Fort Lauderdale Bed Bugs Lawyers
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small and oval-shaped, with two antennae and six legs. While they are normally dark brown and flat, they become reddish-brown and balloon-shaped as they feed on human blood.
How Big Are Bed Bugs?
Many people mistakenly believe that bed bugs are invisible to the human eye, but adult bed bugs can actually grow up to 7 mm in length. Their eggs are about the size of a pinhead, and baby bed bugs (also called nymphs) can be anywhere from 1-5 mm.
What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look Like?
Often confused with skin conditions like eczema and fungal infections, bed bug bites are typically small, red, and itchy welts, although not everyone will experience itching after a bite occurs. Because bed bugs have the tendency to bite in diagonal rows, you may see a zig-zagging pattern on the skin. Over time, the red welts can become raised into bumps called “papules” or even turn into blisters.
What Are the Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites?
Some of the most common symptoms of bed bug bites include:
- Constant itching, particularly at night
- Burning sensations on the skin
- Rows of red welts
- Unexplained rashes
Know the Signs of Bed Bugs
Because bed bugs are so small and reclusive, you may never actually see one in person. They also tend to hide in dark places like crevices, outlets, and box springs, making them even more difficult to spot. However, there are a few telltale signs that you may be dealing with a bed bug infestation.
Here are the biggest signs to watch for:
- Foul, Musty Odor: Bed bugs secrete a musty, slightly sweet odor from the glands under their bellies. If you smell something off, you may want to examine the area for additional signs.
- Molted Shells and Skins: As the bed bug nymphs mature, they will shed their clear skins, leaving the tiny shells behind wherever they tend to congregate.
- Blood Stains: After the bed bugs feed, miniscule drops of blood may stain your bed sheets or pillows. Look for unexplained reddish and brown stains.
- Fecal Stains and Spots: Bed bugs also leave behind a lot of liquid and solid waste after feeding, causing small dark brown or black smears.
How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Once you find bed bugs in your home, the next steps can be very complicated and overwhelming. In most cases, it requires chemical treatments to get rid of bed bugs completely.
Steps to take to treat a bedbug infestation:
- Clean all bedding and fabrics in the hottest water possible and dry them in the hottest drying temperature as possible
- Seal all bedding in plastic bags so that bed bugs cannot infest other areas
- Scrub your mattress and fabric furniture with a firm brush to remove eggs
- Vacuum your carpeted areas and fabric furniture frequently
- Use safe bed bug removal chemicals and make sure to read the labels carefully
Common Injuries Caused by Bed Bugs
Waking up and discovering that you’ve been attacked by bed bugs can be extremely distressing. In some cases, bites may not appear until days later. While bed bugs do not carry any known pathogens or diseases, no one should have to endure the physical and emotional trauma resulting from an encounter with bed bugs.
Some of the most common injuries resulting from a bed bugs attack may include:
- Severe skin rashes
- Itching, blistering of the skin
- Post-bite bacterial infections
- Allergic reactions
- Mental anguish and psychological damage (insomnia, fear, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD)
- Permanent scarring
What to Do After a Bed Bug Attack
A bed bug infestation is traumatic no matter where it occurs—whether it’s at a hotel, in your own home, or in another public facility.
If you have been injured by bed bugs, we suggest you take the following proactive steps to preserve your rights and begin the process of building a strong claim:
- Document your injuries and property damage by taking pictures of the bed bugs and bites, as well as any blood stains on sheets
- Create a written report with details about the attack including the date it occurred, location, and any and all witnesses who have knowledge of the attack
- Create a list of belongings that have been damaged and need to be replaced
- If possible, trap a few bed bugs for evidence
- Report the bed bug infestation to your landlord/apartment manager or hotel front desk and/or management
- Seek medical attention at an emergency room, urgent care or dermatologist
- Contact the local county health department and ask them to visit the site of infestation and create a report
- Keep track of all your receipts for cleaning bills, extermination costs, medical costs, and travel expenses
It is crucial that you do not sign a release document presented to you by a landlord or hotel without speaking with an attorney. If you sign this document, you are essentially waiving your right to file a claim against the negligent party and will be unable to seek compensation for your injury.
Is My Landlord Liable for Bed Bugs?
According to Statute 83.51 of the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, landlords are responsible for eradicating bed bugs from the premises. Every landlord in Florida must ensure that their properties are habitable or fit for human occupancy. However, the mere presence of bed bugs in your apartment does not automatically give rise to landlord liability.
Rather, you need to prove that your landlord did the following:
- Failed to follow industry-standard bed bug inspection and treatment procedures
- Failed to disclose known histories of bed bug infestations in the apartment building
- Failed to repair or remedy the beg bug infestation
I Was Attacked by Bed Bugs in a Hotel. Is the Hotel Liable?
If you’ve recently stayed at a hotel that was infested by bed bugs, you may be entitled to compensation. Hotel owners and staff owe a duty to guests to provide a safe and habitable environment that is free from knowable hazards.
You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if:
- The hotel owner failed to warn you of a pre-existing bed bug infestation
- The hotel owner, housekeeping, and/or maintenance staff did not properly inspect for bed bugs
- The hotel owner, housekeeping, and/or maintenance staff did not implement proper procedures or protocols for bed bugs
Make sure to file an injury report with the front desk clerk or property manager. Obtain the person’s name and contact information. Inquire about when the room was last inspected and cleaned and get the names of the cleaning company or cleaning staff. If you or a loved one are a victim of a bed bug attack, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
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