Chicago is home to more than 2.7 million people. Unfortunately, like most major U.S. cities, it is also home to countless bed bugs. Hardy and adaptable, bed bugs can survive in almost any environment – and because they feed solely on blood, they tend to seek out places where people congregate. Hotels and apartment complexes are ideal habitats for bed bugs, which creates a risk of infestation. If landlords, property managers, hotel managers, cleaning services, or pest control companies do not perform their duties properly, infestations can thrive, causing injuries and property damage to innocent tenants, homeowners, or visitors.
Whitney, LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to bed bug litigation. We have successfully represented numerous clients in bed bug injury claims against hotels, exterminators, and other negligent parties. If you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys can help you fight for compensation. To learn more about bed bug lawsuits in Illinois, contact the Chicago bed bug attorneys of Whitney, LLP online to set up a free consultation. You can also reach our law offices by calling (410) 316-6762.
Can You Sue a Hotel, Landlord, or Exterminator for a Bed Bug Infestation in Chicago?
The answer to this question depends on your ability to prove, based on evidence, two core facts:
- You were injured and/or financially harmed by the bed bug infestation. For example, you might have needed to go to the hospital, or had to replace expensive personal items.
- The bed bug infestation – and the harm it caused you – occurred because a person and/or business was reckless or negligent in some way. For example, an exterminator or pest control company could be considered negligent for carelessly failing to apply the correct chemicals during a treatment. More than one party can be liable for a bed bug-related injury, depending on what sort of factors led to the infestation.
If your claim or lawsuit is successful, you can receive compensation for various losses and issues caused by the infestation. Some examples of “damages,” or types of compensation, that might be available in a bed bug lawsuit include compensation for pain and suffering, your medical treatments, and the destruction of your personal property.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs’ appearances vary depending on which stage of their life cycle they have reached. Mature adults grow to approximately one quarter of an inch in length, and are colored a semi-transparent brown through which recently consumed blood meals are partially visible. The eggs and juvenile specimens, known as “nymphs,” are lighter in color.
Similar to ticks, bed bugs’ bodies can expand dramatically to accommodate their blood meals. Because both are small, dark, round, and feed on blood, they are commonly mistaken for one another. Bed bugs can be distinguished from ticks by their six legs, whereas ticks possess eight.
Though round when viewed from above, unfed bed bugs are relatively flat when viewed in profile. Their bodies elongate, becoming more cylindrical, after they have fed on a host.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites
Even within the same family, two people can have radically different physical reactions to a bite from the same insect, making bed bug bites difficult to identify at times. In most individuals, the bites swell within several hours to several days of the bed bug feeding, creating raised, itchy, pink welts that are similar to a mosquito bite. Some people do not react at all, while others suffer extreme physical responses like anaphylaxis, as discussed in the following section.
It is common for bed bug bites to present in a straight line. However, some individuals display random bite patterns over a wider area of skin. Bed bugs will bite any area of the body that is exposed, including the feet, hands, arms, legs, neck, face, and back.
Can Bed Bugs Hurt You?
In most cases, bed bug bites do not pose a serious health threat. Unfortunately, some individuals are highly susceptible to bed bug bites, greatly increasing the danger.
For example, some individuals are sensitive to proteins called “antigens” that exist within a bed bug’s saliva, some of which is injected into the host while the insect is feeding. This sensitivity can trigger a severe allergic reaction known as “anaphylaxis,” a condition more typically associated with bee stings. A person who is experiencing anaphylaxis may show symptoms like vomiting, facial swelling, respiratory distress, confusion, and weakness. Shock and even death are potential risks of anaphylaxis, which can progress very rapidly without swift and appropriate medical intervention.
Bed bug bites can also increase the risk of bacterial skin infections. However, it is not the bites themselves that trigger this reaction, but rather, excessive scratching. If bite victims pick at or scratch their skin too roughly, they can accidentally cut themselves, creating tiny entry points for harmful bacteria. Various bacterial infections have been linked to bed bug bites, such as cellulitis, impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis.
Chicago Bed Bug Lawsuit Attorneys
If you were bitten by bed bugs in your home, apartment, or while staying at a hotel or motel in Chicago, the bed bug infestation lawyers of Whitney, LLP can help. To set up a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online, or call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 today.