What if I was bitten by bedbugs at a Las Vegas hotel?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Apr 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Las Vegas hotel patrons may sue the hotel for negligence if they get bitten by bedbugs. Negligence has four elements that the bedbug victim would need to prove in order to prevail in a lawsuit for bedbug injuries:

  1. The defendant (hotel) owed the plaintiff (victim) a duty of care;
  2. The defendant(s) breached this duty;
  3. This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
  4. This injury resulted in damages.

Note that many personal lawsuits resolve with a favorable settlement for the plaintiff without having to go to trial.

What are bedbugs?

Their scientific name is Cimex lectularius. They are tiny parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals.

Bed bugs typically live in fabrics and upholstery, which is why they thrive in mattresses, bed sheets, chairs, couches, suitcases, and clothing. They can also live in walls, where they may pass between rooms via wall outlets.

It makes sense that Las Vegas hotel rooms are particularly susceptible to bed bugs considering they are high-traffic areas with travelers from all over the world. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike in their luggage and then journey between rooms. 

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Sources differ about how hazardous bedbugs can be. According to Oxford Academic, bedbugs may potentially transmit 45 pathogens. However, there is no hard evidence that bedbugs are infectious disease vectors.

At the very least, bedbugs can cause painful and itchy bites and sores. If the skin ever opens, there may be a risk for secondary infection and serious allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock.

Aside from physical injuries, bedbugs take a mental toll as well: Victims may suffer from anxiety and depression.

Are Nevada hotels negligent if they have bedbugs?

Hotels have the duty to provide clean bedding, clean bedrooms, and sanitary conditions. And if there is ever a bedbug infestation, Nevada law requires the hotel to thoroughly fumigate, disinfect and renovate the room until the bedbugs have been entirely exterminated.

So if a hotel patron can show that the hotel failed to provide safe conditions and/or failed to adequately treat a prior bedbug infestation, then a Las Vegas personal injury attorney may be able to argue that the hotel was negligent because its breach of duty caused the victim's bedbug injuries.

What money can I get from Nevada hotels that give me bedbugs?

A Nevada personal injury attorney would fight for hefty compensatory damages to cover the victim's injuries, which may include:

  • medical bills, including prescription costs;
  • lost property, such as infested clothing that the victim had to throw out;
  • lost wages from having to miss work due to the bed bugs; and/or
  • pain and suffering

If the case goes to trial, the court may impose substantial punitive damages as well.

Legal References

      NRS 447.020  Cleanliness of bedding; worn out and unfit bedding.
      1.  All bedding, bedclothes or bed covering, including mattresses, quilts, blankets, sheets, pillows or comforters, used in any hotel in this state must be kept clean and free from all filth or dirt.
      2.  No bedding, bedclothes or bed covering, including mattresses, quilts, blankets, sheets, pillows or comforters, shall be used which is worn out or unsanitary for use by human beings according to the true intent and meaning of this chapter.

      NRS 447.030  Extermination of vermin.  Any room in any hotel in this state which is or shall be infested with vermin or bedbugs or similar things shall be thoroughly fumigated, disinfected and renovated until such vermin or bedbugs or other similar things are entirely exterminated.

      NRS 447.040  Cleanliness of rooms used for sleeping.  Every room in any hotel in this state used for sleeping purposes must be free from any and every kind of dirt or filth of whatever nature, and the walls, floors, ceiling and doors of every such room shall be kept free from dirt.

      NRS 447.045  Hotel required to be kept in sanitary condition.
      1.  Toilet rooms and bathrooms, including toilets, bathing and lavatory facilities, in hotels shall be kept clean and sanitary.
      2.  All other rooms, corridors, stairways, elevators, fire escapes, garages within hotels, lobbies and other portions or appurtenances of hotels used by tenants shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition, free of fire hazards and free of hazards to life and limb.

    See, e.g. Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (1996)(elements of negligence).

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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