An overnight stay in a bedbug-infested hotel room sounds horrible, right? Here's something worse: bringing them home with you from a trip in your purse, clothes, or other luggage. If it happens to you, is it good cause for a personal injury lawsuit? Absolutely. This is what you should know.
What Are They? (And Why Are They Suddenly Such A Problem?)
Bedbugs are small, brown bugs that survive on the blood of humans and animals. Their eggs are no bigger than dust specks, making them nearly invisible and easily transported through furniture, clothing, and even electronics. They can live for a year without eating, and they're a problem that's been growing since their resurgence in the 1990's.
Bedbugs had been largely eradicated in the United States, due to the use of the pesticide DDT. However, DDT is no longer used and various social changes have combined with the lack of an effective pesticide to cause the bedbug's resurgence. Worse, there are also indications that the bugs may have developed some resistance to ordinary pesticides, making them harder to kill than ever.
What Damage Can A Few Bugs Do?
Bedbugs leave painful welts where they bite and suck your blood. Afterwards, they hide in any dark crevice they can find, leaving you with nothing but bites and blood marks on your sheets. They're typically nocturnal, and will quickly migrate from your bed to other parts of the house
A bedbug infestation can cause a great deal of economic damage to a household, very easily. Costs that can arise from a bedbug infestation include:
- blood stained sheets, pillowcases and clothing, which have to be replaced
- tracks from the insect excrement on fabric and walls, which have to be painted
- a foul odor from their scent glands that has to be professionally removed
- a need for repeated exterminations in order to get rid of the pests
- the need to replace mattresses, couches, and other contaminated furniture
- the need for repeated doctor visits to treat the bug bites
- the need for vet visits, if you have pets, to treat bug bites on your animals
- missed time at work due to doctor visits and exterminator appointments
In addition, there's an element of pain and suffering involved, for which you should be compensated. A bedbug infestation can be absolutely draining, emotionally as well as physically, by the time you get it under control!
What Should You Do If You Know You've Been Bitten?
If you're aware (or suspect) that you've been bitten by bedbugs, do the following:
- Seek medical attention. Bedbug bites can be extremely painful and many people have allergic reactions to them. Go to a clinic or hospital for treatment and take photos of your injuries.
- Look for evidence of infestation at the hotel. Check beneath the sheets, between the mattress and box spring, and under the box springs. Take photos of any bugs that you find.
- Contact the hotel manager and file an injury report. Make sure you note the manager's name and contact information and the name of the person who was responsible for cleaning the room prior to your stay.
- Bag all your personal belongings, especially clothing, in plastic bags so that you can try to keep any bugs or eggs from transferring from the hotel to your home.
Bedbug infestations are becoming more and more common, and even nice hotels aren't immune. But it can be difficult for you to get a hotel chain to take responsibility for the problem, especially if the hotel is eager to avoid potential lawsuits from other guests. You may need an attorney to negotiate with the hotel in order to fully recover for your damages, so talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about your claim.
For more information, contact Hansen Law, PLLC or a similar firm.Share