Your stay in a hotel, rental property, school, and other facilities can be interrupted by bed bugs that pose health risks. As a victim, you are allowed by law to take legal action against property owners after you have been exposed to bed bugs at their properties. If bed bugs have bitten you, you can file a liability lawsuit to claim damages. This post walks you through everything you need to know about bed bug lawsuits.
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Can you sue for bed bugs?
You can sue for a premises liability lawsuit if you are attacked by bed bugs while staying at the rental property or a hotel. You can sue the property owner for medical expenses, emotional distress, pain, and suffering from bed bug attacks. This way, you can take legal action if you or your loved ones suffer injuries from bed bug bites.
Your premises liability lawsuit will be successful should you prove that the property owner was aware of bed bugs and did not inform you before renting. Also, you ought to verify that the property owner failed to take reasonable actions to prevent bed bug infestation at the property. However, the ability to sue property owners does not allow you to file a lawsuit immediately after you find a bed bug. You should inform the management first, whether it’s an apartment, hotel, or vacation home. You can sue for negligence if they don’t take the measures to provide a safe environment. Most bed bug lawsuits are against apartments and hotels infested. You, as the plaintiff, can designate a pest control company as a codefendant.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, bed bugs have become a severe challenge in most American hotels. Bed bug statistics reveal that 68% of hotels in the USA have bed bugs. According to Sackrin and Tolchinsky Attorneys at law, thousands of premises liability lawsuits have been filed against infested hotels and rental properties nationwide, with most coming from Florida. Hotels in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale in Florida have the highest concentration of bed bug claims activities. The average settlement amount for bed bug-induced damages is $20,000.00. A whooping amount hotels have to forego if found guilty.
Things you should do before filing a lawsuit
You can seek compensation for harm arising from bed bugs, but the burden of proof is yours. This means that you must take some steps to ensure that you have a strong case. Here are some things that you should do if you intend to file a bed bug lawsuit:
Be sure that bed bugs have bitten you
First, are you sure bed bugs or other pesky creatures bit you? It would help if you were sure about what bit you before filing a lawsuit. Check the bed, bedding, etc. Examine the immediate surroundings for bed bugs.
You can also investigate the nature of bites you have on you. Bed bugs tend to bite in a pattern and are easily distinguishable. However, to succeed in your lawsuit, you must prove bed bug existence at the property. So, you must probe the hotel room for bed bugs, eggs, exoskeletons, reddish stains, and dark spots on sheets and mattresses.
Document your evidence
Documenting evidence is vital since it’s required during court processes. Please record your proof effectively. You can retain your case if you fail to report your bed bug bites. Take pictures of bed bug bites, actual bed bugs, and signs of bed bugs. Taking photographs and other evidence is essential since it proves the existence and attack of bed bugs. Prosecutors may use your evidence to determine the amount of settlement offered.
Capturing your videos and pictures in real-time will serve your interests. Documenting your evidence helps you get the best deal. You must prove that the hotel management or property owner has been negligent.
Seek the services of an experienced bed bug lawyer
Whatever the case, if you are planning on hiring an attorney, consider getting the most experienced on-premises liability lawsuits. They are the most suited and acquainted to help you bring your claims and recover damages.
Experienced lawyers are well acquainted with premises liability matters and can best advise you on all you need to do before taking claims to a court of law. You can leverage their expertise to reduce potential confusion during court hearings. The lawyers can also advise on the types of compensation you are eligible for. Having the proper legal representation is your best bet.
Possible claims in a bed bug lawsuit
You can file one or several claims in a court of law if you are a victim of bed bugs. Whether it is a hotel or a rental property, you can file one, a few, or all of the following causes of action:
Intentional infliction of emotional stress
To sue for intentional infliction of emotional distresses, you must prove that:
- The defendant’s conduct was despicable
- The defendant intended to cause emotional stress by showing recklessness
- The sufferings endured were directly caused by the defendant’s recklessness.
The main advantage of suing for Intentional infliction of emotional stress is recovering punitive damages. However, this is inapplicable under ordinary negligence.
According to the Shause Injury Law Group, to file a nuisance claim against a property owner, you must prove the following set of actions:
- The landlord’s actions or failure to act directly interfered with the plaintiff’s ability to enjoy the rented property.
- The actions or the inactions directly led to the plaintiff sustaining substantial damages.
- The interferences by the landlord could have been more feasible and reasonable in terms of duration, nature, and amount.
Breach of contract
Businesses or commercial entities with consequential damages mainly file breach of contract lawsuits due to bed bug infestation. Consequential damages may include loss of clientele base and revenue. However, you can file a breach of contract lawsuit if:
- In the existence of contracts such as leasing and renting agreements;
- That you performed your duties such as paying rent;
- That the landlord breached the contract and;
- The breach of contract caused the plaintiff damages that resulted in moving out to new premises, incurring extermination costs, and purchase of new equipment.
Breach of warranty of habitability
Property owners and hotel managers are legally obligated to maintain their premises in a hospitable condition. This implies that the property should be free from defects that jeopardize the health and safety of its clients.
You can sue your landlord or property owner for breach of warranty of habitability if:
- If the property has a defective condition that affects its hospitability
- If you have provided notice to the landlord with a reasonable time to rectify it.
- You have suffered damages due to the faulty condition
You can sue the property owner or the management of the hotel for negligence if:
- If you were indebted to a duty of care
- If the property owner did something that a reasonable person would not do under similar circumstances
- If the property owner failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances
- The harm inflicted was predictable.
You can sue the property manager or landlord for fraud should they inform you of bed bugs at their properties. However, you must prove they knew about the infestation and chose not to tell you.
Possible damages in a bed bug lawsuit
Bed bug lawsuits can go both ways. If your host believes you brought bed bugs into their property, they can sue you. On the other hand, you can get a claim against your host if you suffer harm from bed bugs. Depending on the complainant, damages for bed bugs include the following:
- The cost of exterminating bed bug infestations.
- Cost for property and goods damages
- Emotional distress and mental illnesses sustained
- Counseling cost
- Pain and suffering endured due to bed bugs
- Associated medical bills
- Reduction in wages
- Future pain and suffering due to past experiences with bed bugs
- Other related costs incurred due to bed bug infestations
The million-dollar question is, does your bed bug case worth it? The answer to this case is pegged on many factors determining your lawsuit’s success. These factors include ascertaining whether bed bugs attacked the premise, documenting the claim, and liaising with an experienced attorney. However, hope isn’t lost since there are lists of several claims in a bed bug lawsuit. You can choose one depending on the damage endured.
Is it possible to sue for bed bug bites?
Yes, it is possible to sue for bed bug bites. Property owners and hotel managers are legally obligated to maintain their premises in a hospitable condition.
What does the statute of limitations dictate concerning bed bug lawsuits?
It states that all bed bug bites victims are eligible for monetary compensation for all damages. This includes medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages and incomes, and pain and suffering damages.
Where can I find a bed bug lawyer?
You can find bed bug lawyers on the internet by visiting their websites. Also, you can visit the nearest law firm in your location and ask for premises liability lawsuit expertise.