Seattle, Land of Vacation Rentals (and Accidents)There is nothing more depressing and unlucky than getting physically hurt while on vacation. A time that should have been spent having fun and relaxing in the sun turns into a scary situation where medical treatment might be necessary. Summer is here, and with the boom of Airbnb, almost anyone can enjoy a vacation stay in a different city, state, or even country, without shelling out exorbitant money on hotel prices.
Although most Airbnb stays are very safe, you can never be sure that the pictures you see online show you everything, including the potential dangers that await you in your host location.
Injured While Renting?
Airbnb is a broker company that hosts an online marketplace for people to lease out their houses/apartments/cottages. It’s a great deal for people trying to make some extra income. However, if you book through Airbnb, you can’t verify the state of your lodgings until you actually get to the place. You can only rely on previous guests and their reviews. But is that enough? Maybe not…
For example, a bathroom handrail might not be properly installed, and it might pull out of the wall while you’re using it, causing you to fall and break your hip. Or, what if a shelf comes crashing down on top of you—who can you hold responsible?
It’s much easier to figure out liability when staying at a hotel. When it comes to an injury at an Airbnb, there might be up to three different people who are liable. The company itself, the owner of the property, or the landlord of the owner. This can prove to be quite tricky, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a local attorney about your options.
What to Do After an Injury
After sustaining an injury, here are important things to remember:
- Document your injuries. Document the scene of the accident by taking pictures of the location, anything that contributed to the accident, and your injuries. It’s natural to jump right into cleaning up right after an accident, especially if there’s a lot of blood involved or if things get messy, but it’s important to gather your evidence first.
- Get help. See a doctor right away so that you have a solid chain of documentation for all your injuries. This will be very helpful in filing a claim down the line. Just because you don’t feel like you’re dying in the moment doesn’t mean that seeing a doctor won’t be helpful.
- Gather information. If you had any witnesses to your accident, make sure to get their names and phone numbers.
Does Airbnb Have Insurance?
In the United States, Airbnb does have a host protection program, which provides primary liability coverage for up to $1 million “per occurrence in the event of a third-party claim of bodily injury or property damage related to an Airbnb stay.”
According to the Airbnb website, this insurance would cover:
- A guest breaking a leg due to an uneven floor on the property.
- A guest hurting his head due to improper pool signs.
- A guest working out in the gym of the apartment and hurting herself due to faulty equipment.
Here is what the host protection insurance program WOULD NOT cover:
- Assault and battery
- Slander or defamation of character
- Car accident
- Sexual assault
- Property issues such as mold and bed bugs
When Is a Landlord Responsible for Injuries?
For landlords to be liable for injuries sustained by a tenant or renter, they had to have been negligent. Simply injuring yourself on a rental property doesn’t automatically translate into suing the landlord. You must be able to prove that you were injured as a result of the landlord’s negligence, even though it might have been unintentional.
When a case like this gets to court, the question will be: would a reasonable landlord have these conditions on the property, or are these conditions unsafe?
Negligence per se is when a landlord violates a state law and a tenant gets injured as a result. In these cases, no additional proof is necessary. For example, if a landlord failed to install state-required smoke detectors on the property, and subsequently you were hurt in a fire, the landlord would be liable for your burns, even if he took the smoke detectors off for a legitimate reason.
Questions About Rental Injuries? Contact Us
A vacation should be a time of leisure, relaxation, new sights, and absolutely no stress. However, when circumstances out of your control cause an injury, your fun can be shattered and your life can be changed forever. Rental houses should be safe, and when they’re not, someone should be held responsible.
While you’re faced with medical bills, time off work, and physical and emotional pain, it can be difficult to try and receive a fair compensation on your own. This is where a Seattle-area premises injury lawyer would come in. If you’ve been injured while renting a house or boat in Seattle, call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation. We are dedicated to getting you fair compensation for your suffering, and don’t charge our clients a thing until we get them that compensation.