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Can I Sue if I Got Legionnaires’ Disease from a Hotel or Nursing Home?

Posted on in Personal Injury Attorney

Rolling Meadows medical negligence attorney Legionnaires' disease

Named after a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion meeting, Legionnaires’ disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia brought on by inhaling mist in the air that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This bacteria is typically carried through water systems and air conditioning ventilation systems, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is deadly to 1 in 10 people who contract the disease. Diagnosis sometimes emerges following medical malpractice or due to building maintenance negligence by the property owner, especially in hotels, resorts, and long-term-care facility settings, which are common environments for outbreaks.

Modes of Transmission and Diagnosis

Unlike some conditions, Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted from person to person, so it cannot be contracted from interacting with someone who carries the bacteria. However, the circumstances surrounding how you picked up the bacteria and how or when you were diagnosed can all make a significant difference in your case when it comes to pursuing compensation for the damage to your health and the expenses you incurred because of the disease.

If you discover you are a victim of Legionnaires’ disease, some factors that may impact whether you are entitled to compensation include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis - While a doctor cannot be responsible for where you contracted Legionnaires’ disease, if a medical professional does not diagnose you correctly or diagnoses your condition too late, you may be entitled to sue for compensation due to medical malpractice. In many cases, Legionnaires’ disease first manifests as flu-like symptoms, which can be easy to dismiss. A delayed diagnosis can be costly both in terms of finances and your health. As the CDC reports, some cases are even fatal. 

  • Nursing home neglect - If you or someone you know is a nursing home resident and is experiencing sudden flu-like symptoms, certain forms of negligence may have led to a potential Legionnaires’ disease case. Whether the facility’s water management system is neglected, or a healthcare provider fails to acknowledge symptoms or leaves a resident in conditions that may pose a risk for exposure to Legionella bacteria (such as leaving the patient sitting in a contaminated bath or shower stall), there are a number of circumstances that may qualify the victim for compensation due to negligence.

  • Hotel maintenance negligence - When hotel or resort water management systems are not properly maintained, Legionella bacteria can grow and pose a threat to unsuspecting guests. Poorly cleaned hot tubs, showers, air conditioning cooling towers, and even decorative lobby fountains can spread the bacteria through droplets of water small enough to be inhaled. Legionella grows especially in warm water or in water that has not been properly disinfected.  

Contact an Arlington Heights Medical Negligence Attorney

Hotels and long-term care facilities house large, complex water and plumbing systems that require certain industry maintenance standards to be followed to ensure that these systems are kept in good working condition. When these standards are neglected, guests and patients are at considerable risk for Legionella exposure. If you have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, or if you are concerned you may have recently been exposed to Legionella, speak with a Palatine personal injury lawyer right away. Our attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP will work aggressively to protect your rights and advocate for your health. Call us today at 847-797-8000 to schedule a free phone consultation.








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