The fear of a bedbug epidemic in the UK is rising – as the number of outbreaks also rises, 65% year on year in fact according to recent data.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has also described the rise of bedbugs as a “real cause for concern” as the critters have even been seen hitching rides on public transport.
The impact of bed bugs on the lives of people affected can be devastating. Hotel stays and holidays are ruined and the pain and suffering of bites and the embarrassment they can cause are significant.
Now though, one of the UKs largest personal injury law firms is helping people affected by bed bugs following hotel stays and holidays in the UK and abroad.
And you could be entitled to thousands of pounds in compensation if you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience a bed bug attack.
Craig Phillips, Partner at Express Solicitors, is an expert in these types of consumer compensation claims. “I’ve heard the stories from families, seen the photographic evidence, and thankfully, been able to secure compensation payments for the people who come to us for help.
“These aren’t always easy cases to deal with but as a firm we specialise in winning cases that many other firms would reject.”
Express Solicitors helped one family of three in recovering £4,500 after they were bitten by bed bugs at a Travelodge hotel, despite the fact the hotel had changed hands since the visit.
Compensation in bed bug claims typically covers, medical expenses (treatment for bed bug bites and infections), property damage (replacement or cleaning of infested belongings), pain and suffering (emotional distress, trauma, and anxiety) and lost wages (if the infestation forced you to miss work).
Bed bug compensation claims are primarily governed by personal injury laws and regulations. These laws vary from country to country, but they generally require property owners to provide safe, clean, and habitable conditions to guests.
Hotels abroad might have different local laws, but if the trip was provided by a company in the UK, then it’s still possible to make a claim against that travel operator.
Based on his experience dealing with these cases, Phillips has advice for anyone who finds themselves affected by bedbugs:
“Documenting everything related to the infestation is crucial including communications with the property owner, photographs of the infestation, medical bills, and receipts for any expenses incurred is essential.
“Your solicitor will be able to work closely with you to gather and organise this evidence to build a strong compensation case.”
How to tell if it’s bed bugs
Bed bug bites often appear as raised and itchy, often in a line or grouped together. They can be mistaken for other insect bites, but the presence of small, flat, reddish-brown bugs in your hotel room may indicate bed bugs.
If you do suspect bed bug bites, it’s important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible to confirm the source of the bites but also document any evidence you find in your hotel room, by taking photos of the bugs themselves or their shed skins.
What to do if you find bed bugs in your hotel
Notify the hotel management and request a room change immediately. Insist on a professional inspection of the room and get the hotel manager to share the results of the report with you. If they don’t offer, tell them you want a copy of the report as you’re entitled to know whether or not the professional inspector found an infestation.
Preventing further spread of bed bugs
As you prepare to move room or pack to leave for home, conduct a full inspection of your own belongings to avoid spreading the bed bugs further. Look for bugs on your suitcases’ exterior and inspect everything inside too.
Some hotels will offer to vacuum your luggage and launder your clothes in hot water as part of an action plan to deal with bed bugs.
When you get to a new room, check for evidence of bed bugs under the mattress, around headboards and behind furniture. If you do find evidence of bed bugs in the second room, it might be time to secure a refund and consider booking another hotel.
And the final word of advice from Phillips: “Bed bug bites during your travels can be a distressing experience, but being informed and proactive is key. If you find yourself in such a situation, consulting a personal injury solicitor can help you understand your legal rights and options. Remember to document everything, seek professional advice, and take steps to protect your well-being during and after your trip.”