Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | September 16, 2020 | Personal Injury
There are studies and research that indicate a bed bug infestation can cause mental health problems. In some studies, bed bug infestation was strongly associated with sleep disturbances and anxiety. Other studies indicate that bed bug infestation is linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), avoidance behaviors, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and other psychological effects.
Most individuals focus on the physical injuries that bed bugs might cause. They also focus on the financial losses caused by bed bugs. However, more emphasis needs to be placed on the potential for mental health issues as damages caused by a bed bug infestation.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects. They are reddish-brown and are about the size of an apple seed. They bite exposed skin when people sleep.
They can live in bed frames, mattresses, box springs, headboards, and piles of clothing or objects near the bed. Bed bugs may also be found in upholstered furniture, under carpeting, and in light switch plates.
Bed bugs inject a numbing substance when they bite. Therefore, a person could sustain multiple bites throughout the night without waking up.
Since bed bugs multiply rapidly, the chance of a bed bug infestation is very high if there are just a few bed bugs present.
A bed bug bite is red with a darker red center that is itchy. The bites are usually in clusters or a rough line located on the arms, neck, face, and hands.
Liability for Bed Bug Infestations
Bed bugs can be found in hotels, apartments, rental homes, hospitals, and other places with a high turnover of people. Property owners have a duty to provide safe premises for individuals renting the property. The property owner may be held liable for damages caused by a bed bug infestation under premises liability laws.
For example, a hotel operator has a duty of care to take effective measures to avoid bed bug infestations. The hotel operator also has a duty to warn guests if bed bugs may be present on the property. However, you must prove the property owner was negligent and breached the duty of care owed to you. That can be the most challenging part of filing a bed bug infestation lawsuit.
A premises liability lawyer can evaluate your claim to determine if the property owner or another party might be liable for your damages.
What Should I Do if I Discover Bed Bugs in a Rental?
If you are in a hotel or rental unit and discover bed bugs, take photographs of the evidence. Videos of the bed bugs are also helpful. If you can catch a bed bug and seal it inside a plastic bag or plastic container, that could also be helpful if you file a personal injury claim.
Immediately notify the property owner or hotel manager of the situation. Request that the owner files a report to document the complaint and give you a copy of the report. You can also call the local Health Department to file a report or complaint.
Get large, heavy-duty trash bags for your luggage and belongings. You could create an infestation in your home if you take your things in your home that may have bed bugs hiding inside. Once you have a bed bug infestation in your home, it can be nearly impossible to kill them.
Make sure that you also document the bed bug bites on yourself and your family members by taking photographs of the bites. If you have numerous bed bug bites or begin experiencing any adverse effects, see a doctor immediately for treatment. Documenting severe cases of bed bug bites with medical evidence improves your chance of recovering in a personal injury claim.
As soon as possible, contact a bed bug attorney to discuss your options for filing a claim seeking damages. You need to understand your legal rights and the steps you need to take to protect your rights.
Compensation for Injuries Caused by a Bed Bug Infestation
As discussed above, bed bug infestations can cause physical injuries and mental health issues. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by bed bugs.
Types of injuries and damages caused by a bed bug infestation include:
- All mental health treatment and medical care expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Damage to property, including your luggage, clothing, furniture, and household items
- Pain and suffering caused by the physical injuries and mental trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
The amount of compensation depends on the severity of your injuries, losses, and damages.
Landlords, tenants, hotel owners, and other defendants often dispute the liability for damages caused by a bed bug infestation. They may dispute that your infestation at home resulted from bed bugs that traveled from their property to your property.