Bed Bugs are fast becoming a serious issue for homeowners. Without a long history of litigation on Bed Bugs issues to give the legal community firm guidelines on the grounds for a bed bugs related lawsuit, it is difficult to speak in certain terms. However, other household pests, such as termites, have been the subject of decades of lawsuits and we feel it is time for the public to understand what we know of the growing body of “bed bug law for homeowners.”

If you are considering legal action, before consulting an attorney you should ask yourself two questions. How was I injured and who is at fault?

1. What was your “injury” from bed bugs?

When considering legal action the first question you should ask yourself is how was I injured? Injury does not necessarily refer only to physical injury but who also financial loss, or property damage. So before you consult with an attorney you should consider whether your injury was in the form of monetary damage due to improper repairs, or re-infestation after service or you or your family was injured in some way physical way by inhalation of toxic chemicals.

2. Who is to Blame for the bed bugs?

The next question you should consider is who is responsible for my injury? Did your bed bug treatment technician discharge poisonous gas and not give your family proper information to protect yourself?

Blame may fall on the shoulders of several parties. Depending on the laws of your state, the fault may be spread upon several parties or may be accessed on a percentage basis or one defendant may be held responsible for all of the damages even if they are not the only party at fault.

The most common defendant in a bed bug related lawsuit is the pest control company. The structural pest control industry is highly regulated, licensed pest control companies are required by law to act and treat properties according to tight guidelines. Because a bed bug service is so difficult and because regulations are so strict, it is very easy for a pest control company to make a mistake or miss something when treating a property.

Potential Legal Action for Bed Bugs

Some of the most common causes of action in bed bug related lawsuits include: Breach of contract/warranty, fraud, negligence, and strict liability.

Breach of Contract

Breach of contract lawsuits generally arise under two circumstances in a bed bug case: 1) breach of a real estate contract with a real estate agent or home seller or 2) breach of a bed bug control agreement with a pest control company.

Breach of contract is a legal concept in which a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract by non-performance or interference with the other party\’s performance. In honor to recover in a breach of contract case the breach must be as to a material term of the contract.

While courts have yet to rule specifically on whether failure to disclose a bed bug infestation constitutes a breach of contract, several courts have upheld a known undisclosed termite infestation as a material breach of contract.

Remedies in a Breach of Contract Case

A remedy is legal devise to cure the damages caused in a particular lawsuit. The most common remedy in a breach of contract case is damages, which you are probably familiar with by the non-legalese name, money.

In the real estate contract breach scenario some courts have found that rescission is the best remedy. The goal of rescission is to put the party back to the place before the contract breach occurred. So rescission in this case would mean that the sale of the house is overturned, the seller is given the house back and the buyer is given his money back. However, a court would be hesitant to adopt such a drastic solution in the case of bed bug infestation. Unlike, a termite infestation, bed bugs do not cause structural damage that comprise the integrity of the house.

Negligence in Bed Bug Related Actions

Another common cause of action in a bed bug case is negligence. Negligence is cause of action when the injury you sustain was intentionally caused by the actions of another.

An example of negligence in a bed bug lawsuit would be if the pest control company you hired performed services as contracted but caused further injury to your property or person by mistakes made in servicing the problems. Say your pest management company only treated one section of the house and forgot to treat other problem areas, causing re-infestation; you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Strict Liability

Courts have found liability without specific fault or negligence when a party performs an ultra-hazardous activity that cannot be made safe. Certain courts have found strict liability applies to cases where a party was injured from the toxic fumes caused by fumigating a home. Strict liability is not as common a cause of action as negligence or breach of contract and only applies to specific cases. The only way to know if strict liability may apply in your case is to contact an attorney.

Fraud

A less common cause of action in a termite lawsuit is fraud. Fraud denotes an intent to deceive a party resulting in damages suffered by that party. Fraud may occur in a termite case where a pest control company sells services to a company than intentionally does not perform the services. For example if you contracted with your pest control company to treat multiple areas of house with special chemicals and the pest control company shows up and just sprays some water on your floorboards you might have a pretty good case for fraud.

 

Find an Attorney here on Bugsinmybed.com.

Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a bed bug infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.

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