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Have You Been Injured While Staying at an Airbnb or VRBO Vacation Rental?

| Category: Personal Injury | July 17, 2023

There is no argument that Airbnb and VRBO have revolutionized the vacation industry, much to the benefit of consumers. However, this new way of booking your lodging also presents some unique challenges in the event that something goes wrong. If you have been injured while staying at a VRBO or Airbnb property, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.  

Vacation Rentals and Premises Liability

All property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that the property is safe for guests and visitors. Business owners, however, are subject to a higher expectation of safety because they are inviting people onto the property for monetary gain. As a result, vacation property owners have the following obligations: 

  • They must routinely inspect the property for potential hazards; 
  • They must promptly take action to make repairs or otherwise resolve any potential hazards; 
  • If they are unable to make repairs, they must warn their guests of the potential hazard. 

The fact that the property owner did not know about a particular hazard does not mean that they are resolved of any potential liability. Instead, their liability will depend upon what they “should have known” – that is, hazards that would have been obvious had they conducted a reasonable inspection of the property. 

While repairing or otherwise remedying the hazard is ideal, the law recognizes that this is not always feasible. The property owner may not be able to get someone on the property who can make the repairs right away, or it may take a while to get the necessary materials. In other cases, the cost of repair may be burdensome. In those situations, the property owner may be relieved of their responsibility for making immediate repairs but must post a sign or take other steps to warn guests of the potential hazard. 

All of this can be quite challenging in the context of short-term vacation rentals. There may be very little turnover time between guests, and owners may need to rely upon inspections made by cleaning staff or make a concerted effort to inspect the property in the little time available. Furthermore, many rental owners get into this business without considering the amount of time and effort involved and quickly find themselves in over their heads.  

Challenges aside, the bottom line is that you paid good money to rent the property. If you suffered a serious injury due to a hazard arising from the property owner’s negligence, you may have a claim for compensation. A personal injury lawyer with experience in handling premises liability claims can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Types of Injuries That May Trigger Liability at a Vacation Rental

Vacation rental owners who are careless with regard to maintaining the property can be held liable when it gives rise to an injury. Some of the types of injuries that can trigger a vacation rental owner’s liability include the following: 

  • Slip and fall accidents when a guest slips, trips, or falls due to a hazardous condition. Common examples include torn carpeting, broken or loose handrails and stairs, or water leaks that can lead to wet floors. 
  • Injuries caused by hazardous conditions such as burns or electrocutions. If the owner knew or should have known of the hazard and the injury was reasonably foreseeable, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur. 
  • Injuries that arise due to negligent security. For example, the rental owner may be held liable if the locks on the property were broken or did not have adequate security lighting. 

These are just some of the more common examples of how guests may be injured while staying at a vacation rental. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have a claim.    

 The Question of Insurance

In most personal injury cases, you are relying upon the at-fault party’s insurance carrier to pay your claim. If you were injured on private property or a retail business property, the property owner’s general liability policy would likely cover your claim. With an Airbnb or VRBO property, the matter is more complicated. 

Most homeowners’ policies do not provide coverage if the owner is using the property for a commercial purpose. Early on in the history of Airbnb and VRBO, many homeowners were therefore unpleasantly surprised to learn that they had no insurance coverage available when faced with an accident claim. Since that time, both Airbnb and VRBO provide insurance coverage of up to $1 million per incident. However, they often consider themselves to be excess coverage to be applied once the homeowners’ coverage is exhausted. As a result, the claims process can be more complicated as a result of these insurance questions. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate these issues so that you can get your compensation as quickly as possible.  

Injured While Staying at a Vacation Rental? Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Thomas E. Pyles

Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. To discuss your case and whether you have a claim, contact us today by calling 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation.