Services such as AirBnB, Vrbo, and others have yielded significant changes in the way travelers make lodging arrangements when taking vacations

Services such as AirBnB, Vrbo, and others have yielded significant changes in the way travelers make lodging arrangements when taking vacations, going on business trips, or venturing away from home for just about any other reason.

Up until very recently, most people only had the option of choosing from the hotels or motels in the area they would be visiting when deciding where to stay.

That’s no longer the case. Now, it’s often possible to book a stay at an AirBnB or other such lodging option.

The benefits of doing so are numerous. Many of these spots are custom-designed to offer a unique experience that one cannot get from a standard hotel or motel chain. Additionally, although this is not always the case, staying at an AirBnB can be more affordable than staying at a hotel.

However, these services are still fairly new. That means the downsides of booking a room with AirBnB, Vrbo, or a similar platform are still being revealed.

For instance, although some AirBnBs consist merely of small rooms in a host’s house, there are also “luxury” AirBnBs in homes equipped with such features as residential elevators. Unfortunately, an alarming trend indicates these elevators may not be as safe for occupants as they should be.

Vacation Rental Home Elevators Causing Injuries & Deaths

The elevators in many vacation rental homes are not always as safe as the elevators one might encounter in a hotel or other such commercial setting. Often, there is a gap between the exterior or “hoistway” door and the inner door’s farthest point. In some instances, children have entered and closed the exterior doors without opening the inner doors. As a result, they have become trapped in the gap between the two. This can cause serious injury or death when the elevator begins to move.

Sadly, tragedies involving vacation rental elevators have already occurred. There have already been multiple cases of children as young as seven years of age being crushed to death in these gaps.

Such accidents have prompted action from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Specifically, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairman Robert Adler penned a letter to the owners and managers of AirBnB, Vrbo, and other such vacation rental companies asking them to assist in efforts to prevent such accidents from occurring in the future. The CPSC has also urged homeowners and property owners who rent their properties out to vacationers to do their part to ensure the safety of those to whom they rent.

According to Adler, the CPSC has already been coordinating with the manufacturers of these elevators to improve overall safety. However, that is not enough. Adler has recommended that both vacation rental companies and property owners disable their elevators until they have been properly inspected. This will prevent tragedies involving these elevators from happening when curious children explore vacation homes they may be visiting with their families.

Adler has recommended that both vacation rental companies and property owners disable their elevators until they have been properly inspected.

Legal Options for Families of Children Involved in Vacation Home Elevator Accidents

No family should have to lose a child or see their child sustain major injuries as a result of an accident involving an unsafe elevator at a vacation rental property. However, if this does occur, a family should at least know that they may be able to hold accountable home elevator manufacturers and installers by filing a claim or lawsuit.

It’s best for families who plan on taking legal action to coordinate with attorneys when doing so. First, it can be unclear in these circumstances who the liable parties may be.

For example, the CSPC has specifically noted that accidents involving residential elevators may be associated with the following companies:

Those companies may be liable for compensating the families of children involved in accidents with their elevators. However, depending on the specific nature of the circumstances, it may be more appropriate to assign liability to the vacation rental platform or the property owner who allowed a customer to unknowingly be put in harm’s way.

At Swartz & Swartz, P.C., whenever we take on new clients, we investigate their cases thoroughly to ensure we have accurately identified the negligent parties who may be held responsible for compensating them after tragic accidents. If your loved one has been harmed or lost their life in a residential elevator accident, we are prepared to identify the liable parties, gather evidence proving negligence, and offer the representation you need to seek justice.

Learn more about how we can help by calling us at (617) 742-1900 or contacting us online to schedule a free consultation.

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James Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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