When you are renting an Airbnb or Vrbo property, you never quite know that the host is someone who you should trust. Airbnb claims to perform a limited check on hosts that includes “certain databases of public state and county criminal records as well as state and national sex offender registries.”
Unfortunately, you may pay the price when Airbnb is either careless or cuts corners. You may be able to hold Airbnb or Vrbo themselves accountable when you have been sexually assaulted by a host. Call the Airbnb and Vrbo injury attorneys at Horton & Mendez to discuss your case and learn whether you have a claim.
Airbnb and Vrbo Sexual Assaults
There are estimates that Airbnb customers book roughly 200 million nights per year at host properties. The company estimates that there are “only” safety issues involved in roughly 200,000 customer nights.
Still, that means that one in every thousand stays or nights involves some type of safety issue. Some of these issues involve injuries from falls, and you can file a claim against the property owner for negligence.
Others involve safety issues from assault, whether it is at the hands of the host or others in the area, and you may possibly be able to file a claim against Vrbo or Airbnb.
There have been instances in the past in which guests have been assaulted or preyed upon by Airbnb hosts. In 2017, a woman settled her claim against Airbnb for $7 million after she was raped at knifepoint by a man who had duplicate keys to the apartment. The media reports indicate that Airbnb was more concerned about keeping its own name out of the news. In 2015, a male traveler was sexually assaulted by his host, who locked him inside the apartment.
Airbnb Does Not Want Reports of Sexual Assaults in the News
There is a reason why you will not find many public reports of Airbnb sexual assaults. Airbnb does not want you to know the scope and extent of the sexual assault problem at their properties.
There are media reports that the company faces thousands of sexual assault claims each year. Airbnb has its own dedicated division that investigates sexual assault complaints and tries to protect the company at all costs.
Previously, Airbnb made confidentiality a condition of sexual assault settlements. The company paid millions of dollars to victims on condition that they not publicly speak about the assault and Airbnb’s role.
The company has been able to keep the extent of the sexual assault issue from the public eye through the use of nondisclosure agreements that it included in each settlement. Now, Airbnb claims that it does not keep sexual assault victims from discussing what happened to them.
The Public Is Now Learning of the Extent of the Sexual Assault Problem
What has really occurred is that local regulation and public outcry against so-called “platform companies” like Uber and Airbnb have forced them into transparency. The public’s right to know and bad public relations has now kept these companies from preventing you from finding out what has happened to others who used their services.
Unlike other types of injuries, you may actually be able to file a claim against Airbnb itself for sexual assault. The company has the obligation to properly vet its hosts as part of their duty of care they owe to you.
You Must Arbitrate Any Disputes with Airbnb
Airbnb protects itself by inserting a mandatory arbitration clause in each rental agreement. If renters or hosts have any claims against the company, they must take the case to arbitration, as opposed to suing in court.
Mandatory arbitration clauses have been upheld by the highest courts. The courts do not play a role in determining whether cases can be arbitrated. The Airbnb agreement is written in such a way that courts play no role in these cases whatsoever.
Still, you could successfully obtain compensation in an arbitration claim. Airbnb could settle your claim before it reaches arbitration. The company may realize that it has large liability and may negotiate a settlement, as has happened in many cases.
Damages in an Airbnb or Vrbo Sexual Assault Case
In an Airbnb sexual assault case, you may be entitled to the following in damages:
- Medical bills to treat your injuries and lasting trauma
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
There is even a chance that you may be able to win punitive damages in a claim against Airbnb, which is one reason why they may be willing to negotiate a settlement.
Hire an Attorney to Help You Obtain Financial Compensation for a Sexual Assault
Even though arbitration is less formal than the lawsuit process, you still need an attorney to put yourself in the strongest possible legal position. Your attorney can gather evidence and file your claim with the arbitrator. They also can estimate the value of your damages, so you know how much money to seek.
Since Airbnb has an entire unit that is dedicated to protecting the company, it would also follow that they are trying to minimize their legal exposure and the amount that they would pay you.
An experienced Airbnb injury attorney at our firm can negotiate compensation or present your claim to the arbitrator. You can and should make the company pay when their negligence is what led to your injuries from being sexually assaulted.
Contact a Wilmington Airbnb Injury Attorney Today
If you have suffered any type of injury at an Airbnb property, you may be entitled to financial compensation. After experiencing a sexual assault at a vacation rental, contact the attorneys at Horton & Mendez online or call us today at 910-405-7751 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
You owe us nothing unless you receive financial compensation in your case.