Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who wish to rent out their properties with individuals who are looking for accommodations in specific locations. Airbnb offers people a relatively simple way to earn some income from their property. Guests sometimes prefer an Airbnb to a hotel because it has more character, comes equipped with a kitchen and is typically roomier. Airbnb makes most of its revenue by charging a service fee for each booking.
While Florida had the highest number of Airbnb listings in 2021, California is a close second with 329,283 listings on average during the same year. California is home to a number of significant short-term rental markets including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Napa Valley.
However, as with any rental property, there is the potential for guests suffering injuries in falls and other accidents, particularly if the property is not properly maintained and kept fee of hazards. This is what might be referred to some as a premises liability. If you have been injured while renting an Airbnb property, you may be wondering what your rights are and if you could hold the property owner or Airbnb liable for your medical expenses and other losses. In such cases, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles premises liability accident lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
Basics of California Premises Liability Law
California premises liability law requires property owners to take reasonable steps to ensure that their grounds are safe for visitors. If there is a danger on the property about which the landlord or property manager knew or should have known that leads to an injury, the property owner and other parties could be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused.
Guests could suffer a wide variety of injuries as a result of accidents that occur at Airbnb properties including:
- Slipping and falling on a slick floor
- Falling down a stairway that has broken stairs
- Tripping and falling in an area of the property that is not properly lit
- Slipping on loose area rugs, tiles or cobble stones
- Tripping over holes
- Malfunctioning equipment or appliances at the rental
- Assault or robbery because of inadequate security.
Can Airbnb Be Held Liable for Your Injuries?
You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has passed, but you may not necessarily succeed with your claim. This is because defendants in your case will typically use the argument that the statute of limitations has expired to get your case dismissed.
The statute of limitations also applies to injury settlements. California law prohibits individuals from seeking damages after the two-year deadline has passed. You also lose your leverage if you let the statute of limitations expire because the defendant won't feel any type of pressure to settle with you.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
If you are injured during your stay at an Airbnb, you may have a challenge filing a claim against an Airbnb host. Ideally, you would let your host know about your damages and they would pay you. However, there are a number of factors that could complicate situations between renters and Airbnb hosts. In such cases, you can claim compensation through Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance. If you have been injured during your stay as a result of the property owner's negligence, the insurance company could pay up to $1 million to the injured person. A legal claim can be filed against both Airbnb (the company) and the host if Airbnb does not honor their insurance policy.
Are Airbnb Hosts Liable for Injuries?
Airbnb offers host liability insurance with every booking. The company provides hosts up to $1 million in coverage for injuries sustained by guests or for property damage or theft. Airbnb Host Liability Insurance or HLI covers residential or other property that is owned or controlled by a host, listed on the Airbnb platform and booked using the company's platform. Accommodations could include a host of properties from mobile homes, buses and boats to tree houses and yurts.
The coverage provides up to $1 million for each incident with a total limit of $1 million available per host property for the life of the policy. For example, if several people were injured in an incident such as a roof or deck collapse, the $1 million for the incident would be divided among the victims, should it be paid out. The total amount available might be less than $1 million if there have already been one or more claims that resulted in payouts on that year's policy.
However, if you did not go through Airbnb's platform to book the rental, then the company's HLI would not apply. Property owners who rent out their home for vacation or short-term rentals may have a separate policy to provide liability protection against claims brought by renters. This is separate from Airbnb coverage. An experienced California Airbnb injury lawyer can help you determine all avenues of compensation in the aftermath of your Airbnb injuries.
Homeowners Insurance and Airbnb Injuries
When a home is used for a commercial or business purpose, homeowners' insurance policies typically don't cover injuries or damages. Property owners must contact their insurance agent to have this exclusion modified prior to renting out their property. Airbnb will provide insurance up to $1 million if the property owner does not have enough coverage. However, if a guest were to sustain major injuries or a lifetime disability, this amount may not be adequate to cover their medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.
Does Airbnb Cover If Someone Gets Hurt?
You may be eligible to recover monetary compensation if you were injured while staying at an Airbnb. The compensation you recover may include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and emotional distress. How much compensation would you be able to receive? The specific amount of compensation will always depend on the facts and circumstances of your claim, the nature and extent of the injuries you suffered, whether they are permanent injuries and if they affected other aspects of your life. Our experienced Los Angeles Airbnb lawyers are ready to fight for your rights. Call us to find out the amount of compensation you may be able to receive for your injuries and losses.
Airbnb's Host Liability Insurance Coverage
Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance is designed to protect Airbnb hosts against third party liability claims. These include bodily injury claims, filed by guests against hosts as well as property damage claims, which landlords may file against hosts. The policy covers claims of up to $1 million. Host Protection Insurance applies to any hosts who list their property with Airbnb. Because it also provides primary protection, you do not have to exhaust other insurance policies first. There are a few exceptions to Host Protection Insurance. For example, it only covers the building and not damage to any property inside the building such as furniture.
Could Airbnb Be Held Liable for Guest Injuries?
It is important to remember that Airbnb is a broker who does not own or manage the properties rented out under its name. In other words Airbnb is an online platform that enables these transactions to take place. Holding Airbnb liable for an injury on a rental property would require plaintiffs to show evidence that Airbnb had a direct role in your injury.
For example, you must be able to show that there had been a series of accidents or injuries at the particular rental because of the property owner's or property manager's negligence. Therefore, such evidence should help show that Airbnb knew or should have known that this property owner's negligence routinely puts guests in danger.
Types of Airbnb Accidents
Common Airbnb accidents could be divided into the following two types:
Personal injury: Any type of physical or bodily injury to a person – whether it is relatively mild or severe – that occurs in an Airbnb property could lead to a personal injury claim. These types of injury claims are filed by Airbnb guests against the hosts or landlords. In some cases, these types of claims could also be filed against Airbnb particularly if the company had knowledge of the dangers posed by the property in question.
Property damage: This might involve property in an Airbnb listing being destroyed, lost, stolen or damaged. These types of claims are typically filed by hosts against guests. However, there may be situations in which a guest could file such a claim against a host.
Injuries in Airbnb listings can include cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, head injuries, fractures, etc. Injuries suffered in Airbnb listings could also lead to death in some cases or lifelong disabilities. Injuries may be caused by various factors including slip-and-fall accidents, roof collapse, stairway or balcony collapse. Sometimes, injuries and fatalities could also occur as a result of sexual assault or acts of violence that occur due to lack of security.
Most of these claims could be covered under premises liability law, which is based on the principle that property owners have a duty of care to their guests by maintaining the property in a safe manner. Under the law, Airbnb guests are considered “invitees,” which means they have a high degree of legal protection.
How Do I File an Injury Claim with Airbnb?
Liability can be an extremely complicated question if you've suffered an injury while staying at an Airbnb listing. This is because a number of parties may be involved including the landlord, host, etc. If you have been injured in an Airbnb, the first step is to contact Airbnb to submit an incident report. Report the date, time and what happened in detail. Never admit fault for your injuries.
Airbnb offers $1 million in insurance for injury claims from guests. The company may offer a settlement for your damages. However, if they offer a low settlement or denies your claim, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. An experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
Getting Help After an Airbnb Injury Accident
Airbnb or its insurance company could refuse to pay just compensation in your case. The experienced Airbnb injury attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group Personal Injury Attorneys can help investigate your specific incident and help you collect and compile crucial evidence that could help you prove negligence and damages. We will help you calculate all your damages.
If necessary, we can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. With us, you will have skilled negotiators and experienced trial attorneys on your side who are ready to take all the steps necessary to help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. Call us today to schedule a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.