Ohio landlords, hotel managers, and exterminators all have important responsibilities when it comes to keeping others safe from bed bugs. Unfortunately, negligence can allow infestations to take over apartment buildings, hotel rooms, and private residences. If you were bitten by bed bugs because your landlord, a pest control company, or other parties failed to take proper extermination measures, you may be entitled to injury compensation.
The experienced Columbus bed bug attorneys of Whitney, LLP can fight to secure justice and maximize your recovery. We will uphold your legal rights and protect you against unscrupulous landlords or property managers who might try to take advantage of you. Our personal injury law firm has successfully handled numerous bed bug claims, giving our team an invaluable strategic edge. For a free legal consultation with Whitney, LLP, contact our law offices online, or call us today at (410) 583-8000.
Filing a Bed Bug Claim or Lawsuit in Ohio
Each state has its own unique set of regulations addressing bed bug control and liability. Compared to many other states, Ohio’s laws contain somewhat general wording, which, without specifically mentioning bed bugs, simply provide that landlords are responsible for ensuring “fit and habitable” living conditions. However, a structure or apartment unit which has become infested by bed bugs is arguably no longer “fit and habitable” for tenants.
Fortunately, local regulations are more specific. For instance, under Chapter 221.92 (Safe and Sanitary Maintenance of Structures and Premises), the city of Columbus mandates that landlords maintain reasonably “insect-free” accommodations for tenants.
Hotels, AirBnBs, and other establishments follow their own regulations and company policies. Unfortunately, negligent employees or third parties may fail to meet or enforce established standards, potentially leading to a bed bug infestation. You should contact an experienced bed bug lawyer in Columbus for help determining which state laws, insurance policies, or municipal regulations might affect your claim.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic, blood-sucking insects which emerge at night to feed on their victims. This includes not only humans, but also warm-blooded pets, such as dogs, cats, rats, and hamsters.
In physical appearance, bed bugs are very small, generally no more than roughly one quarter of an inch. Their oval-shaped bodies are brown, ridged, and semi-transparent, with six legs, no wings, and elongated mouthparts for piercing. While feeding, bed bugs can swell to become much larger than their original size, elongating and becoming cylindrical.
Identifying Bed Bug Infestations
It is critical to identify a bed bug infestation as soon as possible, which will limit your exposure. Here are a few simple tips for identifying a bed bug infestation in your apartment, home, AirBnB, or hotel:
- Check your mattress closely. You may see all or some of the following: egg cases, molted skins, or small stains caused by bed bugs defecating or being crushed.
- Pay attention to strange, unpleasant odors. Bed bugs produce and secrete chemicals known as “alarm pheromones” to alert others of potential intruders. The odor is often described as “sweet” or “musty.”
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
In most individuals, bed bug bites trigger a mild physical reaction similar to that caused by a mosquito or flea bite. Bed bug bites commonly cause small pink welts, which may produce blistering, skin irritation, and intense itching. Some individuals do not have any physical reaction, while others suffer extreme reactions that may require urgent medical attention. It is important to see a physician right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Bed Bug Health Risks
Most individuals do not experience serious adverse reactions to bed bug bites. That being said, exposure to bed bugs has been linked to several major health risks. In addition to the potential for insomnia, anxiety, and depression, physical health problems associated with bed bug infestations include:
- Anaphylaxis – Often associated with bee stings, anaphylaxis is a rapid-onset, potentially fatal allergic response to specific proteins contained within bed bug saliva. Saliva, carrying these proteins, enters the body in minute quantities while the bed bug is feeding. Symptoms and effects of anaphylaxis include weakness, nausea, vomiting, respiratory problems, and shock.
- Bacterial Infections – Bed bug bites can be very itchy. Unfortunately, too much scratching increases the risk of a skin infection. If scratching cuts open the skin, bacteria can enter the body through the open wounds, leading to infections such as cellulitis, impetigo, and ecthyma.
Columbus Bed Bug Injury Attorneys
At Whitney, LLP, we have a proven track record in the area of bed bug litigation. Our attorneys are well-versed in this nuanced, complex area of personal injury law, enabling us to provide our clients innovative and strategy-driven representation. Our Columbus bed bug lawsuit lawyers understand what it takes to obtain the compensation you deserve. If you think you may have a bed bug claim, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 for a free legal consultation, or contact us online.