Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana Termite Litigation Attorneys
Termites are a major nuisance that cause untold damage to homes in Mississippi and throughout the U.S. The problem is especially bad in the Southeast region because of our hot and humid weather, and this is why homeowners in this region rely heavily on the professional expertise of pest control companies to keep their houses free from the damage that termites cause.
When you hire a pest control company, you have the right to expect them to be honest with you and provide quality service. Unfortunately, these companies often fail to meet even the minimum standards of professionalism. All too often, companies take advantage of consumers’ lack of familiarity with the industry by using slippery contract language and other unethical tactics to avoid living up to their performance obligations.
Termite fraud can cost homeowners and commercial property owners tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in losses. And if this has happened to you, you may have a right to damages. Pest control is a unique and highly regulated industry, however, and it is important to work with skilled termite litigation lawyers who have extensive experience with these types of cases.
If you have experienced termite damage because of the negligence or willful actions of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Contact the seasoned termite litigation attorneys at Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC by calling (855) 558-2977 or messaging us online for a free consultation and case review. We will meet with you to discuss your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.
At Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, we have dedicated our careers to standing up for consumers and businesses who have been defrauded by termite companies, and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Our lawyers have recovered over $1 billion in damages on behalf of our clients, and we have successfully participated in hundreds of courtroom battles throughout the country. We work closely with our clients, and we are committed to providing the strong personalized representation they need and deserve.
We have a proven track record with even the most complex cases, and we put our in-depth experience to work to thoroughly investigate each case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as the large pest control companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. We have the knowledge, skills, resources, and commitment to help ensure that our clients are fully and fairly compensated, and that those responsible for their losses are held fully accountable.
Common Forms of Termite Fraud
Misrepresentation and fraud are widespread in the pest control industry, and even the major players like Orkin and Terminix have been known to engage in it. There are also other parties that may be responsible for fraud or negligence, such as home sellers and real estate professionals.
Termite fraud can come in numerous forms, here are some of the most common:
- Deceptive Contract Limitations: Fine print and/or internal codes that are used in many contracts confuse consumers by concealing exactly what type of service the pest control company is providing.
- Use of Ineffective Treatments: A pest control company says they will perform a service that gets rid of the termites, but in reality, they use a cheaper and/or diluted chemical that only kills the termites the chemical comes in contact with, pushing the rest of them further into the structure, where they will multiply and continue to cause damage in the future.
- Planting False Evidence of Termite Infestation: There are some so-called pest control professionals that bring false evidence of termite infestation (such as waste pallets or termite wings) into their “inspection”. Then of course they recommend a costly fumigation service to get rid of the non-existent termites.
- Recommending an Overly Expensive or Ineffective Treatment: Along the same lines as the previous point, some unscrupulous pest control specialists will recommend treatment that is unnecessarily expensive and/or one that will not solve the problem.
- Failure to Disclose Termite Infestation: Homes and commercial property sellers sometimes fail to report that there has been termite infestation. Of course, this is done in order to receive a higher price for the property than it is really worth. When this type of fraud occurs, the buyer has a right to file a termite litigation claim against the seller and any other parties that were involved in the fraud (such as a real estate agent or termite inspector).
- Refusal to Cover a Valid Insurance Claim: A property owner may or may not be covered for termite damage by their insurer, and confusing policy language can often make it difficult for this to be determined one way or the other. Property insurance companies frequently deny this type of claim, but with strong legal representation and a full review of the policy, this determination can often be reversed in favor of the property owner.
Recovering Damages for Termite Infestation in Mississippi
If your home has a termite problem, which the seller failed to disclose to you, you can file a termite litigation claim against the seller – as well as other parties who can be held responsible for not disclosing the information to you – and seek compensation for the following types of damages:
- The costs associated with repairing, renovating, and replacing the walls, floors, windows, doors, and other areas that are damaged by termite infestation
- The costs associated with moving to and living in a different place until your home is repaired and cleared of the infestation
- The costs associated with transporting and storing your household items in a different place until your home is cleared of the infestation
- The mental anguish caused by dealing with a termite infestation, moving to a different place, and spending your hard-earned money on repairs and renovation
Damages Recoverable from Termite Litigation Claims
If you have been defrauded or cheated by a pest-control company or another party and you ended up with significant damage to your property as a result, you may be eligible for several different types of compensation:
- Property Damage: Cost for repair and/or remediation of your property, as well as its diminished value due to the termite infestation.
- Associated Expenses: Costs for moving, storage, and temporary living expenses when you have to stay somewhere else while your property is being repaired.
- Psychological Damage: Emotional distress and mental anguish associated with having to deal with widespread termite damage, repairs, temporary relocation, legal action, etc.
- Punitive Damages: Because of the fraud and misrepresentation that is prevalent with termite litigation cases, you can often ask for punitive damages. These are damages that are intended to punish the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from committing similarly egregious actions in the future.
It is important to note that if termite fraud is committed, limitations within the language of a contract cannot be used as an argument by the defendant that the termite litigation claim should be dismissed. For example, there was a case recently in which a Biloxi, MS couple was awarded more than $1.9 million in damages against Orkin (including $1 million in punitive damages) for termite infestation in their home.
In this case, it was found that Orkin committed contract fraud by failing to properly disclose that they were performing a more limited service than was required by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture (MDAC). MDAC requires that pest control companies provide a boldface disclosure with specific language that clearly alerts consumers that they are receiving a chemical treatment that is not in-keeping with MDAC’s standards.
Orkin had refused to repair the damage to the home that was caused by the ineffective treatment, and they tried to argue that their contract contained limitations that justified this refusal. It was ruled, however, that because Orkin committed fraud, the terms and conditions of its contract were void.
It is highly likely that numerous other property owners are in the same situation as this couple from Biloxi. And if you suspect that Orkin or another pest control provider has committed termite fraud and you sustained damages as a result, do not accept contractual limitations as a basis for them refusing to repair these damages. Get in touch with our firm right away to discuss your case.
What Are the Signs of Termite Damage?
Termites will target the wood in your home as their primary source of food, including doors, flooring, window frames, and the framed structure of your home. But termites can also attack other materials inside your home such as siding, drywall, concrete, and furnishings.
There are a number of tell-tale signs that you have a termite problem. In some cases, you might actually see termite swarms inside your home, particularly during the insect’s mating season. You may also discover piles of termite wings that are discarded after an insect finds a mate.
If you tap on a piece of wood and it has a hollow sound, this could mean that termites are consuming the material from the inside out. Windows that fit too tight in their frames could be a sign of warping due to infestation. Finally, the presence of small mud tubes in your home’s foundation can indicate the presence of termites as the insects use these to burrow into the structure from the outside.
Contact Our Skilled and Knowledgeable Mississippi Termite Litigation Attorneys
Call us today at 228-300-2754 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online to schedule your free, no obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!