Airbnb hit by legal challenge following balcony collapse

Airbnb hit by legal challenge following balcony collapse

Four friends who were left seriously injured when the balcony they were standing on collapsed have threatened Airbnb with legal action after the accommodation sharing website refused to admit liability for the incident.

Harry Dee, 26, was impaled on a railing after falling two storeys from the flat in Brighton, which was described on Airbnb as having a “balcony with a sea view”.

Jessica Paterson, 30, shattered her pelvis in three places while Claire Corfield, 32, broke her back and severed an artery, losing five pints of blood. Alexander Browning, 30, broke his wrist in four places and suffered facial injuries.

They were among a larger group who had rented the flat to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Five were standing on the balcony sipping prosecco when it gave way.

Neither Airbnb nor the property owner has admitted liability.

Dee told The Guardian: “We have asked them for help. I would have liked my missing wages accounted for. But they just didn’t do anything at all.”

He said he had been forced to move out of his rented flat because he is a self-employed carpenter and can no longer afford it.

Airbnb has suggested that the group make a claim through its host protection insurance, which it says covers up to £800,000 for each booking.

But the victims’ lawyer does not think this is adequate compensation.

Browning said: “We want acknowledgment of suffering, a recognition of responsibility and liability. It should be easy for a company with a valuation of $25 billion.”

A spokeswoman for Airbnb said: “As soon as we were aware of the incident, we reached out to the guests to provide support.”

The company declined to comment further.

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