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Toddler’s Family Awarded $1.6 Million in Apartment Bedbug Case

A 3-year-old boy and his parents were awarded $1.6 million after suing the apartment complex’s owner and  management company for failing to take care of a bedbug infestation that left their son with lifelong facial scars.

After moving into a California apartment, the boy’s mother noticed red spots all over his body and took him to the emergency room. The ER diagnosed the spots as bedbug bites. Soon after, the boy’s mother, Liliana Martinez, noticed both bedbugs and cockroaches in the family’s apartment, as well as bedbug bites all over her newborn daughter’s back.

Right after the diagnosis and discovery of bedbugs, Mrs. Martinez and her husband contacted the apartment’s management company, who sent a pest control company. They also advised the family to throw away all of their furniture. The family followed the company’s directive and were then forced to sleep on a spot of floor while chemicals covered their home. Ridding the home of their furniture and spraying for bugs did little to deter the notoriously stubborn pests, and the family continued to experience bites. The family repeatedly complained and after 4 months, the management company took out old carpeting and replaced it with new carpet. After ridding the home of the carpeting, the bedbug bites finally stopped.

 

Levin & Perconti, Injury Attorneys for Chicago Renters 

In Illinois, landlords must provide a tenant with habitable conditions. This includes access to heat, water, and safe dwelling spaces and common areas that are free from things they may cause injury or harm. This list also includes a home free from pests. If bedbugs, rats, or other insects or rodents are believed to have been brought in by the tenant, the landlord is not responsible for covering the cost to treat the home to put an end to the infestation. However, if the landlord was aware of an infestation and allowed the apartment to be rented by a tenant, the landlord is legally responsible. The landlord is also responsible if the infestation is not believed to have been brought on by the tenant or their furnishings. California law is similar, leaving the landlord responsible financially and managerially for taking care of an infestation not brought in or caused by the tenant.

In this case, the damages extended beyond a simple breach of a lease between a landlord and its tenants. A 3-year-old boy has been left permanently disfigured as a result of a landlord’s inability to act swiftly when presented with conditions that affected habitability.

Chicago is a city of renters, estimated to be 60% of the our city’s residents. With so many renters needing a place to live, plenty of landlords choose profit over tenant safety, ignoring obvious safety issues and dangerous conditions that might cause harm and even death.

The personal injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti have spent nearly 30 years representing Chicagoans who have harmed by another’s actions. Our attorneys have recovered millions for those who have been injured, including a $6 million settlement for families whose 6 children died in a fire after a Chicago landlord failed to maintain working smoke detectors.  Please call us now for a free consultation, 312-332-2872. Requests can also be submitted through our website.