More Americans than ever are gearing up to go on vacation this year, according to the U.S. U.S. Travel Association. If you’re planning a vacation this year, you’ve probably considered booking your lodgings through Airbnb, Vrbo, or another vacation rental service instead of a hotel.
While these services are often less expensive and more flexible than hotels, they have some downsides. For example, a vacation rental is often more dangerous than a standard hotel. If you’ve stayed at one in the past, you may have already been injured.
If so, you may have grounds to pursue compensation for your injuries. While personal injury claims at Airbnb or Vrbo can be complex, there is a growing body of precedent for how these services need to protect guests from negligent hosts. Here’s how these services may put you at risk, the types of injuries you could suffer, and what you can do to hold hosts accountable for your losses.
Risks of Airbnb and Vrbo Rentals
Part of the appeal of vacation rental platforms is that they allow travelers to stay in truly unique accommodations. No two Airbnb or Vrbo listings are the same. On average, every host on these platforms has two or fewer listings, which means every stay is unique.
That’s also the biggest problem with these services. There is no top-down guidance to keep people safe. The biggest risks posed by vacation rentals include:
- Lack of safety regulations: Hotels are held to strict cleanliness and safety standards. Most states and municipalities require them to take extra precautions to ensure guests are safe when on the premises. That’s not the case for vacation rental hosts, who are often amateurs who rent out properties when they’re on vacation themselves or want a little extra income from their spare bedroom. You’re much more likely to find stairs without safety railings, windows without screens, and slippery floors at a rental than at a hotel.
- Lack of standardization: Every host has their own idea of what’s appropriate or necessary for a stay. There is no wide-scale standardization about how or whether hosts should notify guests about environmental hazards, extreme weather, or allergens. You simply can’t know what to expect at an Airbnb listing before you arrive.
- Insufficient maintenance: Without standardization or safety regulations, it’s far less likely that vacation rentals will receive appropriate maintenance. A host may not bother to fix issues like uneven floors, missing lightbulbs, or dangerous stairs because they don’t mind the problem.
The combination of poor maintenance, lack of standardization, and minimal safety regulations make booking through these services a risk, even if the pictures look beautiful online.
Most Common Accidents at Vacation Rentals
If you’ve already been hurt at a vacation rental, you may have experienced one of the following accidents:
- Falling on slippery or uneven walkways
- Tripping on stairs without hand railings or poor lighting
- Falling off or through a poorly maintained deck or balcony
- Getting burned or electrocuted because of incorrectly installed fixtures
- Suffering allergic reactions or poisonings due to mold, carbon monoxide, radon, smoke, pollution, or other toxins
Incidents like these can lead to both short- and long-term health consequences. The most common injuries and their effects include:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries: Any time you hit your head hard enough, you could face lifelong consequences, including vertigo, nausea, difficulty controlling your emotions, and cognitive impairments.
- Broken bones: Even the simplest broken bone can take weeks or months to heal. Bad breaks caused by serious falls can lead to permanent disabilities and impaired motion.
- Sprains and strains: A sprained joint can lead to ongoing issues with dislocations and reduce your ability to perform daily tasks for months or years.
- Seizures: If a toxin or flashing light causes a seizure, you could experience serious brain damage.
- Burns: Severe temperature, chemical, and electrical burns can all cause long-lasting pain. Third-degree burns may require skin grafts, surgery, and painful rehabilitation, and victims may never fully recover.
Can You Sue a Vrbo or Airbnb Host?
If any problems above sound familiar, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against your Airbnb or Vrbo host. As a guest the host has welcomed onto their property, you are owed a duty of care to ensure you are not injured on the premises. If they are negligent in maintaining the property, they may be responsible for your injuries and losses under the theory of premises liability.
Typically, if you sue a property owner or manager for an injury, the insurance policy for the premises will cover your claim. However, many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies now include exclusions for vacation rental usage. Instead, Airbnb and Vrbo each provide their own liability policies for every listing on their platforms.
Under Airbnb Host Protection Insurance and Vrbo $1 Million Liability Insurance, hosts receive coverage for up to a million dollars in damages. This means that you don’t have to worry that your claim will go unfulfilled due to an insurance policy loophole.
Discuss Your Case With Vrbo and Airbnb Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers
An accident at a vacation rental can do more than ruin your vacation. It can cause lingering health issues that may last for years. If you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident at an Airbnb or Vrbo location, you can hold the host accountable for failing to maintain the property. The Ellis Firm, APLC, can help.Our San Diego slip and fall law firm specializes in helping accident victims seek compensation for their medical bills and other losses. We can help you determine whether you have a case, who may be liable, and what damages you may be eligible to receive. Learn more about how we can help you with your vacation rental injury claim by scheduling your consultation now.