For anyone who has lived in an apartment in the last 10 years the fear of bed bugs is real. Over the last decade, bed bug infestations have been widely reported in cities large and small across the country. These little parasitic insects are more than just a harmless nuisance; they can cause pain and suffering and even loss of property.
Bed bugs are tiny—adults average around five millimeters in length—and feed on the blood of warm-blooded species, typically humans. Their bites generally cause small, red welts on the body and are an itchy irritant. While bed bugs are not known to spread disease or illness, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have all declared that bed bugs are in fact a public health pest which can cause public health issues when not controlled.
As the summer months approach, it’s important to be aware that bed bugs become more prevalent in these months as temperatures and humidity rise. According to a team of Penn Medicine researchers, data from a four-year period of reports in Philadelphia showed that infestations grew in the summer months and peaked in August, while being the lowest in February, signaling that the bugs preferred the warmer months for their activity.
There have been many cases of people filing claims against landlords and property managers for bed bug infestations over the years. A couple of examples include:
- In 2011, a Maryland woman suffered lesions and scarring on her body from bed bugs in her apartment. A jury awarded her $800,000 in a settlement as it was established that the landlord was notified of the infestation and failed to eradicate them before she moved into the apartment.
- In April 2018, a jury awarded a Los Angeles family $1.6 million in a settlement from their fight with bed bugs in their apartment in 2010. The family’s infant son was covered in bug bites from the incident and still suffers from scarring to this day.
Bed bugs not only can cause you anxiety and sleepless nights but as seen in the two cases mentioned above, physical scarring can occur from the bites as well. There’s also an economic loss as those who have bed bug infestations may need to remove and throw away furniture, clothes, and personal belongings to help rid their space of the pests if other treatment options fail to work.
Most apartment building landlords and managers are responsible for preventing and treating for pests, including bed bugs. However, it’s important to carefully read your lease as some may place the responsibility of beg bug infestation management on the tenant.
If you experience an infestation and it was the responsibility of the landlord to prevent or treat and failed to do so, an experienced lawyer can help you. At Portner & Shure, our personal injury lawyers can help you pursue economic damages such as medical expenses from physical scarring and property damage or loss, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and punitive damages.
If you’ve experienced a bed bug infestation and suffered as a result, please contact us today by filling out the form on this page or by calling us at 410-995-1515 or 301-854-9000 for assistance in Maryland, 703-734-8790 for service in Virginia, 804-916-1577 in Richmond, and 202-554-1449 in Washington D.C. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless your case is successful.