Who is Liable if You Are Injured at an AirbnB?
April 3rd, 2023
Many people choose to stay in Airbnb rentals when they go on vacation. Airbnb is an online platform that allows people to rent out their homes to parties who seek accommodation in a specific location. However, Airbnb does not own the properties that appear on its platform — it merely serves as an intermediary between property owners and people who are looking for a place to stay. If you are considering staying in an Airbnb, it’s important to understand who is liable in the event an accident occurs on the property.
What is an Airbnb Host’s Legal Duty?
Like any other property owner, an Airbnb host has a legal obligation to ensure their premises are kept in a safe condition for guests. When a property owner fails to take measures to keep their premises free from hazards, they may be held liable in the event an injury occurs as a result. Not only must an Airbnb host inspect the property for dangers, but they must also promptly repair any defects that could cause harm to a guest. An Airbnb host can be held liable if they knew — or should have known — about a dangerous condition on their property and failed to correct it or warn about it.
Airbnb accidents can arise due to a wide variety of dangerous conditions, including the following:
- A slippery floor that causes a slip and fall accident
- Defective flooring that leads to a trip and fall
- Loose carpeting that gives rise to a slip and fall
- Electrical issues causing shock or burn injuries
- Ceiling collapse injuries
- Injuries caused by a deck or balcony collapse
- Trip and falls caused by poorly lit walkways
- Loose steps or railing that cause staircase injuries
If you have suffered an injury at an Airbnb, it is essential to seek medical help immediately. This is crucial for your health, as well as for any claim you might file to recover compensation for your injuries. You should also take photos or video of the condition that caused your injury and obtain the contact information for any witnesses who may have observed the accident as it happened.
Who Can You Sue for Airbnb Accidents?
While guests in hotels know that the corporation that owns it can be held accountable for unsafe conditions, liability is more complicated when it comes to Airbnb arrangements. Airbnb only facilitates rental agreements between the property owner and the guest. The company does not own the properties or perform inspections of them. The company is also not responsible for the maintenance of the homes on the platform. These factors can make suing for Airbnb accidents very challenging.
If you can establish the property owner’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim against them for your injuries. If you can show the Airbnb host was negligent in how they maintained the property — and their carelessness caused your injury — you may be able to recover your damages. In addition, there may be other potentially liable parties based on the facts surrounding the accident. For example, if the Airbnb was in an apartment, you might be able to commence a claim against the building owner. You might even be eligible to make a claim against the tenant of the apartment if the unit owner had no idea their property was being rented out as an Airbnb.
Airbnb provides Host Protection Insurance to all approved hosts up to one million dollars. It is important to understand that Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance is secondary and typically only applicable after the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy has been depleted. Although many homeowner’s policies do not apply to rental properties, an injured Airbnb guest may still have options to recover compensation. Critically, if there is a reason the host’s own policy or their Airbnb Host Protection Insurance would not apply or be invalidated, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the property owner in court.
Filing a Lawsuit for an Airbnb Accident
If your injuries are severe, your damages may exceed the threshold of any applicable insurance policy. For instance, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, nerve damage, fractures, and disfigurement can all require considerable medical treatment, physical rehabilitation, and surgery. You might also lose time from work or be unable to be employed at all. By pursuing a lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages beyond what insurance would provide — in addition to compensation for the non-economic damages you experienced in connection with your injuries.
Under Washington law, recoverable economic damages for an Airbnb accident can include monetary recovery for your unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs incurred in connection with the accident, lost wages, and future loss of earnings. Non-economic damages may also be awarded. This category of damages is meant to compensate an accident victim for losses including the physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life they suffered.
Contact an Experienced Washington Premises Liability Attorney
If you were hurt while staying at an Airbnb, it is essential to understand your legal rights and options to pursue compensation. The Bellingham premises liability attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide reliable representation to Airbnb accident victims throughout Washington State and work diligently to secure the best possible results in each case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.