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Can You Sue If You Are Injured or Assaulted While in a VRBO, Airbnb, or Vacation Rental?

With summer here, more and more people are starting to think about their summer vacation plans. Over recent years, online vacation rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo, have become increasingly popular, with the number of hotel bookings seeing a corresponding decrease. These websites offer travelers the opportunity to book a variety of different lodgings at a reasonable cost. In most cases, the company you use to book your stay is not the one that owns the property or oversees its maintenance. Instead, the property owner pays Airbnb, Vrbo, or another booking platform a small fee or commission to post their property on the website. With the increase in popularity of these lodging services, the question often arises, what are your options if you are injured in an Airbnb, Vrbo, or other guest lodging?

For example, assume you book an Airbnb on Folly Beach for your annual get-together with your college roommates. The place looks great, and everyone is having a nice time until you fall down the stairs. Later, you come to find out that the stairs needed repair and were had undersized foot treads. 

In this situation, you likely incurred significant medical expenses, missed out on the rest of the trip, and had to take a few weeks off of work. Who do you file a claim against to recover compensation for your injuries?

The answer to this question depends on the type of insurance the homeowner purchased. Most homeowner’s policies will not cover the cost of an accident related to an Airbnb or Vrbo stay because these involve the commercial use of the property. To obtain coverage, the homeowner would need to purchase a special type of insurance. If they did, then you can file a claim under that policy.

However, even if the host’s homeowner’s insurance policy does not apply, you may still be able to bring a claim against the homeowner. Both Airbnb and Vrbo offer hosts “Host Protection Insurance.” Host Protection Insurance covers the host up to $1 million in liability based on injuries that were caused due to their negligence. 

It is important to keep in mind that Host Protection Insurance only applies to accidents caused by the homeowner’s negligence. For example, if you had too much to drink and tripped on a pile of laundry you had left out, it is unlikely that your injuries would be covered. However, many vacation rental injuries are the result of the owner’s negligence, including those involving:

• Defective stairs
• Uneven flooring or carpeting
• Damaged walkways
• Defective decking
• Insufficient lighting
• Unsecured furniture and appliances
• Other unmarked hazards

Of course, the insurance company holding the Host Protection Insurance policy may not agree to resolve a claim or may not offer fair compensation. For example, the insurance company may claim that the injury victim shared responsibility for their injuries or that their injuries were not as serious as they claimed. In these situations, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the homeowner and Airbnb, seeking coverage under the insurance policy. 

In short, if you are injured while staying at an Airbnb or Vrbo, there are ways to recover compensation for your injuries. However, in practice, doing so is not as easy as these companies make it seem. Often, the assistance of an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney is necessary to secure the compensation that you deserve after a serious injury. 

Have You Been Injured in a South Carolina Vacation Rental?

If you were recently hurt after staying in an Airbnb or Vrbo vacation rental, contact the South Carolina premises liability lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience helping accident victims recover compensation for their injuries occurring on other’s property. We understand that this can be a confusing process, especially if you have not been through it before, and we will explain everything in clear and understandable terms. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, give the Steinberg Law Firm a call at 843-720-2800. You can also contact us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will get back to you shortly. We represent clients throughout South Carolina, including but not limited to Isle of Palms, Johns Island, Folly Beach, James Island, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach, Kiawah, West Ashley, Summerville, Charleston, North Charleston, and Goose Creek.

Updated on April 5, 2023

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