Home to famous tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, Florida draws more than 100 million visitors each year. Most stay in hotels, motels, or inns, such as Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion Hotel, Rodeway Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, or SpringHill Suites. When you check into a hotel in Florida, you expect to receive a room that is free of vermin and pests. Unfortunately, this isn’t always every guest’s experience. Every year, countless hotel guests are checked into bed bug-infested rooms, sustaining injuries, costly property damage, and suffering emotional trauma.
If your Florida hotel room was infested by bed bugs, you may have cause to file a personal injury claim against hotel management, cleaning staff, exterminators, or other parties whose negligence contributed to your injuries. To discuss your potential hotel bed bug claim in a free legal consultation with an experienced bed bug litigation attorney, contact Whitney, LLP online, or call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 today.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small insects that, in their unfed state, are only millimeters in length. While feeding, bed bugs dramatically expand, growing up to one quarter of an inch long. In an unfed state, their bodies are flattened but rounded, similar to a coin. When the bed bug is feeding, its body changes into more of a tube-like or cylindrical shape. Bed bugs range from light brown to a dark, rusty color, and have semi-transparent bodies through which their blood meals are visible.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites
Physical reactions to bed bug bites range from nonexistent to severe. People in the former category may not even know they have been bitten, while people who suffer severe reactions may need urgent medical care. Health risks of bed bugs are discussed in detail in the following section.
Most people have a moderate reaction, developing itchy, pink welts within several hours to several days of being bitten. Some people later develop painful, oozing blisters. These effects generally subside within several weeks, though medical treatment may be necessary for more severe reactions.
Health Problems Caused by Bed Bug Infestations
In addition to general itchiness and discomfort, bed bug bites can also trigger other health issues. Examples of health problems that can be caused by bed bug bites include:
- Anaphylaxis – Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction whose effects can include facial swelling, shock, respiratory problems, weakness, confusion, and nausea.
- Bacterial Infections – Wounds from scratched bites can become infected. Infections linked to bed bug bites include lymphangitis, ecthyma, and cellulitis.
- Insomnia – Bed bugs bite at night while their victims sleep. People who have been exposed to an infestation often report suffering from ongoing insomnia and disturbances to their normal sleep patterns.
- Mood Disorders – Anxiety and depression are commonly reported in bed bug victims, particularly among children and teenagers, who may feel isolated or even be bullied at school.
Checking Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs
Unfortunately, hotels do not always disclose bed bug infestations as required by law. Therefore, it is always a good idea to thoroughly check your hotel room upon arrival. You should perform this check immediately, before even opening your luggage – because if bed bugs are present, they may enter your suitcase and travel with you, potentially all the way back to your home.
Other than the physical sight of bed bugs, warning signs of their presence in your hotel room include foul odors, which can be caused by bed bug pheromones, and/or dark stains on your bedding, which can be caused by crushed bed bugs or their excrement. These stains may be accompanied by egg cases, molted skins, and other detritus.
Filing a Bed Bug Lawsuit Against a Hotel in Florida
Hotels are held to rigorous standards when it comes to the personal safety of guests and visitors. In addition to preventing other safety hazards, such as fire hazards or structural defects, hotels are also required to treat and eradicate bed bug and other pest infestations, which can expose guests to various health issues as discussed above. If a hotel fails to provide guests with reasonably safe conditions, the hotel, its parent company, and/or individual employees may be liable for injuries or financial losses incurred by guests.
In order to prove that the hotel was negligent, it is necessary to provide various pieces of evidence supporting your claim, such as photographs of the bites, photographs of the infested room, expert medical opinions, and hotel logs or records. Our attorneys can handle the process of obtaining and analyzing the evidence for you, so that you can focus on recovering from the bites.
Florida Hotel Bed Bug Claim Attorneys
Hotel guests have a right to basic safety. Hotels that allow their guests to check into bed bug-infested rooms have failed to uphold this right, and could be liable for medical treatment, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost earnings. Moreover, if the infestation follows the guest back home, the hotel could be liable for his or her pest extermination costs. Contact the law offices of Whitney, LLP online to arrange a free consultation, or call today at (410) 583-8000 to speak with an attorney.