California Airbnb Injury Lawyers
Airbnb is a San Francisco based company that serves as an online marketplace for short-term and long-term homestays and experiences. It often serves as a substitute for people considering staying at a hotel. But unlike traditional hotels, Airbnb properties often do not contain safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. According to research by Time, only 80% of homes on the platform had a smoke detector. Only 58% had a CO detector, 42% had a fire extinguisher and 36% had a first aid kit.
Business Insider has estimated that there have been at least 193,000 safety incidents according to data from Airbnb. In particular, there have been a number of incidents where people have been shot during house parties hosted at an Airbnb. Any person is injured while staying at an Airbnb may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Our team of highly experienced Airbnb injury attorneys at Samer Habbas & Associates, PC are here for you. We can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued. You can reach out to us anytime at 951-498-4335.
Are You Safe Staying At An Airbnb?
Staying at an Airbnb can feel safe, but it is still true Airbnbs are largely unregulated. According to a research article in Plos One, the incursion of Airbnb into neighborhoods has led to greater violence in some areas. The authors write, “Airbnb prevalence in a neighborhood appears to be associated with increases in violence, but not with public social disorder or private conflict.” The results of the study point to the possibility that large-scale conversion of housing units into short term rentals undermines a communities social organization. In turn, this affects the communities ability to counteract and discourage crime. There have been many different types of violent criminal activity reported at Airbnbs.
- Guests have reported being sexually assaulted.
- Guests have been physically assaulted.
- Guests have been shot during house parties.
- Guests have had their Airbnbs burglarized during their stay.
There have also been a number of incidents where peaceful guests have been violently attacked by neighbors. For example, te Daily Beast has reported that a black Airbnb guest was shot in the back by a man who claims he thought the guest was the thief who broke into his car days earlier. This is but one of the many Airbnb horror stories that people have reported. Physical assaults are not the only thing that guests have to worry about while staying at an Airbnb. A number of people have been seriously harmed due to unsafe living conditions during their stays.
Premises Liability Claims At Airbnbs
All property owners in California who are using their premises for Airbnb have a legal obligation to make sure that their property is kept in a reasonably safe condition. Pursuant to California Civil Code 1714, “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” There are a number of ways that an Airbnb could be in a dangerous condition that could cause injury to a guest.
- An Airbnb may lack required safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
- An Airbnb could have uneven surfaces in or outside the premises that create a tripping hazard.
- An Airbnb could have poorly maintained wiring in a home which creates an electrical hazard.
- An Airbnb may not be up to code and potentially expose guests to lead paint or asbestos.
When a property owner has actual or constructive notice that their property is in a dangerous condition, they must take action. For example, a property owner may have actual notice if they were warned that their roof was in disrepair and at risk of collapse. Or, in other situations, a property owner may have constructive notice about a danger, because it should have been reasonably expected given prior incidents. Victims of Airbnb accidents often suffer from a wide variety of very serious injuries including broken bones, spinal cord injuries and head trauma.
Hidden Camera Incidents At Airbnbs
One of the main ways that Airbnbs are substantially different from Hotels is the lack of oversight for the Airbnb properties listed on their online marketplace. This lack of oversight has created very serious privacy violations including numerous instances where an Airbnb guest was secretly filmed by a hidden camera. According to one PX1031 survey of 2,000 Americans who have stayed at an Airbnb, an astonishing 11% of respondents said that they actually discovered a hidden camera in their Airbnb.
- One couple has filed a lawsuit after they were allegedly secretly filmed having sex by a hidden camera at an Airbnb in Maine.
- One man was renting a flat from an Airbnb ‘Superhost’ in China when he discovered a hidden camera in the bedroom’s internet router.
- Many of the hidden cameras that are discovered are in clocks or light fixtures so that they are not likely to be found.
Per Airbnb’s guidelines for hosts, it is against the company’s policy to intentionally conceal recording devices such as security cameras. Airbnb also prohibits cameras or recording devices that are in or observe private spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms or sleeping areas. Airbnb has been aware that many guests have been secretly filmed by hidden cameras. They have said that they are cracking down on hosts who record guests. But many people who have been critical of the company believe that Airbnb is not doing enough to stop this horrific invasion into people’s privacy.
Filing A Claim Against Airbnb
Airbnb has continued to grow since the company was founded in 2008. It has a market cap of $75 billion as of April, 2023. The company provides hosts with $1 million in insurance coverage in the event that they are found legally responsible for a guest being hurt. If a guest is injured while staying at an Airbnb, there are a number of steps that they should take. First, they should seek medical treatment. Second, they should gather evidence related to the incident. Third, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Airbnb accident attorney as early as possible. California law requires a plaintiff to prove the following if they are pursuing a premises liability claim.
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property where an accident took place.
- The defendant failed to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition.
- The plaintiff was harmed.
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
Many accident victims may not realize the full extent of their injuries for several weeks or months after any incident. Even a moderate brain injury from a slip and fall accident can leave victims seriously harmed. According to Chandi Edmonds, assistant professor at Feinberg School of Medicine, “The lifetime costs of a patient’s treatment for a traumatic brain injury are estimated to run from $85,000 to $3 million.” Sadly, though, Airbnb will do everything in their power to deny any responsibility if a guest is injured during their stay. This is one of the reasons that it is so crucial that anyone who is injured during their stay at an Airbnb seek legal guidance as soon as they can.
Getting Legal Help After Being Injured At An Airbnb
Airbnb may seem like a great alternative to a traditional stay at a hotel. But guests are typically not aware of the dangers that can come with staying at a short-term rental. These properties that are being rented out are not regularly inspected for health and safety violations. As stated earlier, over 40% of these properties don’t even have a working carbon monoxide detector. It is important that accident victims understand that they do have rights and may have legal recourse for their injuries.
Have you or someone that you love been injured during a stay at Airbnb? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Any person that is injured at an Airbnb can seek aid through a personal injury claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Our team of highly experienced Airbnb injury attorneys at Samer Habbas & Associates, PC are here for you. We have recovered over $250,000,000 for our deserving clients. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after an incident we may be able to help. You can reach out to us anytime at 949-727-9300.