If you own or manage a property in Jacksonville, you need to have a plan to protect your tenants and visitors from bed bugs. In 2013 a New Jersey woman was awarded $800,000 after jurors ruled that she lost "practically everything" due to a bed bug infestation in her apartment building. Alabama-based attorney Tom Campbell told the Sun that he expected a surge in bedbug claims over the next decade. Recently, a brother and sister were awarded $382,000 when severely attacked by bed bugs in a Chicago area hotel. These are the extreme cases, but it is clear that jurors are becoming sympathetic to the plight of bed bug victims. The jurors in the New Jersey case only deliberated 45 minutes before awarding that $800,000. How long will it be before your apartment complex, hotel, motel, or condominium is targeted with a frivolous lawsuit, like in the case of Liebeck vs. McDonalds Restaurants, where a jury sought to award a 79-year-old woman $2.7 million in punitive damages because her coffee was too hot?
There is a great misunderstanding about bed bugs. The jurors in the above cases probably believe--like many--that bed bugs only inhabit filthy, unmaintained properties. But this couldn't be farther from the truth. Bed bugs have been found in the richest 5-star accommodations. Though it is true that bed bugs prefer bacteria laden environments, they will infest any building that contains a food source. Since these creatures feed on blood, and prefer human blood, they can be found anywhere humans are. And, since they don't fly, they have to wait till those humans lie down before they can feed. Fortunately, for the bed bugs, its bite does not sting like the mosquito. It can feed several times in one night, without waking its victim.
Let's examine that word, victim. Obviously, the jurors who awarded such high compensation felt that the tenants or visitors were the victims. But the truth is, bed bugs are carried in by tenants and visitors. This is what makes treating for bed bugs so hard. But it is hard to convince a jury when it is looking at a person who has been practically eaten alive.
If you own a property in Jacksonville, don't take this lying down. Set up a plan to protect your company from bed bug litigation by hiring a pest management company like McCall Service to do routine bed bug inspections. Their K9 bed bug inspectors will find these bugs before they can nest and grow in population. No property manager or owner should ever go without bed bug inspections. The alternative is litigation or unsightly heating units broadcasting to the world that you have bugs. Catch these bugs before they can hurt your tenants, your visitors, and your reputation.