Hotels have a duty of care to their guests, and must take all reasonable measures to help ensure their patrons’ safety. When hotels breach their duty of care by renting out rooms which are infested by bed bugs, they may be deemed negligent and therefore liable for any injuries or financial losses which result.
Ritz-Carlton maintains corporate headquarters in the town of Chevy Chase, MD. Because Ritz-Carlton is based in Maryland, any legal claims which arise from a Ritz-Carlton hotel infestation may consequently fall under Maryland’s jurisdiction. From its Maryland base, the Ritz-Carlton franchise maintains a total of nearly 90 hotels worldwide including 40 hotels in 14 states and Washington D.C., with locations in:
- New York
- North Carolina
Established in 1983, Ritz-Carlton has grown to become one of the largest and most recognizable hotel franchises in the world, employing a workforce of more than 35,000 employees. While the brand name has become associated with luxury hotels, Ritz-Carlton also maintains over a dozen golf resorts in addition to Ritz-Carlton Residences styled after condominiums and villas.
Contact Our Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you or your loved ones were bitten by bed bugs while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, the attorneys of Whitney, LLP may be able to help. Our hotel bed bug lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide variety of personal injury claims on behalf of bed bug bite victims, and are dedicated to aggressively pursuing favorable compensation for our clients.
While our law offices are based in Towson, MD, our attorneys handle cases throughout the United States. To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 today.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
Bed bugs appear differently depending on which stage of their life cycle has been reached. Immature bed bugs, or “nymphs,” are colorless and are practically invisible to the naked eye, while mature adults are brown in color and may grow up to five millimeters in length, approximately the same size as a ladybug.
The bites themselves are pink in hue with a darker red center, and may appear slightly raised or swollen, similar to a mosquito bite. Bites are approximately half an inch across and tend to present in rows or clusters, indicating roughly where the bug itself latched onto the victim’s skin.
Some victims have extremely severe allergic reactions to bites, while others may hardly notice they have even been bitten. The severity of a bite’s effects depends on how the victim reacts to proteins in the bed bug’s saliva, which is injected as the bed bug draws up blood with its cone-like beak.
Medical Effects and Health Risks Caused by Infestations
It’s become a stubborn myth that bed bug bites are “just itchy” or “just annoying.” Unfortunately, this common misconception could not be further from the truth. In addition to causing severe itching and skin irritation, bed bug bites can also put victims at risk for long-term and potentially fatal health complications.
While each case varies, bed bug bites may result in serious medical problems including but not limited to the transmission of:
- Chagas Disease
While once associated primarily with South America, Chagas Disease has become increasingly prevalent in the United States, with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reporting approximately 300,000 infected individuals in the U.S. The symptoms of Chagas Disease may lie dormant for years or even decades, and the victim may be unaware they are infected until they begin experiencing heart problems or gastrointestinal problems.
- Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection which can take as long as a year to subside. In extreme cases, victims may sustain long-term liver damage, which can cause chronic pain or even develop into liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection. Impetigo sufferers may break out in painful, pus-producing sores, particularly around the nose and mouth. Impetigo is sometimes called “school sores” due to its tendency to spread among children.
Severe urticaria (hives) can lead to a skin condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, where isolated patches of skin become darker, creating a blotchy and uneven skin tone.
Because bites affect the skin and can alter physical appearance, victims may be mocked, bullied, or ostracized by their peers. The inaccurate but stubborn social stigma that “only dirty people get bed bugs” only exacerbates the victim’s emotional distress, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and trouble concentrating at work or school.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has limitations on when certain types of claims must be brought by. For example, for a matter arising in Maryland, plaintiffs may be bound by Maryland’s “statute of limitations,” or deadline for bringing legal claims. The Maryland statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three years, starting with the date the injury was sustained. The statue of limitations varies from state to state, and can be different for different types of claims.
For claims bound by Maryland’s statue of limitations, three years may sound like plenty of time, particularly if your experience occurred very recently. However, it is always prudent to seek legal help sooner rather than later. The earlier you call the bed bug attorneys of Whitney, LLP to discuss your situation, the more time will remain for us to investigate and gather evidence.
If you or your family members were bitten by bed bugs while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in any state in the United States, Whitney, LLP may be able to help recover compensation for your pain, suffering, trauma, and financial losses. To start exploring your legal options in a free and private case evaluation, call our law offices right away at (410) 583-8000.