What To Do if You’re Injured at a Vacation Rental

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Accidents occur in unfamiliar surroundings every day. Unfortunately, this is still true when people go on vacation, and the consequences can be devastating. However, someone injured on vacation while staying in a rental property might be able to recover compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional losses.

The first steps are understanding the laws that govern these cases and contacting an experienced vacation rental injury attorney.

Who Is Liable if You Are Injured on Vacation?

In North Carolina, premises liability and the Vacation Rental Act apply to cases involving someone injured at a vacation rental.

Premises liability in North Carolina

Property owners in Wilmington, North Carolina, owe a duty of care to anyone lawfully present on their land or in their homes. This means they are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe conditions. If you can prove the property owner violated their duty of care, resulting in an accident that caused your injuries, you likely have a claim.

For example, was there a foreseeable hazard that caused your accident? Did the property owner fail to address it? Did you experience financial losses, such as medical expenses, because of your injuries?

The Vacation Rental Act

The Vacation Rental Act protects renters occupying a vacation home for less than 90 days. According to the VRA, the owner or broker must provide written documentation of the following:

  • Rights and obligations of the landlord and renter
  • The required security deposit, if applicable
  • A clear outline of any other fees they may charge and under what conditions

Under your agreement, the owner must keep the property habitable and safe for renters. If failure to uphold that responsibility results in an accident, they would be strictly liable for damages.

What Damages Can You Recover if You Are Injured at a Vacation Rental?

The legal term for compensatory losses from a personal injury is damages. For someone injured on vacation, damages may include economic and non-economic losses. The value of your claim comes from the severity of your injuries and the damages you can identify and prove.

Economic damages

Economic damages are the financial losses associated with the accident and your injuries. These may include:

  • Medical expenses: costs of emergency care, in-patient and out-patient care, medications, surgeries, medical devices, and rehabilitative care
  • Lost income: wages from missed work and diminished capacity to earn income in the future
  • Damaged property: repairing or replacement of any property broken as a direct result of the owner’s negligence

Every accident is different and will have varying available damages. As the injured person, you are responsible for proving your losses with evidence, such as medical bills, pay stubs, and tax returns.

In addition, some injuries may require replacement services. For example, if you had to hire someone to help with childcare, transportation, or household chores because of your injuries, you might be able to recover those financial losses as well.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic losses refer to how your accident and injuries negatively impacted your mental and emotional health. Someone injured on vacation may go through an array of emotional distress symptoms, depending on the severity of the accident and their injuries. Common examples of non-economic losses from a personal injury case include:

  • The physical pain and suffering endured from the injury and the medical treatment you had to undergo
  • Mental anguish
  • Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy your life

Unlike economic losses, non-economic damages have no inherent monetary value, making them more difficult to calculate. As a result, people often rely on a personal injury attorney to help them determine the value of their non-economic losses.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Build Your Case?

A common misconception about seeking legal representation for a personal injury claim is that you must pay substantial legal fees upfront. In fact, most lawyers practicing tort law work on contingency. They typically charge no upfront fees and only receive a payment if they conclude your case with an award or settlement.

A legal representative acts as the name implies. They represent you in every stage of the legal process. Therefore, you can focus on healing while they take care of the administrative work, such as filing paperwork with the civil court and drafting your demand letter.

Other advantages of hiring an experienced attorney include the following:

  • Communicating and negotiating with the insurance provider to reach a fast and fair settlement
  • Investigating the accident to find evidence to prove the property owner’s negligence
  • Identifying and valuing your losses, including economic and non-economic damages

Understanding what constitutes a reasonable request for compensation is critical to your claim. The court may deny your claim if you present an inflated value for non-economic damages. The most common method involves multiplying the total of your medical expenses by a number representative of the severity of your injuries.

Steps of a personal injury lawsuit against a rental vacation property owner

If you are on the fence about contacting an attorney, consider the process of filing a personal injury claim:

  • Step 1: Draft a demand letter with supporting documentation outlining the facts of the incident, including why the property owner is liable and the damages you seek.
  • Step 2: File your complaint with the court to initiate a lawsuit, ensuring you complete all paperwork accurately and on time.
  • Step 3: Analyze the evidence presented by the other party and prepare interrogatories for them to answer.
  • Step 4: Participate in negotiations with the other party to settle the case outside the courtroom.
  • Step 5: Prepare your case for trial and argue your claim in court.

This is a simplified breakdown of the process. It is often more than someone injured on vacation would want to handle while recovering. Each case is different, but an attorney can help you understand your rights and will fight to protect them.

Can Anyone Injured on Vacation Contact an Attorney?

Anyone injured on vacation can contact a personal injury attorney with questions about their compensation rights. At Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys, we help visitors and residents of Wilmington, NC, recover the compensation they need to restore their losses and rebuild their lives. The negligent party in your case should be accountable for their actions. You can contact us for your free confidential case evaluation and the chance to get the answers you need.

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