Injured at Airbnb in New Jersey

Airbnb is a household name for vacationers across America. Over 300 million nights and experiences were booked on Airbnb in 2021 alone. The company is popular with people seeking alternative housing for their vacation and other short-term excursions. In addition, homeowners benefit from Airbnb guests. In a year, the average homeowner can make around $7,900. 

While many vacationers and homeowners enjoy the benefits of Airbnb, it’s important to know what happens when accidents occur in the rental property. Of course, no one wants or expects anything to go wrong, but they sometimes do. Injuries can happen on vacation so it’s best to consider how it should be handled. One key question to think about is, “Who will cover medical bills?” 

Host Liability Insurance

Airbnb offers a comprehensive insurance plan that protects guests and hosts in the event of unfortunate incidents. The program called Aircover is free upon booking a rental with the company. It includes identity verification, reservation screening, and a 24-hour safety line. Aircover has three host programs. 

  1. Host Damage Protection: This coverage is for the host property. If a guest trashes or damages the house, the program will cover damages up to $3 million dollars. Coverage will protect:
  • Damage to furnishing and valuables
  • Cars and boats
  • Unexpected cleaning costs, such as stains on carpets or walls.
  • Income loss from damages that result in not being able to list the property.

Acts of nature and normal wear and tear are excluded from the coverage. So, too, are injuries suffered by a guest.

  1. “Experience” Liability Insurance: Along with booking vacation rentals from the host, guests can book activities and events from the Airbnb host – called the “Airbnb Experience.” If a guest gets hurt or their property gets stolen/damaged during an “Airbnb Experience,” the insurance plan will cover up to a million dollars. This insurance is also available to co-hosts. 
  1. Host Liability Insurance: This program provides hosts a million dollars in coverage for incidents where they are liable. Co-hosts and cleaners are included in the plan. If found legally responsible, the host is covered for: 
  • Injuries suffered by guests 
  • Damage or theft of guest belongings 
  • Damage to common areas, such as lobbies and property of neighbors, if caused by guests.

So, as you can see, Aircover may offer coverage, but it’s still a good idea to contact an attorney if you’ve been injured while staying at an Airbnb property in New Jersey. 

Preparing for a Claim

Each Aircover program has a request or intake form that needs to be filed by the host. If a homeowner has their own insurance, it may offer better coverage when it comes to seeking compensation. Airbnb may also provide support to help with a claim against a host. An attorney with personal injury experience and knowledge of New Jersey law will be able to assess the best path to compensation and provide the necessary legal support to the injured guest. The injured guest should focus on gathering all relevant information and documentation so that it can be shared with the attorney. This means securing photos and/or videos of the accident scene, medical records, and contact information for witnesses.

What Are the Standards for Legal Liability?

Airbnb expects hosts to provide a safe environment for all guests. In fact, the company recommends what hosts should keep on their properties:

  • Emergency information, such as the locations of the nearest medical facility and hospital 
  • A first aid kit
  • Fire prevention measures should be in order (smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors)
  • Clearly marked exits
  • Posting for occupancy limits

Being knowledgeable of New Jersey state regulations is also encouraged by Airbnb. In fact, in the local regulation section of the Airbnb website, the company compiles information on laws for many cities across the United States, including some in New Jersey. 

What Steps Should You Take if Injured at an Airbnb?

Medical treatment is what should be sought first in the event of an injury. Getting adequate and immediate treatment so wounds can heal properly is crucial. When medical professionals confirm discharge, getting medical documentation of injuries is vital. This information should be shared with an attorney as well.

Under HIPAA law, a person can request their medical records, or a parent can request the records for their minor child. People can obtain many documents, including billing and payment records, which will help when building a case for compensation. 

For obvious reasons, physical health is the main focus in these cases, but mental health is also important. Many times mental anguish will coincide with an injury, or follow afterwards. Awareness of, and documentation for the mental state of an injured guest can factor into a claim because people can be compensated for pain and suffering. 

Imagine this tragic hypothetical scenario: An athletic Airbnb guest suffers a gruesome injury that  results in the loss of an arm or leg. That person can no longer participate in the activities that they once loved, sending them into a deep depression. Such mental anguish is important to document by keeping a journal of one’s emotions. Similarly, therapy records and personal statements from friends and family can also be a good way to support one’s decline in mental state. 

Would Homeowners Insurance Cover an Accident?

Standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover damages from things like fires, smoke, vandalism, and on some occasions, weather events. However, once a homeowner decides to make a profit from their property through Airbnb, it becomes a business endeavor. 

People that decide to use their New Jersey homes for short-term rentals need comprehensive business coverage. Business insurance is a better fit for short-term rental properties. This insurance will cover property damage, business losses, and perhaps injuries to guests. But Aircover can be a bonus when the compensation needed to cover expenses exceeds the limit of a host’s business insurance policy.

What Happens if $1 Million is Not Enough? 

While planning vacations, many people are only concerned about the wonderful time they will have. However, injuries and damages can and do happen while vacationing. In serious or catastrophic cases, a million-dollar insurance policy isn’t sufficient to cover the costs associated with an accident. Legal representation will be needed to assist in determining whether reckless and negligent behavior led to the injury. An attorney will gather all the facts and work to recover just compensation. 

At Rosenblum Law, we have decades of experience in cases involving premises liability. In the event of any injury, it’s always helpful when clients reach out to us as soon as possible. This affords us an opportunity to review all documentation and prepare the best case for compensation without delay. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

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