Bed bugs have been a problem in the United States and throughout the world as long as recorded history. Although the 50’s saw a dramatic reduction in bed bug populations, the United States has joined one of the many countries experiencing a dramatic increase in bed bug populations. Bed bugs are now showing up everywhere including private homes, offices, and luxury hotels. In California the most reports of bed bug infestations are seen in the coastal cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, but even non-coastal areas such as Orange County have seen an increase in bed bug infestations.
Public health agencies across the United States have seen overwhelming complaints of bed bugs in recent years. People of all ages and economic and social backgrounds experience painful bed bug bites on a daily basis. The new daily filed reports of bed bugs confirm the problem of bed bugs is a growing concern.
This increasing bed bug problem occurs in apartment buildings and hotel rooms around the world. People of all ages, and economic and social backgrounds and walks of life are subject to repeated bites all over their bodies from bed bugs bites. Adults aren’t the only age groups affected. Teenagers, the elderly, and even infants can be bitten, and often they may suffer serious infections and injuries resulting from these bites.
Hotel operators and apartment building managers have special obligations to their tenants and guests to inspect their property for bed bug infestations on a routine basis. If an infestation is found, it’s necessary for them to take the required steps to eliminate bed bugs from their property. Bed bug victims are entitled to receive compensation which includes medical costs, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Bed bugs are insects that feed exclusively on blood. They are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide from a person’s breath. After finding a host to feed on, they burrow under the skin to find a blood vessel large enough to draw blood from. The pressure in the blood vessel is usually sufficient to fill the bed bug up in order to satisfy their appetite within a few minutes.
The volume of bed bug infestation reports emphasize the current problem and needs to comprehensively address this issue. Fortunately, preliminary studies indicate there is no evidence that bed bugs spread viruses such as HIV, but more study is needed to confirm this finding. While the Center for Disease Control reports the HIV virus has been recovered from bed begs as early as one hour after they’ve fed on infected blood there is no further evidence that HIV can be transmitted this way.
Bed bugs love to travel, too. The bugs and eggs can hitch a ride in clothing, bedding, furniture, backpacks, and even luggage. Pets also could be hosts to bed bugs and their eggs. Infested items can introduce bed bugs into areas that were previously uninfected. Bed bugs can even move through building structures such as ducts or even spaces in the wall. This ability is frequently used by owners of as justification for a bed bug infested of their properties. They may claim their tenants introduced the bed bug infestation by bringing an infected mattress or other item onto their property from another location. Therefore their tenant’s are responsible for their property’s infestation.
For bed bug injury cases, the question arises of who exactly is liable and responsible for the problem. Property owners who rent or lease are legally obligated to ensure their property is free from any bed bug infestations. Many times bed bug bites happen because property owners know about the infestation but fail to tell their tenants or guests.
California code states, “In every apartment house or hotel, every part of every bed including mattresses, sheets, blankets, and bedding, shall be kept in a clean, dry sanitary condition, free from filth, urine or other fouls matters, and from infection of lice, bed bugs or other insects.”
Property owners may become aware of infestations by getting bitten, or when a guest, tenant, or employee informs them. These are regarded as an actual notice. Many times bed bugs are discovered by housekeeping staff when they see sheets stained with blood or bed bug feces in blankets, sheets, or mattresses. These instances constitute “knowledge” of a bed bug infestation by the property owner.
Constructive eviction happens when management or property owners ignore these indications. The tenant then has a right to move out and stop paying rent and not incur a legal liability for breaking their lease.
When getting a rental property ready to rent, landlords are morally obligated to ensure their property is suitable for occupancy and habitation. This obligation includes that their property is free from bed bug infestations. All rental property in California has an “implied warranty of habitability.”
If a property owner violates this “implied warranty” they are liable if their rental unit is discovered to have a bed bug infestation. Due to the “traveling” ability of bed bugs it can be difficult to determine the original source for the infestation. Property owners frequently argue the origin infestation of bed bugs was not in their apartment building.
While a tenant occupies an apartment, the landlord is required to properly maintain their property. This includes exterminating bed bugs, otherwise they are in violation of their legal responsibilities. If a landlord does not correct the infestation, tenants can legally vacate their apartments under the “process of constructive eviction.”
Furnished apartments usually are equipped with beds and their associated bedding. If a property owner fails to change the bedding injuries can occur if there is an infestation. California State Housing Codes states: “In every dwelling where the linen is furnished, the linen shall be changed before a new guest occupies the dwelling unit.” Due to this law, the landlord is liable for any injuries occurring to their tenant.
If you become the victim of a bed bug infestation due to a negligent landlord or property owner it is imperative to be proactive by seeking medical treatment for your injuries. It is advisable to consult a dermatologist. Measures should also include reporting the infestation to management and keeping copies of your records, which should include detailed information of any and all contacts relating to your situation. This information includes, date, time, and place of the incident and contact with management or landlord. It is also imperative that you move from the property if at all possible.
Calls to the health department will discover if the property has had any prior reports of infestation in the past. Contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gibalevich in San Francisco to discuss your rights.
Bed bug injuries can cause a person to suffer physically in these situation. In addition there may be financial loss of property through destruction of clothing, furnishings, and bedding. Sleeping habits may also be disrupted as well as allergies caused from long-term exposure to bed bugs. You may also suffer mental anguish and psychological trauma.
In California the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury’s occurrence. The courts may allow extensions under certain circumstances to this statute of limitations. This is called “tolling,” and may include cases involving mental or physical impairment, minors, or delayed symptoms resulting from the injury.
In California there are dozens of victims who have filed bed bug lawsuits. This process includes addressing many issues and concerns which require the expertise of a professional. If you are the victim of a bed bug infestation in your apartment or while on vacation at a resort or hotel, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Daniel A. Gibalevich Law Firm at (phone number). The attorneys at Daniel A. Gibalevich Law Firm are experienced with personal injury lawsuits for bed bugs in San Francisco and Southern California. Please contact our offices today for a free consultation for more information relating to your case.
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