New Jersey hotels are strictly regulated and must provide guests with safe accommodations. If your hotel room was infested by bed bugs, and you were bitten or lost personal property as a result, you may be able to get compensated by filing a personal injury claim. The New Jersey hotel bed bug lawyers of Whitney, LLP are here to help. Our firm has already recovered millions of dollars for injury victims, and now, our dedicated attorneys are prepared to devote the same level of care to your claim. We will fight aggressively to recover the maximum compensation available for your medical treatments, destroyed belongings, and other losses your family has suffered. Contact us online today to set up a free legal consultation, or call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000.
What Are Bed Bugs?
The common bed bug, or Cimex lectularius, is a small, flightless, parasitic insect belonging to the Cimicidae family. Blood is the exclusive source of food for bed bugs, which will feed opportunistically on humans, dogs, cats, or any other warm-blooded animal.
Bed bugs are generally around one quarter of an inch long, with brown, semi-transparent bodies that expand and elongate dramatically when the insect is feeding. They should not be confused with ticks, which lack antennae and have eight legs compared to bed bugs’ six.
How Do You Know You’ve Been Bitten by Bed Bugs?
Physical responses to bed bug bites vary. Most people report developing small, pink welts or swellings, which frequently itch and cause skin irritation, not unlike mosquito bites. These welts are often arranged in straight or zig-zagging lines, but sometimes appear in random configurations.
Though less common, there are also individuals who do not have any physical reaction to being bitten. Conversely, there are some individuals who suffer severe reactions and health complications, as discussed in the following section.
Why Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Most people think of bed bugs simply as unpleasant pests that cause itchy bites. Unfortunately, bed bug bites are more than just itchy – for some individuals, they can also be physically harmful. In addition to depression, anxiety, and insomnia, health issues that can be caused by bed bug bites include:
- Allergic Reactions – Some people are sensitive to proteins contained within bed bug saliva, potentially triggering a severe allergic response called “anaphylaxis.” Effects of anaphylaxis can include vomiting, weakness, confusion, breathing problems, shock, and even death.
- Scarring and Blistering – Some individuals experience painful, blistering reactions to bed bug bites. The intense itching and discomfort can cause people, particularly young children, to scratch or pick at the bitten areas, potentially leading to permanent scars.
- Skin Infections – In addition to permanent scarring, scratching can also lead to secondary bacterial infections by creating small cuts and wounds where bacteria can enter the body. Examples of skin infections related to bed bug bites include ecthyma, impetigo, and cellulitis.
Warning Signs of Bed Bugs in a New Jersey Hotel Room
Though commonly found on pillows and mattresses, bed bugs can also be spotted beneath furniture, on drapes and towels, inside of drawers, or even inside electronics and sockets. However, live insects are not the only indicators of in infestation. Even if you do not see any bed bugs, an infestation may be present if you notice the following signs:
- Strange, unpleasant odors in your room, which could be caused by distressed bed bugs releasing chemicals called “alarm pheromones.” According to various sources, these pheromones smell “sweet” or “musty,” and are sometimes compared to almonds or even cilantro (coriander).
- Small, dark stains on your mattress, which could be caused by crushed bed bugs or bed bug excrement. You might also see egg cases or molted skins on the mattress if an infestation is present.
Choice Hotels in New Jersey
New Jersey is home to thousands of hotels, motels, inns, resorts, and bed-and-breakfast establishments. For example, the company Choice Hotels operates more than 70 inns and hotels in New Jersey, including brands like Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion Hotel, and Econo Lodge. Choice establishments located in New Jersey include:
- Comfort Inn – Fairfield, Paramus, Toms River
- Econo Lodge – Atlantic City, Hammonton, Jersey City, Mount Laurel
- Quality Inn – Absecon, Edison, Lawrenceville, Middletown, Vineland
- Sleep Inn – Cinnaminson
Suing a Hotel for Bed Bugs in New Jersey
New Jersey enforces strict maintenance and safety regulations for hotels, including specific rules about pest control. These regulations can be found at N.J.A.C. § 5:10-10.2, which is part of New Jersey’s Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Health and Safety Code.
For example, in accordance with N.J.A.C. § 5:10-10.2(b), “All hotels… shall be subject to periodic procedures for the prevention and elimination of infestation by persons [who are] qualified to conduct such procedures no less frequently than once annually and more frequently where there is recurring evidence of infestation.” In other words, New Jersey hotels must use appropriately licensed and certified pest control professionals to prevent or exterminate bed bugs (and other pests) at least once per year, or more frequently as needed.
If a hotel is aware of a bed bug infestation, the bed bugs must be exterminated before the room can be rented to guests. If guests are placed in an infested room, various parties could be liable for resulting injuries and destruction of property, such as negligent hotel managers or exterminators. Damages available in a hotel bed bug lawsuit in New Jersey may include compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, lost earnings, and other losses.
New Jersey Hotel Bed Bug Infestation Attorneys
Hotel guests have a right to quarters that are free of hazardous conditions – including insect infestations. If you stayed at a bed bug-infested hotel in New Jersey, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, infested property you were forced to destroy, and other damages. To set up a free consultation, contact Whitney, LLP online, or call (410) 583-8000 to speak confidentially with a hotel bed bug lawyer in New Jersey.