Bed bugs are tough, adaptable pests that can invade any apartment or hotel – no matter how clean the accommodations look. However, landlords and hotel managers are responsible for taking steps to exterminate and prevent infestations. If your hotel or apartment in Upper Marlboro became infested by bed bugs, you may have a personal injury claim and could be entitled to compensation. The Maryland bed bug attorneys of Whitney, LLP can help.
We have been handling personal injury lawsuits since 1992, giving our legal team more than 25 years of combined experience. Aggressive litigators and tireless negotiators, we will fight strategically for an award or settlement that compensates your losses fairly. If you need help filing a bed bug lawsuit, we are here to listen and assist. Contact us online today to set up a free consultation, or call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000 to speak with a bed bug lawyer in Upper Marlboro.
How to Identify Bed Bugs
The scientific name for the common household bed bug is Cimex lectularius. Bed bugs, which are part of the Cimicidae family of insects, are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that emerge at night to feed on their sleeping hosts, which can be people, dogs, cats, or any other warm-blooded animal. Though commonly found in bedding, bed bugs can also be spotted on, in, or underneath furniture, drapery, clothing, stacks of toys or books, and even electrical outlets.
In its unfed state, a bed bug appears oval-shaped, flattened, and several millimeters long. While feeding, bed bugs grow to roughly one quarter of an inch, their bodies changing from rounded and flat to long and cigar-shaped.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
The answer to this question varies depending on the individual, with three basic possibilities:
- No Reaction – Some people do not experience physical reactions to bed bug bites, and may not even know that they have been bitten until seeing other signs of an infestation.
- Mild to Moderate Reaction – Most people develop small, itchy, pink welts, similar to mosquito bites. Bites can appear in straight or zig-zagging lines, or be grouped in random clusters.
- Severe Reaction – Some people suffer more serious bite reactions, such as severe swelling, blistering, and potentially, other health complications.
No matter what level of response you experience, you should see a doctor right away to receive a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Why Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Bed bugs can be dangerous due to the health problems that can result from exposure. Even short-term exposure can be dangerous, with the level of risk increasing as the infestation persists. Mental and physical health issues that can result from bed bug bites include:
- Allergic Reactions – Sensitivity to specific proteins in bed bug saliva can trigger a debilitating, rapid-onset allergic response known as “anaphylaxis” in a small number of individuals. Effects associated with anaphylaxis include nausea and vomiting, weakness, fatigue, confused thinking, facial swelling, breathing problems, and shock.
- Mood Disorders – Mood disorders like depression and anxiety are common among victims of bed bug infestations, sometimes long outlasting the infestation itself.
- Permanent Scarring – Permanent scars are always a risk of bed bug infestations. Scarring is more likely if the victim scratches or picks at the bites.
- Skin Infections – Bed bug bites can be intensely itchy. The tiny wounds caused by scratching create entries for bacteria into the body, potentially leading to serious bacterial infections such as ecthyma, lymphangitis, and impetigo.
- Sleep Disorders – Insomnia is commonly reported among individuals who have lived with bed bug infestations. The stress and anxiety can make it impossible to sleep normally – particularly because the victims are aware that bed bugs feed at night.
Maryland Bed Bug Liability: Suing Hotels and Landlords in Upper Marlboro
If bed bugs infested your apartment, your landlord may be liable for injuries you suffered and financial losses you incurred. However, federal bed bug and pest control laws are scant. Instead, towns and cities in Maryland rely upon various local codes, which establish the landlord bed bug extermination responsibilities in different locations across Maryland. Because Upper Marlboro is located within Prince George’s County, the pertinent regulations would fall under the County Code of Prince George’s County.
Under Section 13-238 (Insect and Rat Control) of the Prince George’s County Code, “All owners of the property shall be responsible for the extermination of insects, rats, vermin, or other pests in all areas of the property.” Notice how the Code specifies that this responsibility falls to “owners of the property” – not to renters or their guests.
The laws concerning hotel bed bug liability are less concrete. However, all U.S. hotels are held to high standards for guest and visitor safety. Hotel managers and hospitality companies are responsible for ensuring guest conditions that are reasonably safe. This entails ensuring that rooms are pest-free through proper cleaning and pest control. If hotels fail to meet these basic responsibilities, and guests are bitten by bed bugs as a result, the guests may be entitled to financial compensation from the hotel.
Upper Marlboro Bed Bug Claim Attorneys
If you believe you might have a bed bug injury claim against your landlord or a hotel you recently visited, look to Whitney, LLP for aggressive legal representation. To set up a free consultation, contact us online today, or call our law offices at (410) 583-8000 to speak with an attorney.