“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Easier said than done when they’ve made your bed their home. Unfortunately, these once nearly eradicated little blood-suckers have come crawling back into our lives. They are small. They are elusive. They are very difficult to evict. Even worse, they leave many small, painful little red bites that can cause everything from some annoying itching to scarring to even allergic reactions. If you wake up noticing small red dots or unexplained itching, it is likely high time you get your place checked out for bed bugs. As I said, they are elusive – so even if you don’t see them, they may be hiding… even in light sockets.
First hint of bed bugs – what to do?
First off, get out of that mattress. If you are a renter, you need to immediately notify your landlord. Your landlord has a specific duty to eradicate bed bugs. Your landlord’s immediate action should be to call an exterminator and follow the professional advice as to dealing with the pests. Unfortunately, ‘dealing’ with them often means tenting the entire building and throwing out things like mattresses. And, to that point, don’t think just throwing out your mattress is enough – these little guys are expert hiders. They can be everywhere from luggage to light sockets and everywhere in between.
If you are in somewhere like a hotel, you need to tell the management immediately. Take as much precaution as possible by bagging all luggage and belongings in trash bags and sealing completely until you can have them treated (you don’t want these guys travelling home with you). In a hotel, you may be lucky enough that a new room will do the trick – at least for the night, but it may be time to find a new place to stay.
In either case, if you have bed bug bites, please see a physician just to be sure (1) that’s what it is and (2) that you don’t face any unexpected side effects like an allergic reaction or something perhaps more severe.
What are my legal rights?
Well, if you are a renter and your landlord eradicates the problem immediately, you should, at least be put up for the time it takes to eradicate as well as be compensated for your belongings. You may or may not have much cause in negligence for your injuries, but that would be a case-by-case basis.
Now, if your landlord decides not to eradicate them or takes self-help steps to save money, leaving you to suffer, that’s another story. If you haven’t already made it into an attorney’s office, get to one. Your attorney can take steps to either get your landlord to do the work or get you out of the lease. Next, you should have a claim for damaged property, but also a potential negligence claim for your injuries and pain and suffering. Each case is different, and the factual situations and damages can vary widely. Your absolute best bet is to find an attorney that deals with bed bug litigation and discuss your particular case in detail. The bed bug litigation attorney will be able to analyze the facts and your medical records to determine (1) whether you have a cause of action; (2) what cause or causes you have; (3) and the relative strengths and weaknesses of your case. From there, you can get all of your options including a description of the expected steps for your case.
If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of bed bugs, don’t hesitate – call The Law Office of W. Chase Carpenter today!