An Overview of Sexual AssaultSexual assault is any type of sexual contact/behavior without the consent of the victim. Sexual assault can come in the form of rape, attempted rape, fondling, unwanted sexual touching, groping, forcible sodomy, forcible penetration with an object, and basically any unwanted sexual activity. Any type of sexual activity performed without explicit consent is considered sexual assault. According to statistics provided by RAINNM, an American is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds – that comes to an average of more than 321,000 victims of sexual assault every year. Sexual assault is prominent – it can happen to anyone at any time.
Who is Typically Liable for Sexual Assaults?Liability for sexual assault typically depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. For example, if one person randomly targets and sexually assaults the victim, the attacker will be liable. If the victim and the attacker are coworkers and the employer was aware of past incidents that caused concern (and failed to take any action to prevent further incidents), the employer could be liable for the sexual assault. Likewise, if the victim is a patient and the attacker is a nurse in a hospital, the employer (the hospital) could be liable for the sexual assault. In employment, employers can be liable due to the failure to take preventative hiring measures (like background checks), to train their employees appropriately (preventative training, for example), to supervise their employees, and to take action when they become aware of incidents involving their employees, for instance. Liability for sexual assault is not always clear; in most cases, liability depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the attack.
What does Airbnb’s Insurance Coverage Offer for Guests who are Harmed?Airbnb offers insurance coverage for different circumstances. For example, Airbnb has a Host Protection Insurance program as well as Experience Protection Insurance program. The Host Protection Insurance program offers primarily liability coverage for any third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage in association with a stay at an Airbnb rental. Likewise, the Experience Protection Insurance program offers the same coverage albeit for incidents that happen on Airbnb experiences (activities hosted by the locals). The coverage provided by these Airbnb policies can reach up to $1,000,000. The policies offered by Airbnb only cover the harm or damages resulting directly from accidental incidents. Intentional acts, such any acts falling under the category of sexual assault, are not covered by the policies mentioned above.
Do You Have the Right to File a Sexual Assault Claim?You could file a sexual assault claim if you suffered any sort of sexual assault. Who could you file a claim against? Who could you sue? Without a doubt, you have the right to file a sexual assault claim against the party that sexually assaulted you. You can sue them for their malicious and intentional actions. Could you sue Airbnb for any harm that you suffered during your stay? As explained above, Airbnb has insurance coverage that covers harm that guests suffer; however, the coverage only applies to accidental harm meaning that the intentional act of sexual assault would not be covered. Does this mean that you cannot pursue a claim against Airbnb for the sexual assault that you suffered during your stay? Just because the terms of Airbnb’s insurance coverage state that they do not cover intentional acts does not mean that you cannot pursue a claim. Were you sexual assaulted because Airbnb allowed someone with a history of violent sexual crimes put up a listing on Airbnb? Were you sexually assaulted because your Airbnb host’s rental was unsafe (no locks on windows, no safety measures, etc.)? If the sexual assault that you suffered was a result of the negligent, malicious, or intentional actions of Airbnb, your Airbnb host, or an unaffiliated party, you might have grounds to pursue a claim. It is absolutely necessary that you seek legal assistance immediately to learn more about whether you could pursue a sexual assault claim.
What to do after a Sexual Assault?If you were sexually assaulted, there are a number of steps that you could take to ensure that your attacker is held accountable for his or her actions. Consider the following list of things that victims should do immediately after being sexually assaulted:
- Ensure that you are safe. Depending on the circumstances of your attack, you might be in an unsafe situation. Immediately go to safety – go anywhere that you feel safe enough to be able to calm down.
- Contact someone. Contact someone that you trust and tell them what you experienced. This should be someone who can offer you support without making you feel worse about the situation. If you cannot tell someone that you know, you could reach out to anonymous crisis hotlines to speak to someone.
- Seek medical attention. Depending on the specific sexual assault that you suffered, you might have some sort of injuries that need treatment. You could also seek medical attention (at a hospital or a rape center) to get a rape kit done (if you were raped). A rape kit is essential in collecting important evidence surrounding your sexual assault.
- File a police report. You will need to contact the authorities and file a report. You should provide the authorities with as much information as possible. This will essential allow them to investigate the incident and take action against your attacker.
- Take photos. In many cases, sexual assault could result in at least some sort of physical injuries, such as scratches and bruises, for example. Photographing the visible physical harm that you suffered will ensure that you capture important evidence.
- Seek legal assistance. You could pursue a claim against the party that sexually assaulted you as they intentionally subjected you to harm. If your claim reaches a successful outcome, you could also recover compensation.
Could You Be Compensated?You could receive some sort of compensation after you were sexually assaulted at an Airbnb. How much compensation could you receive? What type of compensation could you recover? Although the type and amount of compensation that you can receive depends on the specific details of your claim, some of the compensation that you could recover could include the following:
- Medical expenses – for all the costs associated with the medical attention necessary as a result of the sexual assault
- Lost earnings – for the lost income arising from the harm caused by the sexual assault
- Pain and suffering – for the mental and emotional distress caused by the sexual assault
- Loss of consortium – for the lost ability to have a normal, loving relationship with the victim of sexual assault (awarded to family members)
- Funeral and burial costs – for the costs associated with the death of the sexual assault victim either during the attack or after the attack (awarded to family members)
- Punitive damage – awarded as punishment to the defendant
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