When you visit Henderson or Las Vegas on vacation or business, it probably would never cross your mind that you could be bitten by bedbugs when staying at an area hotel. Unfortunately, a bedbug infestation is possible if the hotel owner breaches his duty to maintain the hotel in a safe and sanitary condition. If you are bitten by bedbugs, you could suffer permanent scarring and other long-term injuries. You may be able to hold the owner responsible for compensating you for your injuries, but you need to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights.
When Can a Hotel Be Held Liable for Bedbug Bite Injuries?
Hotel and other property owners have a duty to maintain their properties and regularly inspect for infestations of insects and other vermin—including bedbugs. Signs that your room is infested with bedbugs include:
- Black or brown stains or mounds
- White eggs
- Skin shed by bedbugs
- Dead bedbugs
In order to hold the hotel or property owner liable for compensating you for your injuries, you must prove their negligence. Basically, you must establish that the owner had a duty to you, that this duty was breached, and that you suffered injuries as a result of the owner’s negligence. In bedbug cases, a hotel or other owner can breach their duty to you by failing to conduct reasonable inspections, failing to take corrective actions if they knew or should have known of the existence of bedbugs, or other negligent actions. If you can establish this, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damages.
Injuries You Could Suffer If Bedbugs Bite You
Being bitten by bedbugs can be much worse than being bitten by other pests like mosquitos or fleas. You could suffer serious long-term injuries. These can include:
- Skin rashes, blisters, or small bumps on your skin
- Uncontrollable itching that can last for days or weeks
- Permanent scars
- Other allergic reactions to the bites
- Emotional distress and emotional anguish, which could require counseling
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems with breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swelling of the tongue
What Steps Should You Take If You Discover Bedbugs in Your Hotel Room?
Some of the steps you should take if you are bitten by bedbugs are similar to those in slip and fall and other premises liability cases. Others are unique to bedbug cases. Here are important actions to take:
You need to search for evidence of bedbugs on furniture, bedding, and mattresses. Signs of bedbugs include black or brown stains or mounds, dead bedbugs, white eggs, and bedbug skin that has been shed. Take pictures of the evidence of bedbugs and your injuries.
Collect some bedbugs and place them in a Ziploc bag for evidence and to show to your doctor.
File a report.
File a report with the hotel to notify them of the bedbug problem and as a first step in filing your claim. Keep a copy of your report and any other communications with the hotel manager or owner for your records.
Contact the health department.
Contact the local health department to file a complaint and to find out if other guests have filed a complaint against the hotel in the past.
Seek prompt medical care.
Seek medical treatment for your bedbug bites as soon as possible. This avoids the risk that you will suffer complications or more permanent injuries. It also avoids disputes with the hotel’s insurance company as to where you were exposed to bedbugs.
Dispose of property.
If you suspect that bedbugs traveled to your clothes, luggage, or other property, dispose of them immediately so that you do not bring the problem into your home. Take pictures of the personal items you plan to throw away so that you can prove your right to compensation for replacing them.
Retain an attorney.
You should retain an experienced Henderson personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to file your claim and negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve.
Was the hotel where you were staying infested with bedbugs? At Jones Wilson, LLP, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to explain your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. We represent out-of-state visitors as well as Henderson residents. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly to schedule your free consultation today.