Learn why property owners are liable for bedbug bites
Bedbugs used to be something you associated more with developing nations than with America. But in recent years, bedbugs have become a significant problem. The proliferation of bedbugs in America is often blamed on increased air travel from regions with bedbug problems. While this may have been true in the beginning, bedbugs are now being spread domestically, with people picking up the pests in hotels and apartments that have not been properly treated and then spreading the bedbugs to other places.
Property managers are expected to demonstrate a reasonable standard of care when it comes to keeping pests out of their properties. This includes bedbugs. If a facility has not been diligent about inspecting for bedbugs and treating them when they are found, they have not met the reasonable standard of care. If you are bitten by bedbugs at such a facility, you can seek compensation.
A Changing Attitude in the Courts
In the past, relatively few lawsuits based on bedbug bites were pursued, because the damages were perceived to be too low. Bedbug bites do not require costly medical treatment or result in significant lost income. However, bedbug bites do cause significant emotional distress. As juries have begun to recognize this fact and issue awards accordingly, bedbug lawsuits have become much more viable. Knowing that a jury will sympathize with victims of bedbug bites and sometimes issue six-figure awards, defendants in bedbug cases are now much more amenable to reaching reasonable settlement offers. Gone are the days when a bedbug-ravaged hotel guest was expected to accept a refund or a voucher for additional nights at a sister property as fair compensation for their suffering.
Winning Bedbug Cases
Hotel operators and apartment building managers will of course try to deny that they have bedbugs. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to disprove their claims and establish the following key points:
The victim was bitten on the property: If a victim wakes up during their first few nights at a property and suddenly has dozens of tiny red bites where before they had none, it’s pretty clear when and where they were bitten. The defense cannot then argue that the victim brought the bedbugs with them. In many cases, it is helpful to find other tenants or guests who have also been bitten on the property to establish that there really is a problem.
Management failed in their standard of care: Many major hotel chains—not to mention apartment complexes of all sizes—do not have any official policy for dealing with bedbugs. This makes it very difficult for them to show that they took all the steps necessary to protect guests and tenants, such as training housekeepers to identify signs of bedbugs, quarantining infested rooms, and getting outside extermination services. If these steps were not taken, they should liable for the victim’s damages.
Need Help with a Bedbug Case?
If you have been bitten by bedbugs—or suffered any other kind of injury due to the negligence of a property owner or manager, you need to contact a personal injury attorney. The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help. Call us at 800-333-0000 for a free consultation.