Airbnb Reportedly Paid Off A Sexual Assault Victim To Stay Quiet
Airbnbs have taken off in recent years, offering unique and cost-effective alternatives to traditional hotels. However, they are recently making headlines, not for their housing options, but for silencing an alleged rape victim who was assaulted at one of their properties.
Alleged Sexual Assault Occurs at New York Airbnb
The alleged assault occurred back in 2016 when the woman was reportedly assaulted while renting one of Airbnb’s New York properties. The woman returned to her rental when the attacker popped out of the bathroom and held her at knifepoint. The alleged attacker, Junior Lee, was later found to be in possession of keys to the New York rental. He has been charged with predatory sexual assault, though he has pleaded not guilty due to reasons of mental defect.
According to the Bloomberg report, Airbnb allegedly paid the victim $7 million. In exchange for the multi-million dollar payout, the victim agreed not to discuss the settlement or “imply responsibility or liability” on part of Airbnb or the host of the rental property.
According to Ben Breit, a spokesman for Airbnb, their safety team contacted the New York Police Department after the attack and helped the victim get to a hotel. They also flew her mother in to be with her, flew them back home to Australia, and offered to cover health care costs and mental health counseling.
An Investigation into Airbnb Yields Surprising Results
According to this Bloomberg investigation, Airbnb spends on average $50 million per year in settling claims brought by guests and property owners, although Airbnb claims that most of this money is used to compensate property owners for damage caused by guests or other parties. Airbnb does have a crisis response team that may be called upon in injury cases where the company may be exposed to liability, particularly cases involving physical or sexual assaults, like the stories mentioned above. These teams are authorized to compensate injured victims’ costs, including lodging, food, transportation, and healthcare expenses.
If you have been hurt in an Airbnb property, what are your rights for obtaining compensation? Unfortunately, pursuing a claim for financial recovery after an Airbnb accident may not be easy.
Pursuing Compensation Against Airbnb After an Accident in a Rental
Unfortunately, in many cases, Airbnb may prove to be little help if you are injured in an accident in a property you have rented through the platform. Airbnb’s terms of service include a release of liability that ostensibly prevents you from filing an injury lawsuit against Airbnb if you are hurt while staying on someone’s property.
Airbnb does have a $1 million liability insurance policy. However, guests who are injured while staying at an Airbnb often face significant difficulties and delay in recovering any compensation from Airbnb’s insurance.
Examples of Accidents That Can Occur in Airbnbs
Common types of accidents or other incidents that lead to injury that frequently occur in Airbnbs include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Crush injuries caused by falling furniture or other objects.
- Swimming pool accidents
- Toxic exposure
- Injuries from assaults caused by negligent security
Who May Be Held Liable for an Airbnb Accident
Normally, under premises liability law a property owner can be held liable for injuries caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition of the property that is caused or allowed to exist due to the property owner’s negligent maintenance of the property.
However, pursuing compensation from a property owner that you rent an Airbnb from may prove incredibly tricky. The property owner’s homeowner’s insurance may not cover injuries that you suffer while renting the property through Airbnb, as many homeowners’ insurance policies exclude coverage for losses that occur while the insured home is being used for commercial purposes.
You may have similar difficulty obtaining compensation if you rent an Airbnb from a user who merely leases their property from a landlord. As with homeowners’ insurance, renters’ insurance may exclude coverage if the rented property is used for commercial purposes. Even if you were injured in the common areas of an apartment building or complex where you were renting an Airbnb, the landlord may try to avoid liability on grounds that their tenant’s renting out of their apartment on Airbnb violates the tenant’s lease, along with other local or state regulations that govern whether and how properties can be rented through Airbnb.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Airbnb Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an Airbnb accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of Airbnb accidents in Philadelphia, Center City, University City, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (866) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 S. Broad St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102 as well as Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.