If someone else has assaulted you at a short-term rental property, Airbnb and Vrbo may not be able to fully escape the consequences. However, these companies are not looking out for you, nor do they necessarily feel any obligation to do the right thing.
When you’re physically assaulted at an Airbnb or Vrbo property, the only way to protect your own legal right to financial compensation is by calling an attorney who will be there to fight for you. Reach out to the vacation rental injury attorneys at Horton & Mendez today to discuss your case.
Legal Rules When Suing Airbnb and Vrbo
The usual rule is that you are not able to sue Airbnb and Vrbo for assaults that occurred on their properties. These companies act like middlemen, charging a fee for linking renters and property owners through their technology platforms.
Because of the nature of the role that Airbnb and Vrbo play, they claim that they have no direct relationship with you. Nonetheless, there are limits to these companies’ efforts to escape accountability for any harm that befalls you when you are at one of their properties. You can seek financial compensation from the companies when you have been assaulted during a stay. To learn more about your legal rights, get in touch with Horton & Mendez.
Physical Assaults on Short-Term Rental Properties
There have been numerous instances of physical injuries and attacks inflicted upon guests at Vrbo and Airbnb properties, including:
- A man and his fiancée were brutally beaten at an Airbnb in Punta Cana by four assailants
- In 2017, a woman sued Airbnb, claiming that she was sexually assaulted by a host because the company missed a prior sex crime conviction on his background check.
- In 2019, a 55-year old woman filed a lawsuit against Airbnb after she was raped at a property in Mexico.
What to Do When Assaulted on an Airbnb Property
If you have experienced any type of incident at an Airbnb property, you should do the following:
- Report the incident to law enforcement.
- Report the incident to Airbnb.
- Retain any documentation that could prove what happened.
While you need to keep Airbnb in the loop, you also need to be wary of them.
You have to understand the motivation at play for them. Airbnb is there to try to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your stay and make any issues go away. They may even tell you that the situation is not so bad and that you should remain in place.
Alternatively, Airbnb’s team may do whatever is necessary to keep you from suing them. They employ agents whose job it is to protect the company at all costs. While you must deal with Airbnb, you also have to be aware that their staff members are taking notes that they may use against you. Above all else, Airbnb wants to protect the company and the large profits that it earns each year.
You May Be Able to Sue Airbnb Themselves
Stays at short-term rental properties are covered by premises liability law.
There is someone who owes you a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. For example, if you have been injured in a slip and fall case, you can take legal action against someone to be paid for the harm that you have suffered. In most cases, that person is the owner of the property.
Under the law, Airbnb and Vrbo do not always owe you a duty of care directly that can make them liable to you. The same rules apply to many similar types of cases. Like with car accidents, it is very difficult to sue Uber and Lyft in personal injury lawsuits because they claim to play the same exact role of middlemen.
However, there are limits to this approach, and Airbnb and Vrbo’s ability to protect themselves from every possible lawsuit. These companies cannot get away without disclaiming every possible obligation that they would owe you.
Where the line is drawn is if you have been assaulted at one of their properties. Then, you may be able to file a lawsuit against these companies.
While Airbnb can manage to push off some liability to its hosts, it cannot escape the fact that they must screen the hosts. They also cannot shrug off your physical safety when you are at a property.
Damages in an Airbnb Lawsuit
You may be able to sue Airbnb when you are physically assaulted at one of their properties. Airbnb has an entire unit of the company that is devoted to protecting it from liability and its reputation from harm. Airbnb does everything that it can to keep what happens to guests out of the public eye. For years, they tried to force assault victims to arbitrate claims in private, in part to keep them out of the public eye.
If you can prove that Airbnb failed in its duty to protect you and ensure your safety, you may be entitled to the following in compensation:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages for time that you missed from work because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering, for your ordeal
- Emotional distress
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Scarring and disfigurement
Depending on the circumstances, you may even be able to obtain punitive damages from Airbnb. However, you can expect that the company will defend itself however it can.
Contact Horton & Mendez for Help with Airbnb Assault Cases
If you or a loved one have been injured in an assault at an Airbnb or Vrbo, the vacation rental injury attorneys at Horton & Mendez can go to work for you.
These companies do everything that they can to avoid responsibility, so you need an experienced lawyer to meet them head-on in a legal case.