Florida’s rise in bed bug infestations cannot be attributed to any one source. The influx of travelers from across the country and the world may play a role, but so may the slipping standards of sanitization from property owners and lodging managers. Less widespread information about the pests is also available, and people are not aware of how to deal with them, whether before they travel, during their stay, or upon their returns home. Our bed bug lawyers are experienced in dealing with cases of these pests and making sure our clients get their fair restitution after they’ve been afflicted by the creatures.
Why the Spike in Florida?
Florida is one of the most traveled-to states in the United States. Visitors come from across the country and all over the world to see the many attractions Florida offers. In recent times, the explosive popularity of LeBron James and the Miami Heat brought basketball fans and celebrities alike to the city, packing out travel lodges, hotels, motels, and beach resorts. Additionally, Orlando is home to Disney World, which will never see downtime as an amusement park; there will always be a fresh wave of people walking through the gates. Similarly, nearby hotels are often booked months in advance, and occupied throughout the year.
Other Florida cities, like Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers, act as vacation spots, layover sites, retirement communities, and sports centers.
All of these cities feature visitors year in, year out, and because of the sheer number of guests, there is no safe way to police what enters your hotel. All cleaning staff can do is hope the guests did not bring in any pests and then thoroughly clean the room; however, when business is particularly booming and hotels need rooms to be rented out as quickly as possible and prepared equally so, cleaning staff become sloppy or lazy and do the bare minimum. This results in unsanitary conditions and an improper inspection for pests, which leads to problems such as bed bug infestations.
Places to Be Careful of
As stated above, the most common location you will be subjected to bed bugs while in Florida is at a hotel or a motel. Visitors may bring pests with them from home, other lodging sites, planes, or taxis, and do so unwittingly; bed bugs can latch on and wait until they are deposited in a favorable spot, then nest and infest.
However, as Florida is also a favorite spot for families to own second homes and rent them out, you may also be exposed to bed bugs in apartments and condos during a lease or AirBNB stay. Landlords have the same tendency to rent rooms as fast as possible with little to no time spent fumigating and properly cleaning. Worst of all, retirement communities have seen an increase in bed bugs, as the cleaning staff has not been reprimanded for letting infestations carry on.
Searching for Bed Bugs
Whether you’re a visitor at Disney World, staying in your grandparents’ vacation condo, or passing through a motel while driving across the state, you should take care to meticulously search for bed bugs. The creatures are tiny, flat bodied, reddish brown, and crawl instead of jumping. They like to nest in dark, warm places, so search in the seams of the mattress, under the headboard, behind the baseboard, under the boxspring, near electrical outlets, and behind picture frames. It can be troublesome, but a cursory glance can save you from a terrible experience.
If you don’t see any creatures themselves, look for signs of their nests. There may be cream-colored eggs around an affected area, shedded skin from juveniles, brown stains on fabrics or black mounds on harder surfaces. There may also be blood stains on the sheets from previous biting episodes.
You may not realize you were subjected to a bed bug infestation until days after your stay. Their bites, which are red marks that can blister and itch and are present in a line or zig zag pattern, may not show up for a few days; their saliva has an anesthetic substance in it, as well as an anti-coagulant, which prevents your blood from clotting and the wound from showing up immediately.
As soon as you realize you’ve been bitten, you should seek medical treatment; if you woke up and found bed bugs, document all evidence – photos of the nest, the bugs themselves, blood stains, potential bite marks – and go to a hospital. Bed bugs may carry infection in their bodies from feasting on other people. Some people are allergic and need special medication to prevent the bites from worsening. Your main goal should be to prevent an infection from forming and spreading, as the bites are usually numerous.
What You’re Entitled To
If you have been subjected to a bed bug infestation, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit and collect restitution for damages, including medical coverage for any hospitalization fees and medication administered to you; damaged or lost property that you must get rid of if you carry the infestation home or the bugs spread into your clothing and personal belongings; lost wages due to missing work to deal with the consequences of the episode; fumigation and extermination costs; and psychological effects, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and pain and suffering.
The person in charge of the property may try to say that the bed bugs were brought there by another individual or even by you, and you are not entitled to any damages from him. So long as you have ample evidence, you should press forward with your claim and fight for your fair compensation from staying in an infested lodging.
How We Can Help You
Our bed bug lawyers know that going through a bed bug infestation can be a harrowing experience. You may not know where to turn when you realize the incident has occurred, or you may not know how to proceed. A personal injury claim should be handled by an experienced attorney, and in the case of bed bugs, by an attorney who has dealt with infestation cases before. It is better to have a lawyer on your side who has prior knowledge of similar cases and has presided over them, as he will know exactly how to negotiate a fair settlement from the defendant in order to bring you your fair restitution.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We are available to give you guidance on the best route forward with a personal injury lawsuit and what we think you would be entitled to if you were to reach a settlement. Our bed bug lawyers in Florida are more than happy to take on your case for you, and we will do so with a zero fee guarantee – we will not get paid for our services unless we win your case and net you a proper settlement. If we lose your case, we lose our payment.
If you have suffered a bed bug infestation while traveling in Florida, contact our law firm today.