Do we have a case against a hotel that subjected us to unsanitary conditions? 16 Answers as of January 17, 2011

My wife, 10 month old son, and I stayed overnight at a hotel due to the poor weather conditions. Overall our stay lasted less than 24 hours.We were woken very early in the morning to feeling itchy, we then realized that there were ants crawling all over us. We looked at our infant son who had ants on his face, as well as bite marks. The ants were absolutely everywhere, over all of our belongings, and throughout the entire hotel room. The hotel immediately gave us another room to set up in. My wife and son moved, but I had to stay behind to clean every single item in our bags. The only room available was a smoking room which was concerning due to my son being so young and having to inhale those fumes that never leave the room, which could be harmful. I had to wash our all of our clothes, and as we washed our clothes we realized that the new room also had ants in it. At that point we were so frustrated that we just decided to check out of the hotel, as their conditions were clearly not suitable for anyone to be staying in, especially an infant. The general manager offered us a 50% discount which I am grateful for but in retrospect, I believe that we should receive a full refund if not more.

Do I have any sort of case if they do not refund me? I believe I still have the receipt in my possession, and if you would like pictures; we took quite a few, I can provide those materials as well.

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Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
I am very sorry to hear about your hotel stay. Sounds like a nightmare. You probably do have a claim from a legal standpoint. The bigger question is do you have a claim from a practical standpoint. The cost of bringing the claim likely far exceeds the value of the damages you suffered.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/17/2011
Patrick M Lamar Attorney
Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
This sounds like a case that was tried here in Huntsville with regard to a nursing home and ants. I believe you do have some cause of action here. I would have to discuss the matter a little more in terms of factual presentation. There is no charge for consultations.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/17/2011
Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
Hi, your injury case presents a nightmarish scenario for the traveler. The first thing an injury lawyer needs to know in this case is where is the hotel. Different states have different laws for such matters. The second issue is what are the damages. Have you or anyone in your family had to consult doctors or mental health providers for your injuries? It is good that you have all the paperwork as this will help your claim. Contact an experienced injury lawyer who is licensed in the state where the hotel is located as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 1/17/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Are you sure they were ants. Bedbugs are more common. Yes, you have some kind of case but it is small. I doubt if you can find a lawyer to help you since it would cost more to handle than it is worth. But you might file a small claim (Judge Judy court) and handle it yourself.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/17/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
You should call the Health Department of the city that the hotel was in to make a complaint and show them the pictures. You may also wish to bring a small claims action for the damages you suffered if they do not agree to a full refund. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 1/16/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    There is a basis for a lawsuit. We would need to confirm the facts but you can sue for the conditions. The value of the claim may be minimal but you might get the insurance company to settle.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.

    Thank you for your email, and we look forward to hearing from you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    That sounds awful! You probably have a claim, but it is one that is also likely not worth pursuing. Unless one of you was significantly damaged by the situation, you would be suing for refund of you money plus the inconvenience you suffered. From what you are telling me, the costs of a lawsuit are probably more than your damages. I would just make a complaint and ask for the additional refund on your own. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Yes you have a claim against them, but its not something that any lawyer would probably take on contingency because the damages are nominal. There are instances of bugs biting people in hotel rooms that cause serious harm. This did not happen, thankfully. If you want to pursue it, I would go to small claims court. You must make a written demand first. Its surprising that you were not comped for the room.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    I do agree that a refund is in order. If they do not agree, you might consider suing in small claims court. The damages may not be significant enough for an attorney to get involved.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    You could likely get a full refund simply by writing a letter to the hotel, including the receipt and photos. Make sure you send the letter to the corporate headquarters (assuming it was a chain). If there were any costs associated with cleaning your items, or if you had medical bills, you could get treatment for your son. You could also estimate the value of your time (e.g. "I spent two hours cleaning the ants out of our possessions. At $25.00 per hour, I believe you should compensate me for two hours of my time, or $50.00.) You could also bring a lawsuit against them in small claims court. However, because the money you ultimately recover in a lawsuit is based largely on your actual damages (money this cost you: cleaning bills, medical treatment, lost wages, permanent disability), you may have difficulty finding an attorney to take the case on a contingency fee basis. An attorney would have to front all costs, pay the filing fees, hire experts, spend hours and hours preparing documents, pay for depositions, etc. Then, IF you win, the attorney would take 30 to 50% of the winnings. If the case is only worth a thousand dollars or so, it simply would not be worth an attorney's time. However, all attorneys have different assessments of cases such as these, so you should get second and third opinions.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/14/2011
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