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How to Sue a Hotel for Bed Bugs

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 16, 2011 5:47 AM

They're icky. They're itchy. They make you want to burn everything you own.

They're bed bugs, and if you have them, you're likely miserable to be around and covered in bed bug bites.

And if you got them from a hotel room, you're probably feeling angry right about now. You may want to know whether you can sue a hotel for bed bugs.

The answer is a resounding "Yes!" But not everyone will have successful bed bug cases.

Suing Hotel for Bed Bugs

Hotel guests can seek compensation for the bites they suffered and the little monsters you accidentally brought into your home.

Suing a hotel for bed bugs comes down to whether you can prove negligence. You'll need to show that:

  • The hotel owners failed to properly deal with a known infestation; or
  • Hotel management and staff didn't appropriately inspect the premises or hotel room.

Proving negligence could make a case for a premises liability claim.

Complexities in Hotel Bed Bug Cases

Proving negligence could be difficult because bed bugs are difficult. Sufferers know that they take forever to kill. One lone bug could repopulate the entire area. Even consistent monitoring can fail to turn up a new infestation. 

Typically homeowners or hotel owners need to hire pest control, and it takes time and money to remove an infestation. You may be able to get compensation for property damage, bed bug injuries, emotional distress, and premises liability.

And what if the guests or employees don't tell the manager they were bitten by a bed bug? Some would suggest that hotels have a legal duty of care to inspect staff and rooms for infestations. But the cause of the pest and negligence from the hotel staff can be hard to prove, which means courts may disagree.

Filing a Bed Bug Claim

If you found bed bugs in your hotel, you should document them with photos. Take pictures of the room and any bites. Take notes and pictures if you bring them home, and they infest your house. It can help to contact the health department and report the hotel. Keep track of any medical expenses and home expenses as you try to mitigate the infestation.

If you manage to find enough evidence that the hotel ignored or improperly monitored the bed bug situation, you can probably file a lawsuit. If a lawyer doesn't take your case, consider small claims court.

Bed bugs are expensive little monsters, so you'll likely seek reimbursement for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • New luggage and clothing
  • A home inspection from pest control
  • Any treatment for the home infestation of bed bugs
  • Lost wages if victims of bed bugs need to stay home
  • Temporary lodging while your home is unsafe

Compensation for pain and suffering is also an option. Think of all those sleepless nights and the itching. And your newfound fear of hotels.

So, sure. Go ahead and sue a hotel for bed bugs if you're absolutely sure it's the source of your bites and/or infestation. And for those currently living in fear, find a bed bug dog to ensure that you didn't bring them home. They're the best things ever.

If you decide to sue the hotel, you'll want to talk to an experienced attorney beforehand.

Related Resources:

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