Who’s Responsible for a Dog Bite During an Airbnb Stay?

Apr. 21st, 2015   /   , ,

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Our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers know that for the last few years, locations all over the world have been touched by Airbnb’s innovative hospitality services. With all of the cost-effectiveness, ease and excitement associated with booking a stay in a room, apartment or house, some of the more unpleasant hypotheticals tend to go overlooked.

For instance, our personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know that a not-so-straightforward legal issue arises in the question of who is responsible for damages when a guest is bitten by a dog during an Airbnb stay.

When Airbnb got started, it, in many ways, looked the other way in the midst of local regulations barring private individuals from renting out space in their own homes in a manner similar to how private car-hailing services hit the ground running without paying much attention to the local regulations. The fact was (and is) that the public embraced the services and many of the local rules which might have initially posed a threat to the viability of the companies were amended or adjusted such that the companies no longer had a legal headache when it came to local ordinances.

One area that’s stayed murky for Airbnb, both as a company and as a collection of hosts, is insurance law. Many insurance companies, as our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers know, threaten to cancel the homeowners and renters insurance policies of individuals who use their homes for hosting purposes (i.e., who list rooms or beds in their homes for rent on hospitality exchange services such as Airbnb). Insurance companies know that with the increase in occupancy in the home, especially by individuals who are not well known to the homeowners and holders of the policy, the risk of an incident requiring an insurance claim – for example, the risk of an unfamiliar guest being bitten by a watchful dog – rises considerably.

This is why they’ve warned homeowners or renters against operating a business (including renting beds or rooms on Airbnb) in the home or apartment they want covered. Airbnb now does provide insurance coverage for all of its hosts, but the insurance provided by Airbnb is strictly secondary, meaning they’ll encourage you to (make you) go after your own insurance company first (whether it be homeowners, renters, etc.) to cover the damages in the event of a dog bite incident.

Florida law is clear about who is liable when a dog bites somebody on your property. Florida State Statute 767.04 holds that if somebody is lawfully on your property, and your dog bites that person and causes an injury, you are responsible (unless you had an easily readable sign with the words “Bad Dog” displayed prominently and you didn’t act negligently in causing the dog to bite the person). Despite the ability to pinpoint who is legally liable for the damages, the real question is who to go after to cover the damages, and that’s exactly why hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you in a dog bite case is critical. Knowing who is liable is less than half the battle; determining who is responsible for covering the damages on behalf of that liable individual, and successfully demonstrating that that part is responsible, is the most important part of any personal injury dog bite case.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog during a visit to or stay at another’s home, please contact our experienced Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green by calling 561-266-9191 or by emailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you. 

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