Three Americans were found dead last October at a Mexico City Airbnb. The group had traveled to Mexico ahead of the Dia de Los Muertos festivities on November 1, which they’d planned to attend.
Autopsies confirmed their cause of death to be carbon monoxide poisoning. The victims’ mothers have hired an Atlanta-based attorney who cites a broken water heater as the source of the toxic fumes. Other sources report the water heater may have been improperly installed.
Victim’s boyfriend requested a wellness check
According to a report by WAVY.com, before her death, one of the victims was speaking on a phone call with her boyfriend, who was not traveling with the group. The victim told her boyfriend that she was feeling ill, and she commented that she felt something did not seem “right”.
After the call suddenly dropped, the victim’s boyfriend contacted the vacation rental host when he was unable to reach the victim by phone. The police arrived at the rental and immediately noticed the stench of gas before discovering the travelers, who were unresponsive.
Vacation rental lacked a carbon monoxide detector
According to the victims’ mothers, the vacation rental did not have a carbon monoxide detector to alert occupants in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.
Airbnb claims that it offers carbon monoxide detectors to eligible hosts who list properties on the vacation rental platform. The vacation rental startup also claims to have issued more than 200,000 carbon monoxide detectors to date.
The victims’ mothers say they intend to file a lawsuit against Airbnb.
Possible implications for Airbnb
Cases involving deaths at properties listed on peer-to-peer vacation rental platforms raise legal questions for Airbnb and similar businesses. With properties listed by local hosts around the world, Airbnb may be required to monitor listed properties more closely.
Ensuring compliance on properties on nearly every continent presents practical challenges. Possible solutions may include requiring hosts to provide photo evidence as proof of compliance with strict safety standards 24 hours before a new guest checks into a property.
If the courts rule against victims’ families in personal injury accidents that occur on Airbnb properties, Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms may not be required to increase monitoring and safety requirements.
Let’s take a look at the differences between workers’ compensation and personal injuries to see if you are entitled to benefits.
Overall, the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Mexico City Airbnb rental property can potentially shape the legal duty sharing economy platforms like Airbnb owe their customers.
Negligence-based lawsuits require the plaintiff to prove the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the injured party. If a court finds that Airbnb did not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the vacation rental in which the 3 American travelers were poisoned, sharing economy platforms may be required to do more.
Because cases involving vacation deaths are increasingly gaining public scrutiny, sharing economy vacation rental platforms may find themselves implementing detailed safety standards and compliance measures to bring added peace of mind to their guests.
Increasing their efforts may also increase the likelihood that vacation rental platforms will prevail in future personal injury lawsuits that are similar in nature.
Contact an experienced Georgia attorney
At Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, we believe that everyone deserves to be in a safe and secure environment—whether you’re on vacation, at home or at work. We encourage you to do your research before booking any vacation rental and explore your rights if you or a loved one is injured because of someone else’s negligence.
If you live in the Atlanta area and you experience a work-related injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys to help with your claim. Our attorneys have more than 75 years of experience helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve.