Bed bugs are enough to strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned travelers. These little creatures are nearly impossible to spot when you sink into bed for a good night’s sleep after a long day of traveling. Unfortunately, they’re almost guaranteed to give you a rude awakening. The little itchy bumps they leave after they bite are bad enough, but that’s not even the worst of a bed bug attack. Bed bugs in hotel have a nasty habit of climbing into your luggage, clothing and other property and tagging along with you wherever you go. Just one female bed bug traveling back home with you could end up infesting your home and ruining your peace of mind. If you are forced to deal with bed bugs, you have legal rights.
Here are some of our bed bug bite injury claim and case results: Whitney, LLP’s Bed Bug Verdict and Case Settlements. Our attorneys, including Daniel W. Whitney and Daniel W. Whitney, Jr., have represented hundreds of clients in bed bug cases across Maryland and the United States against the major hotel chains and brands, and a range of hotels and vacation rentals, from roadside motels to luxury hotels. Sometimes clients ask, what is the difference between a jury verdict and a settlement. The difference is that a jury verdict occurs after a case goes to court and the jury decides the outcome. A settlement occurs when both sides agree to resolve the matter before the jury makes the decision for everyone.
Every case has individual characteristics, and there is no single answer as to whether the best choice is to sue or settle. Your needs and preferences will also play a role in the outcome of the case. As experienced bed bug attorneys, our goal is to help you make the best choice for your personal situation. We will help you explore each of your options. If you decide to settle, we’ll negotiate the best possible settlement for your needs. We have extensive experience in the field of bed bug lawsuits and will fight for your rights. We will handle your claim from start to finish so that you can focus on healing and restoring your home if it was affected or infested from bed bugs brought back from the hotel. We deal with the legal process so you do not have to.
If you have suffered bed bugs as the result of a hotel infestation, you have legal rights and might be entitled to compensation. The Whitney Law Firm’s Dundalk bed bug attorney has recovered over $11 Million for our clients in bed bug cases, including clients across the United States, and international travelers who came to the United States as tourists. Many potential clients ask us what is their bed bug claims worth? The answer depends on the severity of the bites sustained, whether there is eventual scarring or hyperpigmentation from the bites, the resulting emotional distress, whether the hotel knew about the infestation before the guest checked in and failed to take the proper action, whether there is property loss, and several other factors.
Here is what you need to know about bed bug claims against hotels and suing hotels for bed bug bites, infestations and injuries.
Bed bugs can be found on nearly every continent and in nearly every country. They are found in budget hotels and five-star resorts and in private homes and vacation rentals. Although named for beds, these little nuisances can be found virtually anywhere people are found, including dressers, dressing tables, wallpaper, carpets, baseboards and all parts of the bed, such as the bed frame and box springs.
Once a rarity in the United States, bed bugs have become increasingly prevalent as our global community has become more tightly knit. In the previous year, nearly all pest professionals have encountered bed bugs at least once. Bed bugs are easy to overlook at first and are sometimes misidentified as fleas or other small bugs. However, they can do major damage and spread from hotels to homes and to other places as people travel. These bothersome pests have been found everywhere from single-family homes and apartments to hotels, motels and schools. They have even been found hitching rides on public transportation.
Unfortunately, bed bug bites don’t always show up right away. For some, the welts can take a few days to develop, making it hard to track down where they were first bitten. Others might not have any symptoms at all until they have a full-blown infestation, making the problem both harder to tackle and harder to get under control. A hotel’s negligence in allowing infestations to continue unchecked exposing guests means that you may be entitled to compensation if you are harmed by bedbugs.
The Effects of Bed Bug Bites on People
Bites from bed bugs are small and itchy and can trigger intense discomfort and itching. For those who are allergic, the reactions can be extreme and often including swelling, blistering and itching. Anaphylactic shock is a possibility for some severely allergic people.
Short- and long-term exposure to bed bugs can have even more severe consequences, including:
- Anxiety, stress and depression
- Skin infections
- Hyperpigmentation and scarring
An experienced bed bug attorney can help you fight back against ongoing bed bug infestations. Whitney, LLP works with people who have suffered due to the negligence of hotels, motels and others and will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Can I Sue a Hotel for Bed Bug Bites and Infestation?
Absolutely. If you have been to a hotel, motel or stayed at an Airbnb and have suffered as a result of an infestation of bed bugs, you may be able to sue for any injuries and losses that you have suffered as a result.
Premises liability refers to the concept that an injury was caused by unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. To win a premises liability case, the person who was injured must prove that the property owner was negligent and failed to use reasonable care when it came to maintaining the property. Bed bug claims are a type of premises liability case.
Hotels and similar establishments have a duty of care and are legally required to provide their guests with a safe and healthy environment. Rooms should be properly cleaned and periodically inspected between guests and during daily housekeeping inspections for bed bugs. If bed bugs are found, the room should be treated immediately to reduce the risk of further guest exposure. If a guest is exposed and bitten due to hotel negligence, they may be able to file a claim or lawsuit for any injuries or losses they have sustained under premises liability.
Bed bug cases are also a type of personal injury case. Personal injury cases are typically based on negligence, and bed bug cases are no exception. Personal injury and premises liability cases can be complex. Whitney, LLP’s Towson bed bug attorney is experienced and have successfully handled many bed bug cases against the major hotel chains in the United States. We know how to handle bed bug cases and will fight to protect your rights.
Suing a Negligent Hotel for Guest Injury from Bed Bug Infestations
When you have first suffered bed bug bites due to a hotel’s negligence, your first question might be, “Can I sue a hotel for bed bug bites?” The answer is generally, “Yes.”
State and local sanitary ordinance are the local laws that were created to keep guests safe from potential safety hazards, including bed bug infestations. Hotel owners and managers have a general duty of care under common law and state and local ordinances to keep their properties free from known dangers, such as bed bug infestations. When a hotel operator fails to follow the local law, or standard, and a guest is hurt as a result, the hotel operator is negligent, and the guest can recover compensation for their injuries.
Because property owners must protect guests and visitors from known hazards, you may be able to file a premises liability claim if you can demonstrate that one of the following situations occurred:
- The manager or owner knew there was an infestation and did not address it
- The manager or owner should have known there was an infestation but took no action to address it
- The hotel may be held responsible under other conditions as well.
Contact our experienced bed bug attorneys at Whitney, LLP today at (410) 583-8000 for your Legal Consultation, or use our online Quick Contact Form.
Who is Responsible for Bed Bug Bites at a Hotel?
If you are bitten by bed bugs at a hotel, you may be eligible for compensation for physical and emotional injuries you suffered. The responsible parties who may have to pay you, if you bring a successful claim, could be anyone who was responsible for playing a part in making sure your room was free of infestation. These parties include:
- The franchisor of the hotel
- The franchisee of the hotel
- The management company of the hotel
- The pest control company for the hotel
- Other involved parties
Unfortunately, not all of these parties will be easy to contact or necessarily interested in talking to you, or dealing with you in good faith, which means that you may be facing many frustrating rejections and dead ends. Whitney, LLP can help you bring the necessary claims against the responsible parties.
When you are bitten and injured by bed bugs while staying at a hotel or other accommodations, you have several rights, including:
- The right to safe, clean accommodations
- The right to proper sanitation
- The right to not be intentionally harmed or placed in a position where you could be harmed by the property owner
- The right to take legal action if you suffer an injury due to bed bugs
You might have other rights as well. Our attorneys can help you understand and protect your rights. We will take action on your behalf to protect those rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Filing a lawsuit can be a complex legal process, and you will need to be careful that you follow all steps carefully when you discover bed bugs in your hotel room, suspect a bed bug infestation or find out that you have been bitten.
1. Record all evidence of a bed bug infestation, including the bed bugs and bites on everyone
Evidence of an infestation can include pictures of bed bugs or bed bug spots on the mattress or bed linens, furniture, carpet, drapery or walls. You can quickly search around the bed, pillow, bed frame and bedside table for as much evidence of bed bugs as possible. Check closely along the seams of the mattress and the corners beneath the sheets where bed bugs like to hide. Use a flashlight or the flashlight app on your phone to look for spots on the mattress or small reddish-brown bugs about 4 mm long.
If you were bitten, take pictures of the bites as well. Bed bug bites tend to be small red bumps that show up in a zigzag pattern.
2. Report the infestation to the hotel, and request to file an Injury/Incident Report.
Write down the names and titles of the employees you talk to about the bed bug infestation. The staff should quickly offer to change your room. If your room is changed, examine your new room carefully to ensure that it is free of bed bugs. In the report, be sure to write down what evidence of bed bugs you saw, and where, and include whether you took photographs and video. This will help keep the hotel honest.
3. Seek medical attention if necessary.
Bed bug bites can cause severe allergic reactions, severe and intense itching, and lead to bacterial infection such as cellulitis. They can cause hyperpigmentation, disfigurement and scarring. For those who are highly allergic, they can trigger severe reactions and even anaphylactic shock. Seeking medical care as soon as possible can help you stay safer and reduce your risk of serious secondary complications. Documenting your injuries and reaction is also helpful from a legal perspective.
4. Contact the health department.
The local city or county health department will usually investigate reports of infestation. You can request that they visit the hotel site and inspect the infestation. Once they have completed the inspection, request a copy of their final report.
5. Do not sign a release of claims with the hotel
The hotel may attempt to offer you compensation in the form of gift cards, free nights, promotional offers or other freebies and ask you to sign a release of all claims. Some of these offers might sound fairly tempting, but if you accept them, the hotel owners can claim that you have been fairly compensated for your injuries, which can lead to losing the ability to bring a legal claim. Choose wisely.
6. Record all economic and property damages.
You will need to maintain a complete and accurate record of the economic toll the bed bugs have taken on your life. This can include records of any personal property that was damaged by any resulting infestation you brought home, including your clothing, luggage, backpacks, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, mattresses and furniture as well as carpeting and curtains. Record the costs of fumigation and extermination at home, if necessary, and keep records and receipts of the costs of replacing any items.
7. Get Your Legal Consultation from Whitney, LLP.
Seek legal counsel as soon as possible. We can provide insight on steps to take to protect your legal rights. Hotels, motels, resorts, bed-and-breakfasts and similar accommodations have skilled and sometimes sneaky legal teams on their sides. They may try to settle with you for pennies on the dollar. For example, may times hotel insurance adjusters have tried to settle claims for several hundred dollars or one or two thousand while the guest was unrepresented. This is sneaky behavior to take advantage of an unrepresented individual who does not know how to evaluate what the claim is really worth. Whitney, LLP does know, and does not allow claims adjusters to speak to our clients once we are retained.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To for Bed Bug Bites?
Every case is unique, and there is no single dollar amount for all bed bug victims. Here are some of our bed bug bite injury claim and case results: Whitney, LLP’s Bed Bug Verdict and Case Settlements. However, if you have been bitten by bed bugs in a hotel or suffered a loss as a result of hotel bed bugs, you might be eligible for damages, including:
- All immediate medical costs related to the bed bug bites, including emergency room costs, medication, treatments, antibiotics and surgery costs
- Costs for future medical care, including costs related to rehabilitation and cosmetic surgery to reduce or eliminate scarring
- Damages for lost wages and time at work
- Damages for loss of future income due to an inability to travel or short- or long-term disability
- Pain and suffering due to severe bites, lack of sleep due to fear or PTSD, fear of sleeping in unfamiliar places, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, emotional trauma, mental stress and other emotional effects
- Property damage, including luggage and clothing that had to be destroyed and reimbursement for damaged or ruined upholstery, carpeting and bedding for infestations that were brought home with you
- Reimbursement for the costs of fumigation and extermination
Bed bugs can leave their mark on your life long after they have been exterminated. You can find yourself suffering scars on your body, and long-lasting emotional distress and fear of staying in hotels. You can lose furniture, including antiques and prized pieces. You might have to replace upholstery in your vehicle and home and purchase new carpeting and drapery. Whatever you paid for your work or holiday travels could be exponentially higher once all the costs of the bed bug damages have been added into the final tally. Whitney, LLP can help make things right again.
Whitney, LLP’s Attorneys for Bed Bugs in Hotels
“I found bed bugs in my hotel room.” It’s a message for help that we hear every day, and we want to help. Our bed bug attorneys will fight for you. We understand how serious bed bug infestations can be and have seen the long-term problems that are so often associated with them. We can file your claim or lawsuit, protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Our expert legal team will litigate your claim and work to secure you the damages you deserve for your injuries and your losses. We offer free case evaluations to help you learn more about your options for negotiating settlements or filing lawsuits so that you can decide on the best course of action for your situation. Contact our experienced bed bug attorneys at Whitney, LLP today at (410) 583-8000 for your Legal Consultation, or use our online Quick Contact Form.