Legionnaires disease claims

Updated: October 8, 2018

Introduction

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
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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.

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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.

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Do I have a claim for legionnaires disease?

You do not need to know who is liable in order to start your Legionnaires' disease claim. Your solicitor will assist in researching and gathering evidence to establish who the liable parties are.

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How much can compensation can I claim for legionnaires' disease?

Your lawyer will arrange for an independent medical report which will detail the exact nature and severity of the illness caused. This report will provide evidence in support of your Legionnaires' disease claim.

Your lawyer can also assist if you are making a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one.

Legionnaires' disease claim settlements can include amounts for:

  • Costs of medical treatment
  • Personal pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenity - loss of enjoyment of hobbies, social and personal activities as a result of your illness
  • Loss of earnings
  • Associated expenses - such as hiring home or nursing care, or travel expenses for hospital visits

The exact compensation settlement amount will reflect the individual circumstances of each case.

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No Win, No Fee Legionnaires' disease compensation claims explained

A No Win, No Fee agreement, referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is the basis of the vast majority of claims for injury compensation.

The document explains the service the solicitor handling your case will provide in addition to a percentage-based "success fee" that will be taken from your damages if the injury lawyer wins the case.

Find peace of mind with the knowledge that there will be nothing to pay if the case is not successful. You have no hidden costs when working with a Quittance solicitor.

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Meet the team

The national panel of QLS solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from fast track cases to catastrophic injury. Our lawyers are chosen for their track record in recovering compensation and their knowledge and expertise.

Click here to meet more of the team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator

About the author

Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

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