How to File an Injury Claim with Airbnb
Have you been a suffered an injury while staying at an Airbnb? Are you an attorney looking to maximize the value of your client’s case against Airbnb? Are you thinking about hiring an Airbnb injury lawyer to maximize your claim’s value?
Knowing what to do after an injury at an Airbnb rental, including who to sue and how to file a claim, is half the battle. Virtually all short-term rental companies like Airbnb have insurance covering the costs of personal injuries filed by guests. There are certain steps that must be taken to present a successful claim, which includes gathering evidence, sending a detailed preservation letter and notice of claim as soon as possible, preparing and sending a demand letter to the proper entity, and eventually litigating the claim if it is either denied or if the offer to settle is too low.
Steps to Take After Suffering an Injury at Airbnb
If you decide to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, your attorney will best advise on proceeding. If you have enough time and know enough about how insurance companies work, you may want to try to settle your case on your own.
Seek Medical Treatment
The level of medical treatment required will genuinely depend on the extent of your injuries. The value of your claim will depend on the severity of your injuries and the type of medical treatment you receive. An individual forced into emergency surgery to repair a fractured femur caused by falling down a defective stairwell will have a much more valuable claim than a person who suffers from bed bug bites due to an infestation at the Airbnb property.
Evidence is what makes or breaks any claim for personal injuries. Immediately after the incident occurs, try to photograph and video the cause of the injury. Additionally, collect the names of all witnesses, including all the names, phones, and addresses of all individuals who were staying at the Airbnb. The photographic evidence coupled with the witnesses’ statements will help prove liability. Additionally, you should obtain copies of all of your medical records and bills to later present to Airbnb’s insurance carrier. You should gather evidence regardless of whether you choose to pursue your case on your own or if you decide to hire an attorney. The more evidence that you collect, the better position you and your attorney will be in to maximize the value of your settlement.
File a Claim with Airbnb
The first step is to complete Airbnb’s insurance program intake form, which can be found at https://www.airbnb.com/insurance/form. This form asks for basic information, including information about the reservation, information about the injured person, and a brief description of what happened. In many instances, the person who made the reservation is reluctant to provide the injured party with the reservation code and even their name. If you do not have all the information needed to file the claim, you may consider calling Airbnb support at 1-844-234-2500 or hiring an attorney to investigate the matter and deal with Airbnb directly.
Communicate with the Airbnb Insurance Claims Handler
After filing a claim with Airbnb, a claims handler will call you to discuss the incident in further detail. The claims handler will likely request that you provide a recorded statement wherein they will ask a series of questions about how the incident occurred, the types of injuries you sustained, the medical expenses you incurred, and your health insurance information. Additionally, the insurance claims adjuster will likely ask for biographical information, including your date of birth, home address, social security number, and employment information.
In many claims, the insurance claims handler will send you medical record authorizations to sign and return to them. These medical record authorizations allow Airbnb’s insurance carrier to obtain your medical records and bills. Suppose you are not comfortable providing this information or feel that you may jeopardize your claim by providing information that can be misconstrued or manipulated. In that case, it is best to consult with an attorney who can ensure the claim is handled correctly.
Prepare a Demand Letter
This is where things get a bit tricky. Drafting a demand letter and putting together a thorough demand package is not very straightforward. A demand letter summarizes (1) how the incident occurred, (2) why Airbnb is liable, (3) details the medical injuries and treatment, (4) itemizes the medical expenses, (5) itemizes any health insurance liens, (6) itemizes any past and future lost wages, (7) provides supporting wage lost documentation (i.e., pay stubs and tax returns), (8) summarizes any pain and suffering you have endured or will continue to live with, and (9) demands a settlement figure.
Many other items can and should be included in the demand letter, but it is difficult to determine what should be included without a complete understanding of the specific case. Sometimes the most challenging part of preparing a demand letter is figuring out exactly how much money to demand. Once you have determined the demand figure (how much money you are asking to settle the claim for), you must specifically request the number and give the insurance company a deadline to respond to your letter. A general rule of thumb is that thirty days is sufficient time. If you are uncertain about how to draft a demand letter correctly, it is best to contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling claims against Airbnb.
An experienced personal injury attorney will handle all of the leg work while working to maximize the value of your claim.
Negotiate a Settlement
The demand letter should provide Airbnb’s insurance company with all the insurance they need to make you a fair and reasonable settlement offer. However, it is very likely, that the insurance company will not agree to the number you demanded and will either present a much smaller number or outright deny liability. When the insurance company denies liability, they are stating that they are not responsible for paying for your damages because Airbnb or any other insured party did not do anything wrong. If the number is too small, you can always try to negotiate the number with the claims adjuster and try to reach a fair number. If your claim is denied or the insurance company refuses to make an acceptable settlement offer, you may need to file a lawsuit to obtain the right. When this occurs, it is almost always in your best interests to hire a lawyer to get the job done the right way.
Airbnb Claim FAQs
Can You Sue Airbnb for Injuries?
Yes, you can sue Airbnb for personal injuries sustained while staying at an Airbnb rental. However, the lawsuit’s or claim’s success will depend on whether the Airbnb, the Airbnb host, or Airbnb property manager’s negligence caused your injuries. Other parties may be liable. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.
Who Can File a Claim Against Airbnb?
Any person who is staying at or visiting the Airbnb rental has a right to pursue a claim. It does not matter whether the individual pays for the rental, stays overnight, or is just visiting friends for lunch and is not staying at the property. Anyone who is invited to the Airbnb rental can file a claim.
When is Airbnb Liable for Injuries?
Airbnb may be found liable when the rental property presents a dangerous condition that causes a guest to suffer an injury. Examples of dangerous conditions include:
- Defective stairwells
- Dangerous swimming pool conditions
- Roof collapses
- Unsafe flooring
- Inadequate security
This list is not exhaustive. Plenty of things can go wrong.
How Much Insurance Coverage does Airbnb Provide?
All Airbnb rental properties in North America (including most of Central and South America) are covered by a one million dollar host protection insurance policy. The one-million-dollar host protection insurance policy pays up to one million dollars in damages for any individual claim for injuries. Most of the personal injury claims against Airbnb settle for significantly less than one million dollars. However, there are circumstances where one million dollars is insufficient to compensate the victim. In these cases, the owner of the property likely maintains their own homeowner’s insurance policy. The homeowner’s insurance policy may provide excess coverage. However, many homeowner’s insurance policies contain exclusions that preclude insurance coverage for short-term rentals. If you or a loved one sustained injuries that you believe are worth more than one million dollars, it is imperative that you contact a personal injury attorney to assist with the matter.
Seek an Experienced Airbnb Injury Lawyer
The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked has years of experience when it comes to handling Airbnb claims and ensuring that our clients receive the compensation that they need in order to pay off their medical expenses, lost wages, etc. If you or a loved one suffered an injury while visiting or staying at an Airbnb property, call the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked by dialing (305) 690-0244 for a free consultation with Prosper Shaked.