Good night, sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.
No, seriously. We mean it.
There is no faster way to give a hotel a negative review on Yelp or TripAdvisor than to experience a bed bug infestation that results in bites on your body or on those in your family. There is nothing cheesy or quaint about these little critters.
The Damage of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs may be tiny citters, but they are not to be messed with or taken lightly. The presence of even a few bed bugs signals an unsanitary condition of bed sheets or the bed itself. And if those critters bite you, they can leave behind permanent scars and possibly the spread of bacteria or viruses that could cause sickness.
And if you consider how unsanitary the conditions have to be to enable the presence of bed bugs, some people could suffer psychological or emotional damage from the experience. While many states and municipalities have sanitation laws in place to prevent these cases, they still can occur on occasion. You don’t have to just suffer, however.
The Anatomy of a Bed-bug Lawsuit
Should you be a victi of a bed-bug infestation, you can file a personal-injury lawsuit, provided you are able to gather as much evidence and information as you can, and get an expert legal consultation with a law firm that specializes in personal-injury cases, and specifically bed-bug cases.
If you suspect you have been infested, make sure you take photos of your bites and injuries, the bed sheets and/or the mattress, and do a complete inspection of the room to look for bugs on the floor, walls or ceiling. If you are in a hotel or rental property of some kind, make sure you have a representative of the owner (if not the owner personally) to come inspect the space and file an official report, and demand a copy of the report for your records. If the location of the facility has a bed-bug ordinance or law in place, make sure you have the text of the law available and file a report with local law enforcement.
Making a Bed-bug Case
Sometimes, even if you have a caseload of evidence for a personal-injury claim, it can be difficult to know where to pin liability. There are some factors that go into filing a personal-injury lawsuit and having a decent chance of winning.
- First, you should have an accurate record of how many bites you suffered, and if there were anyone else in your party who was bitten. Multiple bites can mean that the problem has been there for a while, which leads to …
- Second, does the property owner have knowledge or a history of the infestation? Even if the owner didn’t know about the current problem, if he or she was aware of the problem previously, that could be used in the case as having prior knowledge; and
- Third, can you describe all of the injuries or damage you suffered? Note that damage doesn’t have to be limited to your physical scars or bites. A bed bug infestation can affect some people emotionally and psychologically, perhaps changing a person’s hygiene habits or developing an irrational fear about that location or that facility. Any changes to yourself that could be traced to the incident should be recorded as accurately as possible.
As you are working on making this case, always make sure you have a local personal-injury expert by your side to advise you as to your rights and help you complete and organize your incident investigation so the truth can be found and acceptable responsibility can be established. Bed bugs are small critters, but they can cause big problems, so don’t go blind into a case without knowing your rights and the right advice for your particular case.
Abraham Jaros, co-partner and founder of Jaroslawicz & Jaros PLLC, a New York City personal injury law firm. He began his career over 40 years ago and remembers the struggle of finding which area of law to practice as if it were yesterday. During his career as a personal injury lawyer he has tried hundreds of cases and won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients. When not in the court room he can be found writing to help inspire future lawyers everywhere.