South Carolina’s beaches, fishing, and golfing opportunities draw millions of out-of-state visitors each year to the state. A popular alternative to staying in hotels for tourists is renting a vacation home. Beach destinations such as Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, and others along South Carolina’s coast are lined with beach homes that provide visitors with the opportunity to take in beautiful ocean views while having direct access to the beaches. With the proliferation of vacation rental sites online, many tourists choose to reserve vacation homes in South Carolina for increased comfort and privacy. Many people rent vacation homes by using popular sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway. Others rent homes directly from property owners or property management companies.
If you are injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident while renting a vacation home in South Carolina, you might be left with injuries and be forced to recuperate far from home. When your injuries occurred in a vacation home, however, you might not know where to turn to seek compensation. Here is some information from the attorneys at the Myrtle Beach injury attorneys at the Lovely Law Firm about slip and fall accidents in South Carolina vacation rentals.
- Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
- Slip, Trip, and Fall Laws
- Suing In A Vacation Home Slip, Trip or Fall Accident
- Host Liability Insurance
- Statute of Limitations
- Types Of Compensation
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents Near You in South Carolina Vacation Rentals
While property on the beaches of South Carolina provides great views and unparalleled access to top destinations, it also must be carefully maintained. The salty beach air along South Carolina’s coast can cause deterioration effects and increased rust in beachfront homes. Unfortunately, property management companies frequently fail to attend to necessary maintenance and instead focus on renting the properties out quickly so they can collect commissions. Owners of second homes along South Carolina’s beaches who rent them out might also fail to check on their properties to ensure they remain in good condition.
These issues can lead to the following common causes of slip or trip and fall accidents in South Carolina beachfront vacation rentals:
- Rotted, rusted, or broken stair railings
- Faulty decks
- Broken or deteriorated stairs
- Building code violations
- Rotted wood
- Interior maintenance issues
- Deteriorated or broken walkways
There could be other reasons for slip, trips, and falls by negligent property owners as outlined in the video below:
Slip, Trip, and Fall Laws in South Carolina
Property owners, operators, and landlords owe a duty of care to people who are lawfully present on their premises in South Carolina to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe and hazard-free condition. This legal duty is meant to protect lawful visitors from suffering foreseeable injuries because of known dangers that exist on a property and also includes a duty to correct hazards that the owners, operators, or landlords should reasonably have known about.
When visitors are injured by dangerous conditions on the premises that the property owners knew or should reasonably have known about, the owners can be liable to pay compensation.
Who Do You Sue In A Vacation Home Slip, Trip or Fall Accidents in South Carolina?
When you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident while staying in a vocational rental in South Carolina, it can be difficult to figure out who to sue to recover compensation. The liable party or parties that should be named will depend on the type of homeowner’s insurance the property owner purchased. Most traditional homeowners’ insurance policies exclude accidents that occur when a home is being rented as a vacation rental because they involve commercial use of the home. For coverage, the homeowner should have purchased a type of insurance coverage for commercial uses of the property. If the homeowner has this type of coverage, you can file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance policy. If the homeowner doesn’t have a specialized type of insurance to cover liability when renting the home, you might still be able to recover compensation by filing a claim directly against the property owner.
Property management companies should verify the homeowners have the right types of coverage and list the management companies as additional insureds on their policies. When a property management company has failed to keep up with maintenance and correct dangerous conditions that could cause foreseeable injuries, the company might also be named as a defendant and share liability with the homeowner.
If you rented the home as a short-term rental through a popular online site such as Airbnb or Vrbo/HomeAway, you might be able to access these providers’ host protection insurance. These online providers offer host protection insurance coverage of up to $1 million for injuries caused by the host’s negligence. Host protection insurance does not cover accident injuries caused by your negligence, however. Many slips or trips and falls in vacation rentals in South Carolina are caused by the homeowner’s negligence and should be covered by host protection insurance, including defective stairs, railings, deteriorated walkways, poor lighting, defective decks, and others.
Understanding Host Liability Insurance In South Carolina
Here is some information about host protection insurance from Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway and what they cover and exclude.
Property owners who list their vacation rentals on Airbnb can purchase coverage of $1 million to cover incidents in which guests are injured while visiting the property. This coverage excludes the following types of incidents and losses:
- Injuries resulting from intentional acts
- Physical/sexual assaults, abuse, molestation, and battery
- Wage and income losses
- Advertising injuries
- Injuries caused by bacteria or fungi
- Product liability
- Lead or asbestos
- Pollution injuries
- Chinese drywall
- Terrorist acts
In 2006, HomeAway acquired VRBO, and both were subsequently acquired by Expedia in 2015. Vrbo/HomeAway offers homeowners optional liability coverage of up to $1 million for injuries suffered by guests.
The optional coverage excludes injuries caused by the following:
- Watercraft, automobile, or aircraft accidents
- Losses caused by electronic data/hacking
- Injuries caused by intentional acts
- Advertising injuries
- Injuries to contractors or employees
- Product liability
- Losses caused by distribution and recording materials
- Acts of war
Per Occurrence Coverage
For Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, the optional liability coverage is per occurrence rather than per injured guest. This means that if you and four friends suffer injuries in a deck collapse while visiting a South Carolina beachfront vacation rental through Airbnb, the maximum coverage available to the five of you will be $1 million for all of the injuries you have suffered. This means that the coverage might not be enough to cover all of your injuries. An experienced attorney will search for all applicable recovery sources to help you recover the compensation to which you should be entitled.
Statute of Limitations for Vacation Rental Slip-and-Fall Claims In South Carolina
South Carolina has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This is a law that sets a deadline for the time to file a lawsuit. The state’s statute of limitations is found in S.C. Code § 15-3-530. Under this law, you must file a lawsuit no later than three years after your slip or trip and fall accident in a South Carolina vocational rental property. If you do not file your lawsuit within the limitations period, your claim will be time-barred. This means that the court will dismiss your case, leaving you without legal recourse to recover damages. In rare situations, the statute of limitations might be tolled, meaning that there might be more time to file a lawsuit. To learn more about the exceptions to the statute of limitations, you should speak to an experienced South Carolina injury lawyer.
While most slip-and-fall accident claims can be resolved short of filing a formal lawsuit, you should make sure that you keep the option available just in case you can’t reach a reasonable settlement offer. It is best for you to hire an attorney as soon as possible after your accident instead of waiting. When you retain a lawyer quickly, your attorney will have time to thoroughly investigate your case and gather the evidence before it can be spoliated or lost to protect your rights.
What Types of Compensation Is Available?
If you suffer serious injuries in a slip or trip and fall accident in South Carolina, the available compensation will depend on the nature of your injuries, your likelihood of fully recovering, the property owner’s conduct, and other factors. Some of the types of compensatory damages that might be available include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses to treat your injuries
- Past and future rehabilitation expenses
- Income losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Property losses
In rare cases, punitive damages might be recoverable. However, these types of damages are generally only awarded in situations in which the property owner’s conduct was particularly outrageous and are rarely available.
Consult an Experienced Slip, Trip, And Fall Injury Lawyer Near You
If you sustained serious injuries in a slip or trip and fall accident while renting a beachfront vacation rental in South Carolina, you should talk to an experienced local attorney at The Lovely Law Firm in Myrtle Beach. We have helped many people recover compensation over our years of practice and can help you understand your rights. Call us for a free consultation today at (843) 281-7452.
What A Happy Client Says About The Lovely Law Firm on Google
“The member at this firm are amazing! They take good care of you and keep you in the loop. The Lovely Law Firm us a blessing for me. They treated me like I was family and took good care of me in my time of need. I can’t thank them enough.”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Kay Alexander
We’re proud of our team’s hard work, resulting in a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Google