A lot of media conversation about the “new” economy has focused on rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft. But, an accident might put more of a spotlight on liability issues with another major player in the “sharing” economy: Airbnb. Late last year, a man in Texas died at an Airbnb rental when the tire swing he was on snapped a tree branch that landed on him.
Airbnb is a website and app where people can list, find, and rent lodging. What Uber is for the taxi, Airbnb is for hotels. Currently, it has more than 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
The company denied any liability for the accident that killed the Texas man. (The company’s website says: “Airbnb has no control over the conduct of Hosts and disclaims all liability.”) The man’s family hasn’t sued Airbnb, but has recently come forward with their story. They hope the man’s death will lead to more regulation of Airbnb rentals.
Way back in 2012, the New York Times said, “It’s only a matter of time until something terrible happens,” in an article about Airbnb’s liability issues. Companies like Airbnb (or Uber, or Lyft) can pop up and become popular very quickly. But, lawsuits and regulations will follow.
While this family may be the first guests to speak out about a wrongful death at an Airbnb rental, they probably won’t be the last. Staying with a stranger or inviting one into your home can be dangerous. Hotel rooms have safety standards and staff, Airbnb doesn’t. There’s a lot of gray area for legal liability here.
If you have any questions about your legal rights after you or a family member has been injured while renting an Airbnb, call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Each case is unique and every one demands an experienced attorney. Let us help you.
Call us at (888) 478-8999 any time, day or night, to discuss your situation.