What if You Are Assaulted While Staying at Vacation Rental?
Over the past decade, more people are deciding against hotel stays in favor of online guest book platforms such as Airbnb or Vrbo. These companies allow guests to book a room, apartment, or entire home, which fits the needs of many travelers better than a traditional hotel. However, security is always a concern when staying at an unfamiliar place. And, not surprisingly, there have been several assaults and sexual assaults at vacation rentals in South Carolina and throughout the country.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated personal injury lawyers stand up for the rights of those who were assaulted while staying at a vacation rental. We have been representing injury and assault victims since 1927. Over that time, we have learned what is needed to prepare, negotiate, and litigate a successful claim. If you have been the victim of sexual assault at a vacation rental in South Carolina, give the Steinberg Law Firm a call.
What Are Your Options if You Were Assaulted at Vrbo or Vacation Rental?
When you book a vacation rental through an online booking platform, you assume that the place you will be staying is safe. Anyone would. However, there are thousands of assaults, and sexual assault claims each year stemming from these stays. Of course, the companies do an excellent job of keeping most of these incidents out of the news. Unfortunately, this gives those who were assaulted the feeling that they are the only ones. That is not the case. If you have been assaulted at a South Carolina vacation rental, you are not alone.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack, you may be able to file a claim for damages against the online booking company, the homeowner, or their insurance company. While Airbnb and other similar companies carry a $1 million insurance policy to compensate guests for the negligent acts of third parties, in most cases, assault, sexual assault, and other intentional acts fall outside the scope of that coverage. However, this does not mean that you cannot sue Airbnb, only that their insurance may not cover your damages.
To successfully bring a sexual assault claim against an online vacation rental platform, you will need to show that the company knew there were risks involved with the rental and did not take the necessary steps to cure the dangers. In other words, you need to prove that the company was negligent. In most cases, this would mean showing that the company knew there were dangers but refused to remove the rental from the site. For example, if Airbnb receives notice that a guest was sexually assaulted at a rental, the company must follow up on the claim and determine what led to the assault. If the perpetrator of the assault was known to the victim, Airbnb might reasonably believe it was a one-time event. However, if the attacker was a stranger (or worse, the owner), Airbnb must consider pulling the listing. If they do not, any future guest faces the very same risk.
In some situations, you can also sue the owner of the rental. If the host was the person who attacked you, then they may be liable to you. However, even if the host was not present at the time of the attack, they may still be liable. Again, it will depend on what the host knew about the potential dangers and whether they did anything to protect guests from the dangers.
Of course, you can also file a claim against the perpetrator. Keep in mind that a criminal case is very different from a civil case. If the government charges your attacker with a crime, they could face jail time. However, that will do little to compensate you for what you went through. A civil personal injury case, on the other hand, is focused exclusively on compensating you for the injuries you sustained during the attack. The problem with filing a claim against your attacker is, even if you win, they may not have the assets to cover your damages.
Given the complexity of these lawsuits, and the numerous parties involved, the assistance of a South Carolina personal injury attorney is imperative.
Contact an Airbnb Assault Lawyer Today
If you were physically or sexually assaulted at a South Carolina Airbnb or Vrbo, reach out to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm for immediate assistance. Our attorneys have developed a reputation for being compassionate advocates. We understand the challenges you are facing and cater our representation to your unique needs. 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 in Charleston, and the surrounding communities, including but not limited to West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, and Goose Creek.