Bed Bug Lawyers
Since the 1990s, there’s been a resurgence of bed bug infestations. In the US, bed bugs can be a serious problem. There are frequent stories in the news about well-established hotel chains dealing with recurring or ongoing bed bug infestations.
Whether a bed bug infestation injured you at a hotel, in an apartment complex, or in your own home, if you were a victim of bed bug bites or an influx of the small pests damaged your property, you may receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our bed bug lawyers at NST Law to learn about your legal rights.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown parasites that bite the skin of people and animals and then feed off their blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, prefers human blood, but it will also feed on animal blood.
Although bed bugs prefer to eat at night, they’ll seek hosts in full daylight if they’re hungry enough. A bug may feed off the blood of its host anywhere from three to twelve minutes. To continue to be able to mate and lay eggs, bed bugs generally need a meal at least every 14 days. To simply survive, a bed bug can go months or even a year without eating.
When bed bugs haven’t eaten, they’re very tiny and flat, about the size of a poppy seed, so they can fit into tiny cracks and crevices, where they love to hide.
How do bed bug infestations develop?
Bed bugs have five stages of growth or molting, and they have to eat a blood meal before they can grow into the next stage. If a male bug is the only one, then an infestation can’t happen because only female bed bugs lay eggs.
If a female bed bug has a blood source, she can lay about three eggs a day. Female bed bugs typically lay about 300 eggs in a lifetime. When a female bed bug lays her eggs, they attach to a surface near a blood host and hatch in about ten days. To grow, or molt, the baby bed bugs, or nymphs, have to have a blood meal.
Nymphs take about 100 days to go through the five stages of molting before they can mate. It takes about 1.5 months for a bed bug to go from an egg to a mated adult bed bug.
Signs of a bed bug infestation
Bed bugs are small and hide in crevices, so they are very difficult to detect. Many people become aware of a bed bug problem only after they find bites. Also, some other types of bugs, like carpet beetles, can sometimes be mistaken for bed bugs. There are some signs, though, that can indicate a bed bug infestation.
If you’re staying at a hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, or other overnight rentals, you should take several precautions to avoid getting bed bug bites or carrying the parasites home with you in your luggage or other property. First, carefully inspect the mattresses and sheets. If they have red marks or stains on them, this may be a sign of crushed bed bugs.
Also, if you notice dot-sized dark spots, this might indicate bug excrement, which spreads across the sheet as a marker would. You may also see the eggs themselves, although they’re only about one millimeter and can be challenging to see with the naked eye. Finally, you may see a live bed bug. Look for their characteristic reddish-brown color.
Bed bugs can travel from the bed to other places in a hotel room, so it’s important to inspect all room areas. Look under cushions on sofas, in curtain folds, drawer joints, loose wallpaper, electrical receptacles, or anywhere in the room that has small crevices where a bed bug might hide.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Bed bug infestations can wreak havoc on you and your family, so it’s important to know how to prevent a plague of the tiny parasitic insects. There are a couple of useful tips to follow if you want to prevent bed bug infestation:
- Thoroughly check any used furniture or upholstery for signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home.
- To eliminate bed bugs’ hiding spots and see the parasites easily, use a light-colored protective cover for the mattress and box springs. In addition, you might want to get a protective cover that’s pre-treated with bug pesticides.
- Cleaning and clearing your home of clutter will eliminate the crevices where bed bugs like to hide. In addition, vacuuming often can keep bed bugs from hitchhiking from one surface to another in your home.
- If you share laundry facilities, keep your clothes separate from others’.
- If you live in a multi-family dwelling like a condo, make sure to seal up any cracks or holes around baseboards, light sockets, and other places where bed bugs may like to hide.
What injuries do bed bugs cause?
A bed bug’s bite can cause injuries, including painful and itchy bite marks, rashes, and swelling. Sometimes, multiple bed bug bites can trigger anemia or an allergic reaction. Bed bug bites are a growing problem that often leads to emotional distress and physical injuries that require medical attention.
Aside from the bites themselves, the use of pesticides to kill the bugs can have harmful effects on humans and animals. Bed bugs are challenging to get rid of once an infestation happens, leading to serious emotional trauma. Bed bug infestations often force people to move out of their homes for weeks or even months to eliminate the tiny but bothersome parasites effectively.
What types of damages can I recover compensation for with the help of a bed bug lawyer?
If you stayed in a hotel or other vacation or short-term rental property with a bed bug infestation, you can initiate a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. The amount you can receive depends on the specific facts of your case and the degree of losses suffered.
If you suffered from numerous bed bug bites leading to serious bodily injuries, your damages can include the costs of medical treatment received and lost wages if you had to miss work while recovering from your injuries. Bed bug bites can be serious and cause pain and suffering. The more bites you have, the higher the compensation you can recover.
Additionally, if you can prove that a hotel’s bed bug infestation resulted in the parasites entering your own home (meaning the bed bugs hitchhiked from the hotel to your private dwelling place), then you may be able to recover compensation for the costs for an exterminator and to replace ruined bedding, furniture, upholstery, carpet, and other items.
Hotels and other rental properties allowing bed bug infestations to persist are responsible for damages caused by the influx of parasitic pests. Often, the property owner may try to talk you into settling by giving you free nights or a refund for your stay. Before you accept their offer, you should first contact a bed bug attorney to discuss your legal rights and learn what compensation you can receive.
Who's liable for bed bug infestations?
If you’re suffering from bed bug injuries, several people and companies can be responsible. If you suffered bed bug bites while staying at a hotel, the hotel owners can be liable for your injuries and damages. If you’re a renter, it’s possible to initiate a lawsuit against your landlord or the apartment owner. You might also potentially have a case against a mattress manufacturer.
A bed bug attorney can research the facts of your case and advise you of the persons or entities who may be liable for your bed bug problems.
Do I have a bed bug case?
To prove a case involving bed bugs, you need documentation to link the bed bugs to their source and prove your exposure. For instance, if you found bed bug bites on your body the night after you stayed at a hotel, you should save the hotel receipt. Also, take photos of your bites and note your symptoms.
If you can show that the bed bugs are still at the hotel or location of your exposure and subsequent injuries, you have a much stronger case to link your bites and bed bug exposure to their place of origin. If your own home now has bed bugs, or you had to eradicate them from your home following exposure from elsewhere, you’ll need to document your costs related to the infestation.
If you suffered bed bug bites or an infestation, our legal team at NST Law can help determine whether you have a legal claim. We can help collect the necessary evidence to communicate with third parties if you have a valid case. We will explain your legal rights to you and decide an approximate value for your bed bug claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take After Finding a Bed Bug Infestation
After discovering a bed bug infestation, you should do the following:
- If you find bed bugs in your home, vacuum them up and throw them away in a sealed bag outside your home.
- Wash all your bedsheets several times in hot water to kill any remaining bed bugs.
- If steps one and two do not eliminate the bed bugs, you may need to call a professional exterminator to come to your house and rid them for you.
Also, if you experience a bed bug infestation, it’s important to contact NST Law as soon as possible before valuable evidence is lost. If you traveled to a hotel recently or stayed in another bed at temporary lodging and soon after your time away you find bed bugs in your home, a lawyer can help you trace the bed bug infestation to its source. The longer you wait, though, the more difficult it will be to show a link between the hotel or short-term rental property and your home’s subsequent infestation.
Be careful before you accept a settlement offer that insurance companies might extend to you. If you have a bed bug claim, a lawyer can help you receive more compensation than if you were not represented by counsel. Our legal representation in bed bug lawsuits can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
How can I establish my bed bug case?
Our team at NST Law can help you with your bed bug case. It’s imperative, though, to gather all the information you can to help support your claim. For example, you need:
- Documentation of all medical bills resulting from your bugbites or other insect bites
- Receipts from all extermination costs
- Receipts to replace bedding, furniture, upholstery, or carpeting due to a bed bug infestation
- Documentation of travel and where you stayed before the infestation in your home
Does renters' insurance cover a bed bug infestation?
If you’re a tenant in an apartment building or condo and you’re dealing with or dealt with a bed bug infestation, you may be wondering whether you can file a claim under your renters’ insurance. Usually, renters’ insurance does not cover bed bug infestations because it’s considered the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the place you live in and keep it in a habitable condition, including eliminating pests like bed bugs and cockroaches.
Although you may not be able to file a claim with your renters’ insurance, a handful of states passed laws requiring landlords to exterminate bed bugs after learning about an infestation. Check your state’s landlord-tenant laws to find out what protections are available to you.
Some tenants have also successfully sued and recovered compensation from their landlord for bed bug infestations under a theory of an implied warranty of habitability. If you notice bed bugs in your apartment or a rental unit, it’s important to contact your landlord immediately to notify them of the situation and condition of the residential dwelling.
Date the letter addressed to your landlord and retain a copy of it for your records. Ask your landlord to take steps to get rid of the bed bugs, including hiring a professional exterminator. If your landlord refuses to do anything, take measures to eliminate the parasites on your own and document your expenses related to ridding the infestation. Your landlord might later be responsible for paying you to recoup these costs.
How long do I have to file a bed bug lawsuit?
At NST Law, we serve communities throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois. For actions involving personal injuries, including bed bug injuries, each state has its own deadline or “statute of limitations” designating the period during which a person can initiate legal action. The time you have to file a lawsuit depends on the state you reside in and where the incident occurred.
For Arkansas and Mississippi, the personal injury statute of limitations is generally three years, starting from the date the event happened or you reasonably discovered the problem or incurred injuries or damages. Kentucky’s and Tennessee’s statute of limitations is one year. Missouri’s statute of limitations is five years. Your attorney can advise you on each state’s time restrictions and deadlines to help you determine how long you have to file a lawsuit in your state based on specific state laws and the facts of your case.
If your life was affected by bed bugs, contact our bed bug lawyers at NST Law as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.