If there is language in the tenant’s lease forbidding them from renting out their space, getting compensation from the landlord will be an uphill battle.
The bottom line is that the process is not going to be as simple as a big company with deep pockets cutting a check for you to avoid a long legal battle. The people you will need to sue to receive the compensation you deserve are not likely to have large cash reserves, so they will probably attempt to put up quite a fight against you.
To hold them accountable and get the money you need to get your life back on track, you will need someone in your corner who knows how to uncover the type of evidence needed to prove their negligence while minimizing your own level of fault. That’s something that the lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey have had a lot of success at over the years.
Rehashing the circumstances of your injury with an attorney is probably the last thing you want to be doing if you are still trying to recover, but it is a necessary step if you want to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Far too many people allow others to get away with negligence because the idea of going through a personal injury claim sounds too daunting, but they often end up regretting it later. Do not let this happen to you. Injuries that do not initially seem serious can sometimes linger – and even worsen – for years.
If another’s negligence caused you to get hurt at an Airbnb rental, you owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and others who could be harmed after you to shine a light on the issue, hold the responsible parties accountable, and get the compensation you need to return to your regular life.
Lawlor, White & Murphey can help you in your fight, but only if you get in contact. Set up a free consultation now by filling out our simple online contact form, emailing [email protected], or calling one of our two convenient numbers:
South Florida: 954-525-2345