With its scenic beaches and vibrant shoreline, Ocean City is a popular summer holiday getaway for tourists and vacationers from all over the country. It’s also permanent home to roughly 7,000 residents, including many renters. Unfortunately for its visitors and residents, Ocean City is also a popular destination for bed bugs, which can rapidly infest hotels, motels, resorts, and apartment buildings.
If your hotel or apartment in Ocean City, Maryland became infested by bed bugs, you may be entitled to financial compensation. With over 25 years of combined legal experience, the Ocean City bed bug lawyers of Whitney, LLP are ready to help file your claim or lawsuit. To learn more in a free legal consultation, contact us online today, or call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 to speak confidentially with an attorney.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are nocturnal, blood-sucking insects with six legs, ridged brown bodies, and small wideset eyes positioned on opposite sides of the head. These features may be difficult to discern thanks to the bed bug’s tiny size, which ranges from a few millimeters when the bed bug is unfed, to about one quarter of an inch after feeding. However, there are other infestation warning signs that can help you identify bed bugs in your apartment or hotel, such as foul odors (which can be produced by bed bug pheromones) or dark stains on your mattress (which can be produced by crushed bed bug bodies or their excrement).
Identifying Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites can be difficult to identify due to the fact that different people experience different physical reactions. These reactions range from nonexistent to severe, with most people falling somewhere toward the middle of the spectrum. Common reactions to bed bug bites include pink, itchy lumps or welts, similar to mosquito bites, that may be uncomfortable for several weeks. In severe cases, bite victims can suffer from anaphylaxis or other complications, as discussed in the following section.
Are Bed Bugs Harmful?
Bed bugs can be physically, emotionally, and financially harmful, causing damage that far outlasts the underlying infestation. Examples of health problems that have been linked to bed bug infestations include:
- Anaphylaxis – Though uncommon, a small percentage of people may experience anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, in response to bed bug bites. Symptoms of anaphylaxis, which can be fatal in rare cases, include facial swelling, nausea, breathing problems, and shock.
- Bacterial Infections – Even seemingly “harmless” bites that are “just itchy” can cause health complications later on. Too much scratching can cut or tear open the skin, creating entry points for bacteria which then cause skin infections such as impetigo, cellulitis, and lymphangitis.
- Emotional Distress – Particularly when prolonged, exposure to bed bugs can cause the victim to suffer from anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders like insomnia.
Bed Bug Lawsuits Against Negligent Hotels or Landlords in Ocean City, MD
Ocean City’s municipal and building property maintenance Code of Ordinances will come into play when you file your bed bug claim. Especially relevant is Section 309 (Pest Elimination).
Within these regulations, Section 309.4 specifically addresses the responsibility of building owners in a multiple-occupancy building – such as landlords. In accordance with the statute, “The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a multiple occupancy, a rooming house or a nonresidential structure shall be responsible for pest elimination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestation in the area occupied, the occupant and owner shall be responsible for pest elimination.” In other words, if the building contains at least two apartment units, then the individual or business who owns or operates the property – not the renter – is responsible for bed bug control and extermination. Your landlord may attempt to demonstrate that you acted “unreasonably” or were somehow to blame for the infestation, making strategic legal representation essential.
Like landlords, hotel managers and other parties are held to high standards with regard to guest safety and room sanitation. Hotels must take reasonable measures to detect, treat, and prevent infestations. This includes ensuring that pest control services are performed when appropriate, and refraining from knowingly renting out rooms that are infested.
Compensation (“damages”) may be available for victims of a hotel or apartment bed bug infestation in Ocean City. Examples of damages that may be available in a bed bug lawsuit include compensation for medical treatment, property damage, and emotional distress.
Ocean City Bed Bug Injury Attorneys
A bed bug infestation can have devastating consequences – not only for your physical health, but your emotional wellbeing and the financial stability of your family. If you were exposed to a bed bug infestation at a hotel or apartment building in Ocean City, the bed bug litigation attorneys of Whitney, LLP are ready to fight for justice. Contact us online right away to set up a free legal consultation, or call our law offices at (410) 583-8000.