Can I sue a hotel or motel over a bed bug infestation?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Personal Injury

The best answer is: “It depends.” If you or a loved one suffer from physical, mental or financial consequences due to a New Mexico hotel or motel’s negligence resulting in a bed bug infestation, you are likely entitled to take legal action.

The amount of compensation you can receive depends upon various factors, including whether you need medical treatment, you miss time from work, you must destroy clothing and other belongings due to the infestation, or you suffer mental anguish over the experience.

Bed bug facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bed bugs are not known to spread disease. However, the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency label them a serious public health nuisance. The agencies issued a joint statement saying bed bug infestations are more frequent in recent years. Here are a few basic facts:

  • Bed bugs are reddish-brown ranging from 1 to 7 mm long
  • They exist solely by feeding on the blood of humans and animals
  • They can live for several months without a blood meal
  • They can survive in temperatures from 0 degrees to 125 degrees Fahrenheit
  • They typically live within eight feet of where people sleep
  • During the day, they can hide in mattress seams, box springs, headboards and many other areas

Also, bed bugs are expert hitchhikers, attaching themselves to clothing, suitcases and people who take them home.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten?

Bite marks can appear on the face, neck, arms, legs and other body parts. But these bites sometimes don’t appear for up to two weeks. Since people are usually bitten while sleeping, the best way to identify an infestation is by:

  • Observing the pest’s exoskeletons after molting
  • Finding the bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets
  • Seeing rust-colored blood spots on sheets, mattresses or nearby furniture
  • Smelling a sweet, musty odor

While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, some people experience mild symptoms, like slightly swollen or red skin. However, a few people get severe allergic reactions or painful swelling, requiring urgent medical treatment.

Other consequences associated with bed bug bites

In some cases, scratching the bite area leaves people susceptible to secondary skin infections requiring antibiotics and other treatment. The CDC says other symptoms from bed bug bites are insomnia, anxiety and other emotional consequences that often result in lost wages.

It’s essential to document physical signs and any injuries. Lawsuits often happen when hotel or motel management does not take sufficient measures to prevent infestations or fails to take appropriate actions upon being notified by guests who discover these disgusting pests in their rooms.