Bed Bugs Lawsuit
Bed bugs are more than a nuisance, they are a public health concern. Bed bugs are most commonly found hiding in mattresses, hence their name. However, a bed bug infestation can happen virtually anywhere – in an apartment building, at a hotel, on a cruise ship, at a rental property, even at a movie theater or retail store. Bed bugs are most commonly found in heavily populated metropolitan areas and some California cities rank at the top of the list of reported bed bug cases in the U.S. However, a bed bug infestation can happen anywhere people live and interact. If you have been the victim of a bed bug infestation in California, you may be able to take legal action against the property owner or landlord and recover compensation for your physical injuries, property damage, emotional harm, pain and suffering, medical expenses, missed time at work and punitive damages, among other damages. Having an experienced attorney on your side when filing a bed bugs lawsuit in California can significantly improve your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact our bed bug injury attorneys as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Filing a Bed Bugs Lawsuit
Negligent property owners or landlords who fail to keep their buildings free of conditions that may threaten the health or safety of customers or guests can be held liable for damages and this includes bed bug infestations. If you were the victim of bed bugs at a hotel or rental property and the property owner knew or should have known about the bed bug problem, yet failed to fix the problem and/or warn you that the problem existed, you may be able to sue the property owner for damages. If the infestation happened in your apartment building, on a cruise ship, at your college dorm or at a nursing home, you may be able to hold the responsible party accountable for the harm you have suffered. Depending on where you were staying at the time of the bed bug incident, if you can establish that your injuries occurred as a result of the landlord or property owner’s negligence, you may be able to bring one or more of the following causes of action:
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Breach of contract
- Breach of the warranty of habitability
- Private nuisance
California Laws About Bed Bug Infestations
No matter where you live in California, you have rights, one of the most important being the right to a clean, sanitary dwelling free of bed bugs. There are several laws in California that have to with the legal obligation those who own or manage hotels, rental properties and apartment complexes have to keep the areas clean and habitable and provide guests or tenants with information about any bed bug problems. For example, California Code of Regulations, Title 25 Housing and Community Development Article 5 Section 40 says that “In every apartment house or hotel subject to this part, held out for rent and furnished with a bed and bedding, every part of every bed, including the mattress, sheets, blankets, and bedding shall be kept in a clean, dry and sanitary condition, free from filth, urine, or other foul matter, and from the infection of lice, bedbugs, or other insects.”
Bed Bug Lawsuit Verdicts
Recently, there have been several significant plaintiff verdicts in bed bugs lawsuits. In 2018, a family in Southern California was awarded $1.6 million in a lawsuit filed over a 2010 bed bug infestation at the Kahala Islander Apartments in Inglewood. The Martinez family dealt with bed bugs for months but when they reported the infestation to the apartment manager, they were told to throw out all of their furniture and sleep on the floor. Victims of bed bug infestations can suffer serious injuries from being bit, including permanent scarring or disfigurement. The youngest member of the Martinez family – just a baby at the time of the incident – suffered bed bug bites so severe he was left with permanent scars. In another lawsuit brought against Park La Brea Apartments in Los Angeles, 16 former and current tenants were awarded $3.5 million in damages over an infestation of bed bugs, with individual awards ranging from $34,000 to $470,000.
What to Do if You are a Victim of Bed Bugs
The key to a successful bed bugs claim is to keep a record of the extent and duration of the bed bug infestation, the harm you suffered as a result of the infestation and whether the property owner took proper steps in eradicating the bed bugs or warning you about the infestation. If you have been exposed to bed bugs at a hotel, in your apartment, or anywhere else, there are certain steps you can take to strengthen your claim:
- Immediately document your bites with photos and/or video
- Write down the dates and times you observed bites or other injuries
- If you seek medical treatment, keep a record of the treatment and any receipts
- Immediately notify the property owner about the bed bug infestation and keep a copy of all correspondence
- If you take any days off work to deal with the bed bug problem, document your lost time
- Keep a record of any expenses associated with eradicating the infestation (i.e. dry-cleaning bills, the cost of an exterminator)
- Keep a record of any personal property that is damaged by the infestation (i.e. furniture, clothing, luggage, bedding that has to be thrown away)
Learn More About Filing a Bed Bugs Lawsuit
The harm bed bug victims can suffer during and after an infestation is multifaceted. Bed bug infestations can cause lasting physical injuries – their bites are itchy and red and those bites can eventually turn into scars – but most bed bug lawsuits focus on the emotional distress aspect of being a bed bug victim. The idea that victims suffer severe anxiety, sleeplessness, frustration, emotional distress, shame, fear, humiliation and other adverse psychological effects because of exposure to bed bugs is an important component of any bed bug lawsuit. Many victims of bed bug infestations are traumatized by the experience and these psychological effects can last for months or even years. Whatever the circumstances of your case, if you are considering filing a bed bugs lawsuit in California, you should consider retaining a trusted attorney who has experience handling bed bug injury and premises liability claims, to improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Our bed bug injury attorneys will help you navigate the claims process and maximize your recovery.