Airbnb Nightmare: What to Do After an Unexpected Injury at an Airbnb
You and your family want to spend time away from home, whether it’s a weekend getaway, a family reunion, or a college weekend visit. You book a house on Airbnb, but when you arrive, it’s not at all what you expected. Instead, the quaint, historical old farmhouse you thought you were spending time in is actually a run-down, poorly cared-for old house. To make things worse, during your stay, one of your family members suffers a serious injury. Did you know that you have the right to receive compensation for those injuries?
In Ohio, if you’re injured on someone’s property due to the owner’s negligence, you may have a potential claim. Property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe and habitable property – this is referred to as premises liability. Premises liability also applies to an Airbnb. Since guests of an Airbnb are not typically familiar with the property, it’s even more important for Airbnb hosts to keep their home safe. The host is often absent and doesn’t familiarize the guest with the home and property.
The property owner is responsible for making reasonable repairs and keeping the home and property free of defects. A few examples of defects that could cause injury include slippery steps, stuck doors, poor lighting, roof and ceiling leaks, broken gutters and downspouts, and many others.
The property owner generally will have homeowners insurance covering any injuries suffered at the home caused by the owner’s negligence. This insurance is often not sufficient to fully compensate for injuries suffered. Moreover, homeowner’s insurance often excludes coverage for injury claims from third-party bookings.
Therefore, many hosts take advantage of the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance. This is a policy that the host can obtain through Airbnb for coverage up to $1 million. In addition, many homeowners contract with a house management company or have a caretaker handle the property. These other third parties and contractors have their own insurance to cover negligence.
ELK + ELK CASE EXAMPLE
I handled a case where a young woman suffered a severe traumatic brain injury while staying at an Airbnb with her family. The family found the home on the Airbnb website and reserved it through the website. The rental was a century-old farmhouse with stuck doors, poor lighting, and handrails to the basement.
Our client mistook the basement door for a bathroom door and pushed hard to open the stuck basement door. The door flew open inward, and she went down the basement steps, causing a severe brain injury. A lawsuit was filed against the homeowner and Airbnb. The case ultimately resolved to the client and her family’s satisfaction with contributions from the homeowner’s insurance and the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance.
Our client was trying to find the bathroom, when she mistakenly pushed open the stuck basement door. The door flew inward, causing our client to tumble head over foot down the basement steps, causing her to suffer from a severe brain injury. A lawsuit was filed against the homeowner and Airbnb. The case ultimately found the property owner negligent and resolved to the client and her family’s satisfaction with payment from the homeowner’s insurance and the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance.
When someone is severely injured, they face many problems, including life-changing physical and psychological injuries as well as significant economic and non-economic damages. Often, these damages far exceed the homeowner’s policy. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to retain an experienced law firm that understands all the potential sources of recovery and damages a severely injured individual will encounter.
Economic damages include:
- Past and future medical bills.
- Future care and treatment.
- Past and future lost wages.
- Loss of services.
A severely injured individual’s non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life.
- Psychological injury.
- Scarring and a host of other injuries.
If you, a family member, or a friend were injured while staying at an Airbnb, it is crucial to protect all your rights and contact a law firm like Elk + Elk. We understand the potential avenues for recovery and how to properly present all the injured person’s damages to the insurance companies. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO for a free case review.