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Recent Airbnb Horror Story Highlights the Need for More Precautions

Recently, the mother of a 19 year old received frightening texts that no mother would ever imagine.  Her son, who was staying with an Airbnb host in Madrid, sent her urgent text messages stating that his host had locked him into his bedroom in the fourth floor apartment where he was staying.  The host remained in the apartment and allegedly rattled knives around and pressed him to submit to a sexual act.  He begged his mother to help him.

His mother called Airbnb and its employees refused to provide her with the address of the apartment and would not call police.  Instead, they gave her the number of the Madrid police and said they would release to the address to the officer who called.  The 19 year old did manage to escape from the room, but claims he was sexually assaulted.  The host has denied all allegations.

This incident is the most recent in a series of alarming reports stemming from the popular in home, hostel service.  Several months ago, our Miami personal injury lawyers discovered a United States citizen in Argentina was severely injured when the host’s large dog attacked him. 

What Responsibility Does Airbnb Take for Dangerous Situations that Result from their Service?

Airbnb refers to its customers as guests and promotes its security and hospitality, yet when faced with an urgent situation, the company here declined to send someone to check on their guest and instead put the onus on his mother to call the police.  Airbnb is part of a new movement towards a so called “sharing economy.”  However, with this business model does come some risks.

There are several insurance issues that surround Airbnb.  All potential Airbnb hosts and guest should be aware that liability issues abound.  Hosts should check with their homeowner’s insurance company to be sure that they will be covered in the event of an accident.  Many homeowners’ insurance policies will exclude coverage if the homeowner is running a business out of their home.  If you are earning money by renting out a room in your home, your insurer may claim that you are running a bed and breakfast and deny coverage if an Airbnb guest is injured.  If you only use the company occasionally, this will be a grey area and at the least you may face an insurance battle.  Hosts without coverage could obtain additional coverage that specifically covers renting out a room.

Airbnb guests or those considering using the service should review properties carefully and check into traveler’s insurance options.  They can also inquire with potential hosts as to their coverage in the event of an accident.  Further questions should be directed at Airbnb.  Guests can also be sure that a family member or loved one has all relevant travel information so that they can assist you in the event of an emergency.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Dedicated Miami Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that may have been caused by negligence, contact the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano.  We have over 130 collective years of experience representing all manner of accident victims in South Florida.  We seek to obtain the best outcome possible for each of our clients, which will often include recovering for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our firm has received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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