Can a lawsuit be filed against a hotel for bed bug bites?
YES! A lawsuit against a hotel for a Bed Bug problem is all too common these days. Courts across the country have recognized that victims of bed bug-related injuries can bring claims under multiple legal theories against hotels and motels. Hotels owe a duty to their guests to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their premises (rooms) in a reasonably safe condition. Furthermore, hotels have a duty to warn of bed bugs that are or should be known to the landowner or property manager, which are unknown to the guests and cannot be discovered through the exercise of due care. A cluster of Bed Bugs tucked away in the nooks and crannies of a hotel room can qualify as a concealed danger that cannot be discovered through the exercise of due care by a hotel or motel guest.
In some states, bed bug lawsuits are brought under the legal theory of Negligence or Breach of the Warranty of Habitability. A hotel or motel is under a duty to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition, and owners or managers of a hotel or motel owe guests the duty of providing them with accommodations that are in a reasonably safe condition. This duty placed on hotels is mitigated by a requirement that a plaintiff must establish that the hotel or motel created or had actual or constructive notice of the presence of bed bugs.
Notice of a pre-existing bed bug infestation can come in the form of prior guests reporting bed bug sightings or related injuries to a hotel employee. Additionally, notice can be imputed on a hotel or motel if no bed bug inspection policies are in place or the property does not employ a professional exterminator. Taking no proactive steps to treat or inspect a property when no reports of bed bugs have been made is just as bad as failing to treat an infestation when it is reported.
Before a bed bug lawsuit is filed, it is strongly encouraged that the victim of a bed bug injury retains some kind of evidence that demonstrates the hotel or motel owner failed to reasonably inspect the property or failed to treat a bed bug problem at the property. A good example of such evidence is photos or videos of bed bugs, actual bites or statements from employees of the property owner stating knowledge of the infestation. If this type of evidence exists, there are many strong arguments in favor of the hotel or motel being found liable for negligence and the guests’ injuries. The majority of successful lawsuits against hotels/motels for bed bugs occur when the property failed to warn guests of bed bugs on the property or failed to follow proper procedures in order to keep the property safe from bed bugs.