Injured at a Vacation Rental in South Carolina? You May Have a Premises Liability Case
South Carolina is known as a great place to vacation. Between the historical sites, beautiful beaches, and world-class golf courses, tourism is a billion-dollar industry. In fact, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, South Carolina tourism hit an all-time high, bringing in nearly $25 billion in revenue. After a dip in 2021, South Carolina again broke its tourism record, generating over $29 billion in tourism revenue. And, given the popularity of affordable and easy online booking options such as VRBO and Airbnb, many local and out-of-state tourists may pass on staying at traditional hotels and motels.
Of course, before booking a South Carolina vacation rental, you will want to make sure the room, condo, or home is a good fit. Part of this is making sure that the rental is safe—and not just in terms of its physical location. Countless vacationers have had their vacations ruined after suffering serious yet preventable injuries while staying at a vacation rental. Although no one plans to get hurt during their vacation, accidents do happen, and the resulting injuries can leave people suffering for months or even years.
Types of Vacation Rental Injuries
Vacation rentals offer a great alternative to hotels in that they are often less expensive and offer convenient amenities such as having access to a kitchen, laundry room, hot tub, and close by parking. Another reason why Airbnb or VRBO rentals may be preferred is that they are all unique in appearance. Many owners take pride in designing, decorating, and maintaining their vacation rentals. However, this also means that there can be a lot of discrepancies from one rental to another, with some owners doing little maintenance to their property to ensure the safety of their guests.
Vacation rental injuries can occur in any number of ways. Some of the most common VRBO and Airbnb injuries are related to the following:
- Missing or inadequate handrails;
- Uneven pavement or transitions between flooring surfaces;
- Damaged, missing, or rotting steps;
- Swimming pools;
- Overgrown foliage that creates a tripping hazard;
- Poorly lit areas;
- Collapsing decks; and
- Intentional assaults.
Vacation rental owners have a legal duty to provide a safe space for their guests. In the event an owner fails to take the necessary precautions and a guest is injured, the property owner or the vacation rental company may be held liable.
Who Is Responsible for Vacation Rental Injuries?
Years ago, when Airbnb and VRBO first began their operations, the companies took no responsibility for any injuries that might have occurred in a vacation rental. Recently, both companies began providing up to $1 million in coverage for accidental injuries sustained on a property. However, these policies only compensate guests if their injuries were accidental and closely related to the property. For example, neither VRBO nor Airbnb covers intentional injuries, such as assault.
In the event that a guest’s injuries exceed the $1 million in coverage provided by the rental company, the guest can pursue the remainder of their damages from the property owner or their insurance company. Keep in mind that policies are written by insurance companies, and, in the case of both VRBO and Airbnb, they are limited to $1 million per property per year. Thus, if someone else was injured at the same property that year, there could be far less than $1 million in coverage available.
VRBO’s Terms and Conditions advise guests to obtain their own travel insurance in case of an injury event. Under Airbnb’s Host Liability Insurance Program, unique stays at treehouses, watercraft, mobile homes, airstreams, and yurts are considered accommodations that are covered.
Have You Been Injured While Staying in a South Carolina Vacation Rental?
If you or a loved one was injured in a vacation rental in South Carolina, the dedicated premises liability attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm are here to help. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated South Carolina vacation rental premises liability attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals and families who were hurt as a result of a property owner’s negligence. We routinely deal with some of the largest and most powerful insurance companies in the country, ensuring that our clients are fairly compensated for what they’ve been through. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call to schedule a free consultation at 843-720-2800.