Bed Bug Injury Cases Begin the Same Way
Many of our cases begin with a similar chain of events. A client will stay at a hotel for one or more nights then wake up to find bugs have bitten them in the night. After confirming the bites came from bed bugs. What do you do? This is an all too common problem for travelers, as well as a nightmare for the hospitality industry.
Property Damage from Bed Bugs at Hotels
Recently a client approached our office with a similar experience. She had stayed at a hotel and was attacked by bed bugs on the second night of her 5-night reservation at a reputable hotel in Orlando, Florida. After discovering bed bugs in the room, she took photos and made a complaint to hotel management. She was offered a new room to stay in but was simply too disgusted to continue to stay at that property.
After checking out of the hotel and heading home our client was seriously bothered at the thought of other guests falling victim to her same fate. After returning home she called her health department and complained about her stay in Orlando. She wanted to make sure that the incident went on record so it would not happen again. An inspector from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the hotel and confirmed the infestation. The room was ordered to be closed down until another representative could come and re-inspect. While speaking with the Department of Professional Regulation, she was told to throw away her belongings to prevent her home from being infested.
Many People Throw Away All of Their Belongings
During the frenzy of the whole incident, lack of sleep, painful itchy bites, medical visits and the fear of bringing home bed bugs, throwing away her belongings did not seem like an unreasonable thing to do. So she took all of the belongings she traveled with and threw them away including clothes, shoes, luggage, toiletries and even her hair dryer.
Anyone who has been exposed to bed bugs at a hotel should be legitimately concerned about bringing bed bugs home. Once bed bugs infest a home, they become very difficult to remove and treatments can be very expensive. There are ways to help reduce the chance of bringing bed bugs home with you after a hotel stay. Of course throwing everything away is an easy way to give you better odds of reducing the chance of bed bugs entering your home; there are less drastic options.
Do Not Panic After a Bed Bug Attack
There are several things you can do to protect yourself after reporting the infestation to the hotel. If you think you have fallen victim to a bed bug attack:
- Not everyone who stays in a bed bug infested hotel room will end up taking bed bugs home with them. The odds are in your favor that bed bugs will not make it home with you. However, experts still recommend taking precautions if your room was exposed to bed bugs. The most likely place to pick up bed bugs in luggage or handbags is on or next to the bed, chairs or couches. If you kept your luggage on the luggage rack, on top of a dresser or in the bathroom, your risk of infestation is significantly reduced.
- Take pictures of everything you are traveling with so there is a record of what you are washing, or discarding. If you discard items and replace them, keep receipts to show as part of your property damage claim.
- After identifying a bed bug infestation in your hotel room, immediately notify management and ask that your belongings be dry cleaned or laundered. Bed bugs and their eggs will die at high temperature settings on most dryers and washing machines. If the hotel refuses this request, take note of who you spoke to. If your request was denied, ask for some big plastic bags. Take your belongings and put them inside the bags and take them to a local laundry to be cleaned at high temperature before returning home.
Other Options After Bed Bug Exposure
- If the other options are not available, when you return home, luggage should be kept in the garage or on an outdoor porch. Leaving these items outside will reduce the chance that bugs can crawl off and into your home. Take items out and place them into garbage bags while transporting through your home to the washing machine. Place clothing in the washer and run on the high temperature cycle for at least 30 minutes. After the wash, place the items in a drier on the hottest setting for 30 minutes to kill all bugs and their eggs.
- Items like toiletries, shoes, suitcases, or other items you had while traveling should stay outside or in sealed plastic bags. Inspect these items and treat them for bed bugs or or hire a professional. To kill bed bugs on non-washable items on your own, try using heat. Place your items in plastic bags in a sunny spot outside. The temperature in the bag will rise for several hours to a level to kill the bed bugs. You could also try using cold to kill bed bugs. Using a deep freeze chest, place your luggage inside. A few days in the cold will also kill bed bugs. Items can also always be treated by a professional pest management service, at a cost.
Call a Bed Bug Lawyer to File an Injury and Property Damage Claim
Bed Bug Injuries are horrible, what makes matters worse is losing your property along with your sanity. Property damage is almost always a part of any bed bug injury claim. Make sure to contact an attorney experienced in bed bug injury cases and can fight for you. Attorneys are available from Bed Bug Law any time through our website, or by phone.