Brain injury at Texas vacation property raises liability question

During the holidays, many families are planning trips around the country to meet with loved ones. For some families, it is more convenient to meet at a location that is central to them all, staying in a hotel or other vacation property. That convenience may come at a high cost

When you check into a hotel, you can feel pretty confident that your accommodations will be safe since hotels may face liability claims if a guest injured on the property. But many vacationers are choosing another trend, renting another person’s house or vacation home. Unlike hotels, the liability questions when an accident occurs are largely unanswered.

A tragic accident recently happened in Texas which is an example of that issue. In 2013, a man rented a cottage through Airbnb for his family to gather for Thanksgiving. The photos of the home depicted, according to the renter, “the essence of leisure, of Southern hospitality, of escape,” represented in part by a rope swing hanging from a tree. Unfortunately before the Thanksgiving weekend was over, that rope swing caused a tragedy.

According to the renter’s description of the accident, the trunk that the swing was tied to broke while his father was on the swing and hit the father in the head, causing immediate brain damage and, ultimately, death. The son has since tried to bring renters’ attention to the dangers of these properties, as well as Airbnb’s potential liability or lack thereof. Over 60 million guests have stayed in the over 2 million properties listed on Airbnb.

While Airbnb disclaims any liability for such accidents, it has taken several measures to increase its profits. One is that, due to its concerns about the owners of properties listed posting “really bad” photographs, it started offering the services of professional photographers to its hosts at no charge. After the program was started in New York, revenue doubled.  A photograph of a welcoming rope swing at a property designed for a family gathering may well be the type of image that would attract vacationers to the property. But does that impute liability to Airbnb?

Vacations are supposed to be happy times making cherished memories. But accidents can happen resulting in tragic consequences. If a loved one has been injured while at a vacation property in Texas, an attorney experienced in these claims can help solve negligence and liability issues.

Source:, “Man’s Freak Accident Death at an Airbnb Might Make You Rethink How Safe It Is,” Sebastian Dillon, Nov 9, 2015

Secondary Source: Inc., “Airbnb’s Massive, Looming Safety Problem, and How to Solve It,” Jeff Bercovici, Nov. 9, 2015