Bedbug Barristers: An Emerging Legal Niche

Bedbug outbreaks are reaching pandemic proportions.  These critters multiply quickly and spread easily and thousands of bedbug sightings are reported every year in Toronto alone at increasing numbers. Bedbugs know no boundaries and have been known to infest living environments ranging from Motel 6 to five star hotels, and multi-million dollar condominiums. If you have blood in your veins, then you are susceptible to infestation regardless of your personal wealth or living quarters. Anybody can get bedbug infestations and nobody is immune.

Toronto has launched the Toronto Bed Bug project, which has been put in place to manage the bedbug resurgence in an attempt to protect public health.

Bedbugs are nocturnal and feed on their sleeping hosts (humans or mammals) at night. Bites may cause itchy rashes and skin irritations and scratching may lead to secondary infection. The psychological effects of experiencing bedbug outbreaks can be quite significant.

In June of 2010, a bedbug infestation was reported in the Etobicoke General Hospital, which affected an entire floor.

The implications for bedbugs are almost as plentiful as the bedbugs themselves. For example, bedbug infestation in hospitals, workplaces, living quarters and even on pubic transportation systems can and will possibly open the door to liability in Canada. Given the emerging threat of bedbug infestations, which has been growing exponentially in number in the last few years, the need for “Bedbug Barristers” may be warranted now more so than ever before.

Bedbug litigation against apartment owners, and managers for their negligence in dealing with infestations has been documented in the United States. However, in Canada, this has not been well documented as of yet. Insurance liability policies for motels and hotels are not likely to cover bedbug outbreaks. However, the problem remains a growing concern, and perhaps Canadian lawyers be more inclined to join the fight against bedbugs.

The next time you cozy up into your  warm blanket at night and feel an ever so slight piercing sensation on your face, don’t panic. Just call your lawyer.

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