Orange County Bed Bug Attorney
Bed bugs are making a comeback across the country. Unfortunately, Orange County hotels and apartments are not immune to the growing problem.
If you have been injured because of bed bugs, contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo to learn about your legal options.
Our experienced Orange County bed bug attorneys can help you navigate a personal injury claim and maximize the amount of compensation you are awarded. Call us today to request a free consultation and learn more.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are extremely small, copper-colored parasites that feed primarily on blood. After feeding, which occurs when they burrow under the skin and attach to a blood vessel, they become swollen and appear red.
Bed bugs are attracted to warm, damp places and the carbon dioxide in a person’s breath. This makes a person’s bed the insect’s primary target. Bed bugs are also frequently found in sheets, clothing, other textiles, and furniture around the house. Bed bugs may even decide to hitch a ride on your pets, even though humans are preferable hosts.
Common Bed Bug Injuries
Bed bugs are tiny insects, but they can wreak havoc on you and your home. Even though bed bugs are not believed to carry and transmit infectious diseases, they can still cause you to suffer serious injuries. Commonly reported bed bug injuries include:
- Itchy skin
- Soft tissue damage
- Allergies, and
- Infections (including impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis).
Bed bugs are also capable of causing other physical and emotional injuries, as well as significant property damage. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo for help recovering the money you deserve for your bed bug-related injuries.
Liability for Bed Bug Injuries
Bed bugs most frequently affect apartment building tenants and hotel guests. Since these buildings have much more traffic, it is easier for them to become infested with bed bugs. In each of these cases, the building owner has a legal responsibility to make sure that their premises are clean and habitable. This includes making sure that there are no bed bugs on site. The specific responsibilities imposed on a property owner depend on the type of property that is infested with bed bugs.
Hotels and Short-Term Living Quarters
Hotel and short-term rental property owners are required, under California law, to provide clean and sanitary rooms for their guests. State regulations [25 CA ADC 40] require property owners to keep beds, bedding (including sheets, blankets, and pillows), and mattresses in a “clean, dry, and sanitary condition free from filth.” These conditions decrease the likelihood of an outbreak of “lice, bedbugs, or other insects.”
Hotel owners are not only required to store bedding materials in sanitary environments but are also required to provide new bedding on a regular basis. In fact, any property owner that rents a room with a furnished bed and bedsheets must legally change the bedding whenever a new guest occupies the space.
Hotel, motel, and short-term property owner can be liable for bed bug injuries if they knew, or should have known, about a bed bug problem but failed to fix the situation. Owners may have actual knowledge of an infestation if they are directly alerted by hotel staff or guests. Owners may have constructive knowledge if rooms display symptoms of a bed bug infestation (e.g., complaints of welts, destruction of furniture and bedding). Liability exists regardless of the type of knowledge a property owner has.
When you rent an apartment, you expect that it will be a safe place to live. You pay rent every month to a landlord who is required, by law, to ensure that your apartment is habitable. California’s implied warranty of habitability mandates that all landlords ensure that their properties are “in a condition fit for human begins to live in.” The only way to ensure this is by complying with all building and housing codes that “materially affect tenants’ health and safety.”
The presence of bed bugs – and your landlord’s refusal or inability to get rid of the infestation – is a breach of California housing regulations. If you suffer an injury because of a bed bug infestation in your apartment, your landlord can be held responsible for damages.
Bed Bug Injury Damages
What kind of compensation can you recover if you are injured because of a bed bug bite? The Orange County bed bug attorneys at the Law Offices of John Rapillo will fight to make sure that you are awarded both compensatory and non-economic damages. In some cases, we may also be able to secure punitive damages on your behalf.
Compensatory damages, which are also known as economic damages, are awarded to compensate you for the present and future financial costs you have because of an injury. Compensatory damages may include those for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage, and
Compensatory damages are capped at your actual financial losses and expenses.
Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate you for injuries that are difficult to value in terms of money. Examples of commonly awarded non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Chronic pain
- Scarring, and
Non-economic damages are not subject to a cap, which explains why awards can vary so much in each individual case.
Punitive damages are generally not available in personal injury cases. However, you may be entitled to an award of punitive damages if the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression. This would generally be the case if a landlord or property owner knew that there was a bed bug infestation that posed a significant risk to guest or tenant health, but willfully avoided fixing the situation. Any punitive damages would be in addition to compensatory and non-economic awards.
Statute of Limitations for Bed Bug Cases
If you have been injured because of bed bug bites, you have the right to request damages from the person who is responsible for the infestation. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases – including those for bed bug injuries – is two years from the date of the injury. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires you will not be able to recover the money you deserve.
What happens if you don’t discover a bed bug-related injury or illness right away? Bed bug bites may not be noticeable right away. However, if left untreated, these bites can lead to life-threatening infections.
If there is a reasonable delay in the discovery of a bed bug-related injury, you may be able to toll (or extend) the statute of limitations. In most cases, you would have one year from the date you discovered the injury to file a claim.
Orange County Bed Bug Injury Attorneys
Bed bugs are not only annoying but also potentially hazardous to your health. If you have suffered a bed bug injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo to find out how we can help you hold a negligent property owner or landlord responsible for your injuries. Our trusted personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the money you need.
You only have a short period of time in which you can file a legal claim for damages, so do not hesitate to call us today to set up a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your legal rights and options, and address any concerns you may have.