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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Recent Airbnb Assault Case Sheds Light on Company’s Multi-Million Dollar Payout System

July 9, 2021 in

Airbnb is a popular short-term vacation rental company that offers alternatives to the traditional hotel experience. Hosts have the ability to place a full home or apartment, guest suite or section of their home up on the online marketplace as a temporary rental. According to Airbnb, about two million people stay in their rentals every night.


When you book your Airbnb rental for a vacation, you are placing your trust in both Airbnb and the host that you will be safe and secure. You are not expecting to be placed in an unsafe situation, let alone a life-threatening one. Below, our attorneys cover the sexual assault incident that led to a seven million dollar payout from Airbnb, a decision that has led to nationwide scrutiny over the way the company handles assault allegations. 


Airbnb Spends $50 Million a Year in Payouts


According to a recent article published by the New York Post, Airbnb pays roughly $50 million annually to guests in settlements and to hosts for property damage. There have been reports of assault on Airbnb guests by hosts, including guests who have had to flee their Airbnb rental or hide to protect themselves from a host. In the case of such an emergency, Airbnb has a team of safety agents in place to arrange alternate lodging arrangements, offer support to distraught guests, as well as to formulate the first steps of a plan for reaching a settlement. 


However, after recent settlements have been brought to light, it is unclear whether Airbnb prioritizes the health and safety of guests, or if their department of safety agents serve as a veiled way to cover up assault allegations and prevent any potential reputation damage. 


Airbnb Pays NYC Traveler $7 Million After Sexual Assault by Host


In a sexual assault case that occured in a New York City Airbnb in 2016, a guest was allegedly raped at knifepoint by a stranger who had an unauthorized key to the rental. It is unknown how the man obtained the keys to the Airbnb property. 


According to Bloomberg, “the woman’s lawyer, Jim Kirk at the Kirk Firm, negotiated a $7 million settlement two years after the alleged assault that prevents her from blaming or suing Airbnb or the apartment’s host”


The $7 million settlement was one of the biggest payouts Airbnb had ever made. You can read more about the incident and the events that followed here.


Airbnb’s Insurance Policy


Airbnb does carry insurance for both guests and hosts, however, it typically applies only to accidental incidents. The insurance does not always apply when intentional acts of harm occur.


Victims who have suffered harm as a direct result of malicious intent can file claims directly against the hosts themselves, but not against Airbnb. For instance, if the host subjected you to rape or sexual assault, you could sue the host.


If You are a Victim, Know Your Next Steps


The fallout of a sexual assault can be overwhelming and exhausting for a victim. It is important that victims understand what they should do following an attack to ensure proper justice can be reached. Below is important information regarding what to do next if you are assaulted while staying at an Airbnb:


  • Seek medical assistance if necessary
  • Take photos of where the attack occurred
  • Collect photographic evidence of your injuries
  • File a police report
  • File the incident with Airbnb
  • Gather witness information where possible
  • Contact a lawyer


Contact the Airbnb Assault Lawyers at SPBMCC Today


Sexual assault is something no one should have to endure. While monetary compensation cannot heal all wounds caused by an assault, it can aid with the financial burden of medical bills and counseling. If you or a loved one is the victim of assault by an Airbnb host, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your pain and suffering. We urge you to contact our team about your potential case so you have the highest possible chance of a successful outcome. Contact us to schedule a free consultation by calling (212) 732-9000 or by filling out the form below.

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Our fee is on a contingency basis. If we don’t recover money for you, we will never charge you. If you are unable to come to any of our offices, we are happy to visit you at home or in the hospital.

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