While my home in Evanston experienced the most disgusting flooding and sewage backup problems I can ever imagine someone having, knock on wood, I’ve never had a bed bug problem.
Ten years ago if you told someone that you had bed bugs, they’d probably have no idea what you are talking about other than knowing the phrase “don’t let the bed bugs bite.” I recall years ago there was a lawsuit against the Habitat Company for beg bugs and if I remember correctly it was a six figure case because at the time it was so shocking that an apartment could be infested with bed bugs.
Times of course have changed. Bed bugs are so common now that the Aldermen in Chicago are creating ordinances to deal with the problem. But the reality is that because they are so common, it’s really a challenge to prove where the bed bugs came from and who is at fault.
For example, if you move in to a new building and all of the sudden have bed bugs all over your stuff, it would seem that the landlord is responsible. In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends. Bed bugs are everywhere. Maybe your neighbor accidentally brought them in from their job. Maybe the movers did it. Perhaps you brought them in or a friend did when they were visiting. Bed bugs are everywhere and there’s no proving for certain where they started from. If you can’t prove it then you likely lose your case.
A year ago I knew ten law firms that were handling these lawsuits. Now, except for the rarest of circumstances, none of them are doing them. It’s a real shame because often the building owner or your employer is in face at fault, but that doesn’t mean you can prove it or win your case.
I average two calls per day from people that have lost clothing, furniture, personal items and also have hospital bills. It doesn’t make me any money, but the truth is that I don’t know of any law firms taking these cases. If you know anyone let me know. Beyond that, the safest bet is to hire a bug inspector before you move in to a new place and just hope for the best. Not the most incredible legal advice I’ve ever given, but it’s certainly an honest reflection of the reality you face if this happens to you.
Final thought. It could be worse. The problem is so bad in New York City that even many of their nicest hotels are overrun.
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