Landlords and hotels in Maryland have a legal duty to ensure that living accommodations are reasonably safe for guests and residents. If you were bitten by bed bugs at your apartment or hotel room in Baltimore, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Compensation may be available for your medical treatment costs, property damage caused by the bed bugs, pain and suffering, loss of income, and other losses you suffered due to the infestation. To talk confidentially about filing a bed bug injury claim in Maryland, call the Baltimore bed bug lawyers of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online today.
How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are brown, partially transparent insects with six legs, no wings or stingers, and conical, piercing mouthparts designed to suck blood from their hosts. Their most distinctive feature is their shape and size, which changes dramatically while the bed bug is feeding, not unlike a tick. In its unfed state, a bed bug is oval-shaped when viewed from above, but flat when viewed from the side. While feeding, the bed bug’s body changes into a tubular, cigar-like shape, expanding from just a few millimeters to roughly one quarter of an inch.
Identifying Bed Bug Bites
Not all people are affected the same way by bed bug bites. Reactions range from nonexistent to extremely severe, though most individuals fall somewhere toward the middle of the spectrum. Typically, bite victims will develop small, pink, itchy welts within several days of being bitten. These welts, which can be clustered randomly or arranged in straight lines, may later produce oozing, painful blisters.
Due to variations in bite responses, it is important to be diagnosed by a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can rule out other causes, such as fleas or skin rashes, and recommend a course of medical treatment to help alleviate your discomfort while the bites heal.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation at Your Hotel or Apartment
Unfortunately, hotels and landlords cannot always be counted on to disclose recent or current bed bug infestations. To protect yourself, it is wise to inspect any hotel room or apartment unit before unpacking your luggage or signing a lease. Warning signs that bed bugs are infesting a hotel or apartment include:
- Dark, irregular stains on your mattress or bedding, potentially caused by crushed bed bugs or their feces
- Molted skins or egg cases on your mattress
- Unpleasant odors that seem sweet or musty, potentially caused by bed bug pheromones
Keep in mind that, despite their name, bed bugs can be found virtually anywhere in your hotel room or apartment. Insects may be visible on walls or ceilings, on drapes or curtains, on or beneath furniture, or even around electrical outlets.
Are Bed Bugs Harmful?
There is a common misconception that bed bug bites are “just” itchy. Unfortunately, the medical consequences can be more serious than some temporary discomfort. In addition to being itchy, bed bug bites can also trigger or lead to conditions such as:
- Anaphylaxis – Anaphylaxis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening allergic response marked by effects such as facial swelling, weakness, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
- Bacterial Skin Infections – Open wounds and scabs from bed bug bites can become infected. Infections connected to bed bug bites include lymphangitis, impetigo, cellulitis, and ecthyma.
- Mood Disorders – Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are prevalent in victims of bed bug infestations.
Who Can You Sue for Bed Bugs in Maryland?
Bed bud disclosure rules – and landlord pest control duties – vary throughout Maryland, since each county has its own set of local regulations. However, generally speaking, landlords are prohibited from renting or showing units with known infestations. Moreover, landlords must provide safe conditions for tenants. If bed bugs infest a property, living conditions are arguably no longer safe or habitable, and the landlord may be liable for infestations.
Similar rules apply to Maryland hotels, which are held to a high standard of care. If a hotel guest is injured due to hotel negligence – for example, failure to inspect or treat a room for bed bugs – the hotel may be liable for the guest’s consequent injuries and financial losses.
WCAO HEAVEN 600 Bed Bug Attorneys in Baltimore
A bed bug infestation can have lasting repercussions, not only for your physical health, but also for your mental wellbeing and financial stability. It can cost thousands of dollars to replace your infested belongings, with additional costs from medical treatment and pest control. Our attorneys can fight to recover compensation for your family, lightening the burden and helping you move forward. To set up a free legal consultation, contact Whitney, LLP online today, or call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 to speak with an attorney.