Bed Bugs and Negligence: Your Rights in Texas
Brian White | July 26, 2015 | Personal Injury
Anyone who owns or operates a building that receives guests must provide a safe and clean residence free from danger. Hotel owners, in particular, must maintain the building under strict safety standards. Since 2014, these laws have been tightened and now consider a bed bug infestation a cause for significant injury.
Houston, Texas, lists bed bugs in any public sleeping area as a public health nuisance. Under the health and safety code, a bed bug-infested hotel would be considered a health risk and may be considered negligence.
Bed bugs are a widespread nuisance; in fact, 99.6% of professional pest control employees treated a bed bug infestation in the past year. Some of the highest incidences occur in the south, with 20% of pest respondents finding a bed bug infestation.
Do You Have A Case?
In order to have a valid bed bug case, you must:
- Have pictures of your bed bug bites
- Have pictures of the bed bugs in the hotel room
- A hospital bill from getting bed bug treatment
If you have the above documentation, then contact Brian White & Associates immediately. Mr. White and his team have experience settling these types of claims in a quick and successful manner for clients throughout Texas.
Hotel Owner Negligence in Bed Bug Cases
Because hotels are required to maintain a safe and clean residence for guests, there are many cases where they can be held liable in the event of a bed bug infestation. Though bed bugs aren’t thought to cause severe injuries, they can cause significant allergic reactions, property damage, and other problems. The sustainability of a bed bug case depends on several factors:
- You must prove the hotel was negligent. The hotel must control insect infestation, maintain proper security, exercise reasonable care when hiring employees, train staff adequately, and maintain stairs, walkways, and locks for its guests. If any of these duties have been breached or ignored, it is considered negligent.
- You must have suffered actual and documented injuries as a direct result of the hotel’s negligence. For example, a severe allergic reaction to bed bug bites requiring medical treatment would be considered an injury.
If both of these factors can be proved, you may be eligible to receive compensation. In a personal injury suit, compensation is divided into separate types of damages. Damages will vary based on the severity of injuries, but some of the more common damage types are:
- Medical expenses, which are any medical bills incurred because of the injury. For example, hospital treatment, co-pays, and prescription medications.
- Lost wages are claimed when work is missed because of the injury. Work lost because of treatment and visits to the doctor will be included.
- Pain and suffering may be claimed in cases of severe injuries leading to pain and/or mental anguish. If the bed bug infestation caused a significant allergic reaction, this would be a justifiable damage.
- Property damage is also common in bed bug cases. Bed bugs spread rapidly in luggage, clothes, and even back to the home. Sometimes, the infested items need to be destroyed. In this case, there could be a justifiable property damage claim.
- Other damages, like loss of consortium or punitive damages, are not common in bed bug cases. Generally, these types of damages are only used in cases of severe injury or death.
Bed Bug Attorneys in Houston, TX
To prove negligence and seek damages, you must collect evidence of the infestation and subsequent treatment. Pictures of bed bugs in the hotel room furniture, bite marks, and any complaint reports with management would be considered evidence. Likewise, any record of medical treatments and physicians’ statements should be collected. The hotel may require you to file an injury report with both the hotel manager and the state health and sanitation department. The final step is to contact a personal injury attorney who will move your case forward.
Attorney Brian White provides effective representation in personal injury lawsuits. Based out of Houston, TX, our firm has experience across several areas of practice, including bed bug injuries. Contact us today if you have suffered bed bug injuries after a hotel stay.