Staying in an Airbnb can be an exciting and affordable way to travel and experience the world. But what happens if you get injured during your stay at an Airbnb? Can you sue the Airbnb host? What about the Airbnb company itself? What if the host claims you are responsible for your injury?
Our experienced vacation rental injury attorneys in Wilmington, North Carolina explain your options. We will explain when an Airbnb host may be liable for injuries, applicable insurance coverage, whether Airbnb can be sued, evidence needed, and why legal representation is important. Let us help you take the worry out of travel and short-term stays.
When Can an Airbnb Host Be Liable for Guest Injuries?
Under North Carolina premises liability laws, property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. If your host fails to address hazards like loose railings, uneven steps, or slippery floors, you can sue the Airbnb host, and they can be held responsible for any injuries that occur.
Hosts also have a duty to warn guests of hidden dangers they are unaware of.
Some examples of common Airbnb injuries include:
- Falling down unsafe stairs or attic ladders
- Slipping in a wet bathroom
- Getting burned by faulty electrical wiring
- Drowning in a pool without proper barriers
- Being bitten or knocked down by a stray dog
If you suffer any injury due to an unreasonably dangerous condition at an Airbnb rental, the host may be liable. This is true regardless of whether the host lives on the property or not.
What Liability Insurance Coverage Exists for Airbnb Hosts?
Airbnb provides two types of insurance coverage for hosts:
- Host liability insurance up to $1 million covers injuries to guests that occur due to the host’s negligence.
- Host protection insurance of up to $1 million covers damages to the property itself, like from theft or vandalism.
However, there are exceptions. For example, host liability insurance will not apply if a guest gets injured doing something prohibited in the House Rules, like smoking indoors. The insurance also won’t cover pre-existing conditions on the property.
These liability limits may not be enough to fully compensate guests who suffer severe injuries like traumatic brain damage. This makes suing the host directly an important option.
Is Suing Airbnb as a Company Possible?
In some cases, it may also be possible to sue Airbnb as a company and hold them liable for injuries that occur at a listing. This is most likely when:
- Airbnb failed to properly screen a host with prior complaints or violations.
- Airbnb allowed a listing with clearly unsafe conditions to remain on their site.
- The host’s insurance denial was improper, and the company should still bear responsibility.
However, Airbnb requires all users to consent to arbitration when opening an account. This means you waive your right to join others in a class action lawsuit against the company.
Arbitration may still be an option to recover compensation from Airbnb, but the process tends to favor businesses rather than individual consumers. Speaking with an attorney can help determine if arbitration or suing the host directly has the greater chance of success.
What Evidence Is Needed in an Airbnb Injury Lawsuit?
An Airbnb injury claim requires reliable evidence to prove liability and damages. It’s important to:
- Take photos of the hazardous conditions that caused injury, like uneven steps or low ceilings. Measure the exact height if applicable.
- Save all communications with the host related to the injury, their response, and any medical assistance they may have provided.
- Get complete medical records documenting the diagnosis, treatment costs, prognosis, and duration of recovery time.
- Keep records of all related expenses like medical bills, lost income, and travel costs for treatment.
- Obtain police reports if they responded and investigated the incident. Their observations will be unbiased.
Thorough evidence ensures full compensation and strengthens your negotiating position with the host’s insurance company.
Why Is Hiring an Attorney Crucial for These Lawsuits?
Dealing with property owners and their insurance carriers calls for effective legal representation. Our attorneys know how to secure all the necessary evidence and prove the host breached their duty of care. We negotiate directly with insurers to obtain appropriate settlements. If they are unreasonable, we won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit to hold negligent hosts fully accountable.
With one of our attorneys handling your Airbnb injury claim, you can focus on healing while we fight to maximize your recovery. Relying on our expertise significantly increases the compensation you’re likely to obtain. We level the playing field against hosts and insurance companies, aiming to minimize their costs.
Contact Our Premises Liability Lawyers in Wilmington, North Carolina
If you suffered any type of injury as a guest at an Airbnb or other short-term rental property, we can advise you of all available options during a free case review. Call Horton & Mendez at 910-405-7751 or contact us online to get started. Our experienced legal team serves injured victims in Wilmington and all neighboring areas.
FAQs About Airbnb Injury Lawsuits
Should I report my injury to Airbnb?
Yes, you should inform Airbnb of any injury that occurs during your stay so that it is properly documented. However, avoid providing too many details or assigning clear blame until speaking to a lawyer.
Can I still recover damages if partly at fault for my Airbnb accident?
Yes, North Carolina uses a form of comparative negligence, so you can still recover damages even if partially at fault. An attorney can fight any allegations of negligence made against you by the host.
How long do I have to sue an Airbnb Host in North Carolina?
North Carolina law gives you three years from the date of injury to take legal action in a personal injury case. It’s important to contact a lawyer right away as investigations take time and you don’t want to run out of time.