The pandemic increased the number of families booking vacation rentals in 2020 and 2021, with the trend expected to continue. The popularity of rentals grew because they allow large family groups to vacation together yet maintain social distancing and avoid crowds, something almost impossible to do in a hotel. However, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident in a hotel, liability for the accident is relatively clear under premises liability law; the owner of the property is responsible if a safety hazard existed that they knew about or should have known about and failed to repair. In a vacation rental, determining who is responsible for your personal injury may be more complicated. Liability may rest with the owner of the property, the manager of the property, the rental company, or employees of any of these types of entities.
Slip and fall accidents are extremely common and can happen at home or on vacation, in a retail establishment or restaurant, indoors or outdoors. You may associate slip and fall accidents with elderly people, but the truth is they can happen to anyone. Every year, roughly nine million people end up in emergency rooms because of injuries from a slip and fall accident, and in the United States this type of accident is the second leading cause of unintentional death.
When booking a vacation rental, you have the right to expect a safe environment. Injuries from a slip and fall incident could leave you with the expensive cost of a trip to the emergency room, interrupt your vacation, or even cause you to have to abandon your plans.
What Are Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents at Vacation Rentals?
Injuries from a slip and fall accident can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious problems such as:
- Broken bones
- Sprained or strained ligaments and other soft tissue injuries
- Hip fractures
- Knee damage
- Wrist and hand injuries from trying to break your fall
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Back injuries such as herniated disks or fractured vertebrae from backwards falls
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from striking an object while falling or hitting your head on the ground
Even seemingly minor injuries can develop into more serious medical conditions that result in chronic pain, and recovery from some types of injuries can require multiple surgeries with follow-up physical rehabilitation.
What Are Some Causes of Vacation Rental Slip and Fall Accidents?
Vacation rentals have varying standards and are usually not inspected as often as hotel premises. Companies such as Airbnb do not check the safety of the listings carried by their website and instead rely on homeowners to complete a checklist of safety issues such as smoke alarms, occupancy limits, exposed wiring, and others. A poorly maintained vacation rental may have some of the following safety hazards that can cause a slip and fall accident:
- Loose carpeting
- Torn carpeting
- Uneven flooring
- Cracked tiles
- Broken stairs or loose steps
- Broken, loose, or missing handrails
- Floorboards with loose nails or screws
- Poor or broken lighting
- Leaking sinks or showers
- Uneven surfaces such as patios, driveways, walkways, or sidewalks
What Should I Do after a Slip and Fall Accident at a Vacation Rental?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at your vacation rental, the most important thing is to document what happened, keeping in mind that later the evidence may be removed from the property. This means taking as many photos or videos of the circumstances that caused it as possible. If you were outside and someone witnessed your fall, be sure to get their contact information in case you need their description of the accident later. Take photos of your injuries as well. Many slip and fall cases depend on evidence of the safety hazard and resulting injuries being well documented.
Seek medical care as soon as you can and tell the doctor about the circumstances of your accident and where it happened. Always ask for copies of any medical paperwork related to your accident.
Be sure to report your accident to the vacation rental company or host and keep copies of any correspondence with them.
Lastly, consult with an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss the circumstances of your accident and if you can be compensated for your injuries.
Proving Liability in a Vacation Rental Slip and Fall Accident
In any successful premises liability case, three things are necessary to show that negligence was a factor in the accident:
- That a safety hazard or dangerous condition existed and that the responsible party knew about or should have reasonably known about the safety hazard or dangerous condition.
- That the responsible party failed to fix or repair the problem. If the problem could not be immediately remedied, the responsible party failed to warn others about the safety hazard or dangerous condition.
- That your injuries from the slip and fall accident were a direct result of the safety hazard and were avoidable had the responsible party fixed or repaired the problem.
In the case of an Airbnb property, the homeowner’s insurance is what usually covers compensation for premises liability cases because the company does not provide insurance to the many properties listed on its website. It is a good idea to check what kind of personal injury insurance your vacation rental carries. Read reviews of the property to see if any mention safety issues before completing your booking. Be aware that if you contributed to the slip and fall accident in any way such as with reckless behavior, the owner may not be liable for your injuries.
Mount Laurel Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Help Clients with Premises Liability Matters
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at a vacation rental or anywhere else, the Mount Laurel slip and fall lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman can help. Our experienced and knowledgeable legal team will investigate your case thoroughly and fight to get you the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us at 856-751-2345 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Mount Laurel and surrounding areas.