Legionnaires Disease Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by legionnaires disease we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered legionnaires disease and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming legionnaires disease compensation:


Legionnaires' disease is a potentially lethal lung infection caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. Legionnaires' disease causes up to 2% of pneumonia cases in UK hospitals.

Air conditioning units

Who is liable for my Legionnaires' disease claim?

Legionnaires' disease is caused by the presence of dangerously high levels of Legionella pneumophila bacteria in water. Legionnaires' disease is most frequently contracted by:

  • Drinking contaminated drinking water
  • Inhaling contaminated water vapour or droplets - such as from fountain spray

Legionella pneumophila bacteria are naturally present in small, non-toxic quantities in lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Because the bacteria do not thrive, it is extremely rare for Legionnaires' disease to be contracted in natural, outdoor surroundings. Legionnaires' disease is also not contagious.

Legionnaires' disease is most often contracted in large, public access facilities, such as:

  • Cruise ships
  • Hotels
  • Nursing homes
  • Offices
  • Hospitals

The cause of Legionnaires' outbreaks is inadequately cleaned and maintained water systems and equipment. Poor hygiene provides the conditions for Legionella pneumophila bacteria to multiply to toxic levels.

Likely sources of outbreaks

Typical sources of Legionnaires' disease outbreaks include:

  • Air conditioning systems and humidifiers
  • Cooling towers
  • Hot and cold water systems
  • Fountains
  • Spas and pools

The property owner, landlord, employer or local authority has a legal responsibility to have health and safety procedures in place to prevent the spread of Legionnaires' disease. Health and safety procedures should include:

  • Regular inspections, cleaning and disinfecting of water systems
  • Regular elimination of build-up of rust, algae, lime scale and any organic matter which could encourage bacterial growth
  • Maintaining cold water temperatures below 20ºC (68ºF) and hot water temperatures above 60ºC (140ºF) to inhibit bacterial growth. Legionella pneumophila bacteria cannot reproduce below 20ºC (68ºF) or above 60ºC (140ºF)

Legionnaire's disease claims can be made where negligence in cleaning and maintaining systems and equipment is identified as the cause of a Legionnaires' outbreak.

Liable parties in Legionnaires' disease claims can include those responsible for:

  • Design, construction and manufacture of systems and equipment
  • Cleaning, maintenance and repair
  • Owners of the building or ship
  • Operational management team of the building or ship

If you contracted Legionnaires' disease while on holiday abroad, or on a cruise ship, you may still be able to make a personal injury compensation claim.

Do I have a legionnaires disease claim?

It should be possible to make a legionnaires disease claim if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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Injury claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a legionnaires disease claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Can I make a legionnaires disease claim right up to the three-year limit?

Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on a legionnaires disease claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.

How much compensation can I claim for legionnaires disease?

The amount of money you could claim for your legionnaires disease will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your legionnaires disease has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a legionnaires disease? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a legionnaires disease claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a legionnaires disease will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your legionnaires disease compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the legionnaires disease injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.

Calculate my legionnaires disease compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a legionnaires disease injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your legionnaires disease claim could be worth now:

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How long does a legionnaires disease claim take?

How long it can take to settle a legionnaires disease claim can vary significantly.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a couple of months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your legionnaires disease claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I get advice on treatment options?

As part of the legionnaires disease claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

How does no win, no fee work?

Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your legionnaires disease injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my legionnaires disease claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my legionnaires disease claim?

If your legionnaires disease claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Legionnaires disease FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a legionnaires disease claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the legionnaires disease to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your legionnaires disease claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a legionnaires disease after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim legionnaires disease compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a legionnaires disease claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher