Bed Bug Infestation – Your Legal Rights
In Southern California a family was awarded $1.6 million against their apartment owner for suffering a bed bug infestation that left their child, then just a baby, with permanent scars. The family suffered for months with bed bugs at the Kahala Islander Apartments in Inglewood in 2010.
An Arkansas family that complained of bed bug bites while staying at a Rancho Cucamonga, CA hotel has been awarded $546,000. Only a few hours after going to bed, the family members awoke with bites and rashes. According to the lawsuit the manager knew of the bed bugs in the room but failed to disclose it to the hotel guests.
16 tenants won a $3.5 million verdict against Park La Brea Apartments, with individual awards ranging from $34,000 to $470,200, despite combined medical costs totaling only about $2,200.
HOW TO SPOT BEDBUGS
When you’re on the move, whether for vacation or moving to a new property, take care to inspect for signs of bed bugs.
Check dark, enclosed areas like behind headboards, baseboards, and picture frames, and even the seams of the mattress and the box spring. Telltale indicators of bed bugs include dark brown or black stains or mounds left behind as defecation, white eggs, and shedded skins.
Everyone knows you shouldn’t buy a used mattress, but bed bugs can even be lodged in “new” furnituresold at stores, particularly bed furniture, such as frames, box springs, and mattresses.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE A VICTIM OF BEDBUGS:
Immediately document your injuries with photos and/or video. Record a written description, as well, of the dates and times you observed bites or other injuries. If you obtain any treatment for your injuries, keep the receipts and notes on why you were treated. Bed bug bites can even leave permanent scars.
You should also immediately notify the owner and/or authorized agent where ever you are staying or living. If your first notification isn’t in writing, try to follow up with a written notification, such as by email, fax or letter, and keep a copy of all correspondence.
If you have to take time off from work or even hobbies to deal with the bedbug problem, keep track of your lost time.
Since emotional distress is an important element of any bed bug lawsuit, make sure you note symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness, fear, or obsessive need to clean. The psychological effects of being a bed bug victim can last for years ….
Keep track of any personal property that is damaged by the bed bug infestation. Items such as clothing, furniture, luggage, backpacks, sheets, pillows, and mattresses, that were infested with bed bugs will need to be thrown out.
The types of damages a bed bug victim can recover include:
Economic damages: medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Noneconomic damages: pain and suffering, emotional harm and punitive damages.
Have you ever encountered bed bugs? Do you still suffer lingering effects? Who was to blame? You may be entitled to compensation.