You may have heard about bed bugs, and the nuisances a bed bug infestation may cause. In fact, you may raise an eyebrow once you hear about personal injury cases that involve bed bug bites. Yes. Personal injury cases related to bed bug bites are a thing, and through the years, such cases have become common across the United States.
In Hawaii, bed bugs have become a problem across the state. Places that tend to be infested the worst are those that are known to experience a heavy influx of travelers every year.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are insects that feed on human and animal blood. These bugs get their names from their habit of feeding at night. A bed bug bite starts out as painless welts, which then turn into itchy blisters.
Bed bug bites are easily confused with flea bites. But unlike flea bites, which usually appear on the victim’s feet or legs, a bed bug bite may occur on any area of exposed skin.
While fleas are often associated with pets and the presence of a huge yard, bed bugs can appear virtually anywhere – residences, community centers, schools, offices, and even public transportation.
What Happens During an Infestation?
Bed bug infestations are hard to recognize. This is because the itching and blisters are easily mistaken for mosquito or flea bites. Since bed bugs are tiny, they can easily hide in crevices or cracks found in the bed frame, mattresses, bedding, furniture, and other bedroom clutter. Bed bugs are often found inside box springs and between mattress seams.
Once you suspect an infestation, it is quite easy to validate its presence. Bed bug excrements usually leave dark stains on mattresses and beddings. Bloodstains may also be visible on places where the bugs get accidentally crushed. A strong, musty odor may also linger in the air, which is due to a certain scent that bed bugs produce through their scent glands.
Bed bugs are spread from place to place for several reasons, but the most common is through travel luggage. This is why places such as hotels, dormitories, and private residences often become prone to such infestations.
Unless discovered early, a single bed bug can easily cause an infestation, since female bed bugs can produce around 200-500 eggs during its lifetime, and can lay 2-5 eggs each day.
The Dangers of a Bed Bug Bite
Bed bug bites are characterized by the following:
o Red patches with a dark spot at the center; may develop into blisters
o Arranged in clusters, usually of three
o Appears on areas of skin that are exposed during sleep e.g. face, arms, neck
o When a bed bug bites your skin, you will not feel any pain because the bugs secrete a small amount of anesthetic before they start to feed.
Although bed bug bites are not known to transmit any type of disease, bed bug bites may still become infected. If a person suffers from a bed bug allergy, a bite may trigger a reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit from Bed Bug Bites in Hawaii
You may think that suing over a couple of bed bug bites is an over-reaction, but the truth is, bed bug bites can leave permanent scars. you can suffer bed bug bites from staying at a hotel – places that are supposed to be safe and clean. This may also cause serious emotional and psychological distress.
Remember, you do not have to suffer a broken limb to experience trauma. Moreover, waking up covered in bites and welts is enough to file for a personal injury lawsuit.
The damages you may recover from this type of lawsuit include:
Damage to property: This includes any damage to clothing, furniture, and other property suffered due to a bed bug infestation.
Medical expenses: This includes all expenses used to cover treatment for any injury sustained through bed bug bites, including medication.
Relocation costs: This covers all costs from having to move out of an infested apartment. It also includes any cost to cover rent in case the victim has to stay in another place for the meantime.
If the damage occurred in a hotel or motel, this should cover the cost of the victim’s entire stay.
You may also file for a premises liability claim if you can prove that the landlord or hotel manager knew about the bed bug infestation but did nothing to solve it.
Your Rights as a Hawaii Tenant or Hotel Guest
According to the Apartment Owners Association, landlords and hotel owners have a responsibility to ensure that their residence is habitable. Therefore, landlords should pay for the extermination and other costs needed to treat an infestation. If they fail to keep their property clean and infestation-free, you have the right to sue.
Hotels and motels are also required to keep their rooms safe and clean. Therefore, they are liable for any injuries sustained by guests, including bites from a bed bug infestation.
Hiring a Hawaii Bed Bug Lawyer
Bed bug bites, although not as severe as burns or fractures, are also regarded as serious injuries under the law. Aside from that, getting bitten by bed bugs also infringes on several of your rights including your right to clean living quarters; right to abide by a contract that provides you with a sanitary room, and of course, your right to safety.
Once you decide to push through with a case, you have to make sure that you do the following:
Gather evidence: Take photos of the place, including signs that point to an infestation – dark stains on places such as mattresses, beddings, and walls. If you can find bed bugs, the better. Don’t forget to take photos of your bite marks, as well.
Seek treatment: After gathering evidence, make sure that you get your bites treated immediately. This is to prevent any complication. Even if bed bug bites are generally harmless, it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
Gather pertinent information.
This includes the hotel manager’s name and contact information. Remember, you should do this only after gathering evidence, because doing it beforehand may rob you of the chance to gather evidence.
Never accept anything. The management may offer you things such as gift certificates or discount coupons – never accept them! This may be seen as compensation, and can weaken any future case.
Seek help from a bed bug lawyer. Before taking any step further, seek the aid of an experienced bed bug lawyer from one of the top firms in the state. This will ensure that your case proceeds accordingly, and that you get what you justly deserve.
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