When You Are Injured At An Airbnb, Who Pays?

Firm News | December 7, 2015

When you’re traveling, the risk of injury is probably the last thing on your mind. However, things happen and this is one reason hotels and other commercial properties carry insurance.

Property owners are generally liable for medical expenses and other damages when someone is seriously hurt on their premises due to their negligence. But with the rise of Internet companies that allow individuals to use their private property for commercial services — such as Uber for transportation and Airbnb for lodging — premises liability questions are emerging. Who is liable if your Airbnb stay ends badly?

Airbnb is a website that connects people who want to rent their homes with people seeking lodging. The individuals renting their homes do not carry the same type of insurance, or face the same safety inspections, as commercial rental properties, like hotels.

In October, Airbnb began offering hosts up to $1 million in liability coverage. While this is a start, $1 million is not much money when it comes to compensating someone for serious injuries or wrongful death.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

Airbnb and other businesses are still attractive lodging options for a number of reasons, but it is important to be aware of the murky legal issues involved. When you are considering renting a room or a home from an individual, you can take a few steps to minimize risks

  1. Ensure you know the best way to get out of the home in an emergency
  2. Hit the “test” button on fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are in working order.
  3. Keep a lookout for potential hazards, like small kitchen appliances, space heaters and outdoor toys.
  4. Watch your step. Owners of private properties could be less likely to maintain sidewalks, railings, flooring and other slip-and-fall risks.

If you or a loved one suffers a serious injury on any private property, contact an experienced attorney. Premises liability is a very complex area of law and it is important that you understand your rights.