Bed bug lawsuits are more common than you might think because bed bug infestations are more common than you might think. You will need a personal injury attorney to fight a bed bug liability claim because, in most cases, the victim (plaintiff) must go after a large business owner or a corporation (such as a hotel or property owner) after suffering bed bug infestation that resulted in serious injury and maybe even permanent scarring and emotional trauma.
Bed bugs have been known to attack people in these locations, just to name a few:
- Movie theaters
- Hotel rooms
- Senior living facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living centers
- Homeless shelters
Notable Bed Bug Claim Awards
As with any personal injury claim in which serious harm led to costly expenses like medical care and lost wages, bed bug cases often result in large monetary awards; here are some of the most notable bed bug cases in recent years:
- In 2010, a Southern California family was awarded $1.6 million against the owner of their apartment building after a bed bug infestation left their infant child with permanent scarring.
- Park La Brea Apartments had to pay 16 tenants a total of $3.5 million for medical costs incurred following a bed bug infestation; individual awards to tenants ranged from $34,000 to over $470,000.
- A southern California hotel had to pay over $540,000 to an Arkansas family after they awoke to bites and rashes all over their bodies after only a few hours of sleeping in the hotel’s beds. Even more disturbing is the fact that in this case, the hotel manager knew about the bed bug infestation but did not disclose the problem to the guests.
Uninvited Creepy Crawlies
If you’ve never seen a bed bug, count yourself lucky. After reading this article, you may never stay in a hotel again, but if you do, here’s what you need to know. According to WebMD, bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans; they have flat bodies about the size of a small seed, but after feeding, their bodies swell up and turn a reddish color. If you’re not yet cringing, just wait for it…
Bed bugs don’t fly, but that doesn’t stop them from getting everywhere they want to go. They move very quickly around floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bed bugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime. You can imagine how quickly a bed bug “problem” can turn into a bedbug “infestation” with so many eggs. Immature bed bugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Shockingly, they do not transmit disease, but they are quite a nuisance, to say the least.
Some Bedbugs Facts to Know
Because bed bugs live solely on blood, the amount of dirt in a location does not matter with these critters. They will thrive in a clean home just as well as they will thrive in a dirty home. Cleanliness has nothing to do with having a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged. One reason that bedbugs can wreak havoc on a human is that the bites are painless at first, but later, those bites will turn into itchy, red, inflamed welts. And unlike fleas that usually bite around human ankles, bed bugs will attack any exposed skin they find on sleeping humans.
Landlord and Hotel Liability in Bed Bug Cases
By law, landlords are required to keep their rental properties safe and free from dangerous conditions for their tenants. The implied “warranty of habitability” is a phrase used to describe the laws that landlords must follow to ensure their apartments are habitable and that they don’t violate health codes. If a landlord allows a rental property to become infested with bedbugs, he may be liable to the tenant for damages.
A landlord may also be liable to a tenant for injuries suffered from a bed bug infestation if the landlord knew that there was a problem but did nothing to remedy the situation. If a landlord failed to properly clean, replace used carpet, or repair an apartment that was infested, he may be liable.
Hotel owners and operators are also required by law to keep their hotels safe and clean for guests. If a hotel owner allows their hotel to become infested with bed bugs, he may be negligent and responsible for paying for any injuries to their guests.
Hotel owners may also be negligent they’re aware of a problem with bed bugs and do nothing to fix the problem or warn guests about the bugs.
In some situations, it may be difficult for a hotel guest to prove that their bed bug bite injuries came from the hotel room itself, and not from a different location. People may not even notice they have bed bug bites until several days after leaving a hotel. For reasons such as this, it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side after a bed bug attack outside your home.
Bedbugs Personal Injury Claims
If you or a loved one has suffered a bedbug infestation in a public place, please contact a personal injury attorney in your area today who handles these cases. Since emotional distress is a crucial element of any bedbug lawsuit, make sure you note symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness, fear, or an obsessive need to clean yourself and your surroundings. Bedbug victims often report years of emotional trauma, and many never fully recover emotionally from their horrifying bedbug experience.
Keep track of any damage to personal property by the bed bug infestation. Clothing, furniture, luggage, backpacks, sheets, pillows, and mattresses that were infested with bedbugs will need to be thrown out, and it’s important for you to keep track of any and all financial losses you suffer due to the infestation.