Are Hotels Liable for Bed Bugs?

There is nothing worse than checking into a nice hotel while you’re on vacation, only to wake up the next morning covered in itchy red bumps. While most hotels maintain a high standard of cleanliness, others can cut corners, much to the chagrin of their guests. If you suffered itching, bites, an allergic reaction, or any other injury related to bed bugs, you may be able to recover damages for medical expenses and more, but it depends on the situation and your ability to prove from where the bed bugs originated.

Signs of Bed Bugs

It can be hard to tell if a mark is from a bed bug or caused by an allergic reaction or another source. Some tell-tale signs indicate marks from a bed bug. Bed bugs look like very small apple seeds, measuring only 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. They may look like small specks of dirt or debris as well.

When you first experience bed bugs, you will feel extremely itchy. You may wake up in the middle of the night with intense urges to scratch your body. Bed bug bites look like red, swollen welts that can appear all over your body. These bites will feel itchy and painful.

Aside from the bites, bed bugs also leave other signs of their presence. For example, if a hotel bed has rust-colored stains along the mattress’s corners, it’s an indication of bed bugs. This discoloration occurs when bed bugs discard their outer shells or fecal matter on the bed. Crushed bed bugs also smell sweet and sharp, described like rotten almonds.

Hotel Liability for Bed Bug Injuries

Hotel owners and property managers have a responsibility to keep their rooms bed bug-free. Bed bugs are a serious health and safety risk to hotel guests, and courts can hold hotel owners liable for injuries caused by bed bugs. If a hotel owner or franchise doesn’t maintain cleanliness standards and an infestation occurs, they could be liable for any tenant injuries.

Even if you are traveling to a different state or city, if you experience a bed bug infestation in a hotel room, you may still be able to file a suit against the establishment. Discuss your case with one of our attorneys for questions regarding interstate issues.

What You Need to File a Lawsuit Against a Hotel

To file a lawsuit against a hotel for a bed bug infestation, you will need documented proof of your injuries. If you visit a doctor or use any medication to treat your injuries, make sure to collect receipts and discharge reports. You can take pictures and videos of your injuries as well. Consulting with a premise liability attorney can help you prepare your case for the courts.

If you find evidence of bedbugs in your hotel room after your stay, be sure to get evidence. Taking lots of pictures and videos of the room can help you document this issue. Be sure to tell hotel management to protect other patrons. If they brush you off or fail to respond to the complaint, you can use it as an example of negligence in your lawsuit.

What Damages Can You Recover?

If you have suffered injuries from bedbugs, you can recover compensation to pay for any financial, physical, or emotional losses. Bedbug victims can sue a hotel for:

  • Medical expenses (bed bugs can spread diseases)
  • Inspection and extermination costs (not usually applicable to hotel victims)
  • Emotional distress, pain, and suffering
  • Room rental expenses
  • Luggage fumigation
  • Other costs related to the injury

Discuss your case with an experienced attorney if you believe a negligent hotel caused you or your family to suffer a bedbug infestation. Unfortunately, bedbugs aren’t just something you suffer during your stay — they follow you home in your clothes, luggage, and other travel gear. You may need to pay bedbug removal from your entire home.