When you stay in a hotel or similar establishment, you have a reasonable right to expect a room that is both safe and clean. The recent outbreaks of bed bugs around the country, however, have made staying in any unknown hotel a relatively risky proposition. If you have recently stayed in a hotel with an undeclared bed bug infestation, there are legal protections in place to protect you from the negligent hotel owners and recover any expenses you may have incurred as a result of your experience.
Documenting Evidence of the Hotel's Infestation
Whenever you suspect that you have been the unwitting victim of hotel bed bugs, you should do as much as you can to document the problem as it occurs. This may include taking a photograph of characteristic bed bug droppings in your room or the bite marks they leave behind. You should also file a formal complaint with the hotel and ask for a copy of the report for your own records. Even if the bites do not appear for several days after, as they sometimes do, it is still important to then register your complaint with the hotel owner for legal purposes.
Seeking Compensation for Medical Bills
Bed bugs may provoke an allergic reaction in some individuals, but bites from a home colony are typically relatively harmless parasitism. Hotel bedbugs, on the other hand, may still be carrying the blood of prior guests, which may be transmitted to you as the creature bites and feeds. Because of this, you may need extensive testing and treatments for various possible blood-borne illnesses after staying in an infested hotel. Seeking coverage for these bills is typically the central part of a personal injury claim related to bed bugs, but it usually isn't the only form of compensation requested.
Demonstrating Pain and Suffering
Even if you emerge from your experience unscathed, knowing that you have slept in a nest of bed bugs can be a deeply unsettling thought that is difficult to shake. You may find yourself itching and scratching or unable to sleep for weeks afterward. These less tangible damages are referred to as pain and suffering, though they can be more challenging to prove in court. In some cases, you will need the testimony of a mental health professional to lend your pain and suffering claim credibility.
Listing Damages to Your Personal Property
The other risk associated with bed bugs, of course, is that you may end up with a couple of hitchhikers in your clothing and suitcases. These unwanted guests will be only too happy to set up a new colony in your home, and they can be nearly impossible to eliminate once they are settled in. If you are forced to deal with a bed bug invasion that originated in the hotel in question, the hotel can be held liable for those expenses as well.
With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can ensure that a single bad night at a hotel will not set back your finances, health and emotional well-being for years to come.