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Can you sue a hotel for bed bug bites?

Depending on your age, you may remember being told as a child, "Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite!" That was more than just a convenient rhyme. It was a holdover acknowledgment that bed bugs were once a serious problem.

Then, suddenly, they weren't. The advent of powerful insecticides pretty much killed bed bugs off and they largely disappeared from the 1950s until the late 1990s. Why? Some of the stronger pesticides were banned, and the few bed bugs that survived developed hardier immune systems. Travel to and from other countries became more common, and those travelers sometimes brought new varieties of bed bugs with them. Now, bed bugs are a problem that can crop up in just about any hotel -- no matter how exclusive.

The big question for a lot of travelers who end up suffering the ill effects of bed bug bites is whether or not they can get compensation for their losses and other damages. In some cases, they can.

Here's why it may be possible to sue for a bed bug infestation:

  • Hotel managers have a general duty to provide a safe environment for their guests.
  • If there was a known bed bug infestation (and their hard to miss if there were bloodstains on the sheets of the beds), that is a violation of property liability laws.
  • Your losses may be far more serious than just a few bites. Some people have an allergic reaction to bed bug saliva and have to seek hospital care. You may have also accidentally carried the bugs home in your clothes and luggage -- infesting your house. That can be an expensive problem to fix.

Suing a hotel over a bed bug infestation isn't always easy and can be complicated by several factors. To determine if you have a case, it's wise to document everything as soon as you realize what's happening and talk the situation over with an attorney.

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