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What Damages Can I Sue for if I Contracted Legionnaires’ Disease?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Schaumburg medical negligence attorney Legionnaires disease

First discovered following a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, Legionnaires’ disease left affected attendees with serious lung infections -- a type of pneumonia -- caused by bacteria known as Legionella. Research has shown that this bacteria grows in poorly managed water systems, often due to negligence on behalf of a building’s owner, such as those who own a nursing home facility that houses a complex water system. When mist from this infected water is inhaled, through showers or hot tubs, for example, residents can contract Legionnaires’ disease, posing grave risks to their health. The same bacteria that causes this disease was also responsible for cases of Pontiac fever that occurred in Michigan during the 1960s. 

The Prevalence of Legionnaires’ Cases Today

Although the disease earned its name back in the 1970s, cases of Legionnaires’ disease are still very prevalent today. The number of cases has fluctuated over time, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there were nearly 10,000 cases in the United States in 2018. The CDC has also stated that this number is likely a misrepresentation of the actual number of people affected by the disease, as many cases are undiagnosed. 

Are You Eligible to Pursue Compensation? 

A settlement dispute surrounding a Legionnaires’ outbreak at an Illinois Veterans Home in August of last year left multiple families who lost loved ones to the disease feeling taken advantage of and helpless in the wake of the lawsuit. This is a tragic example of what can happen when victims are not fully informed, lacking proper resources, or underrepresented. If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, and you are concerned about the impact on your health and finances, you have a right to fight for fair compensation. Three major factors that may affect your eligibility to file a personal injury claim include:

  1. Where you contracted the disease: Hotels and long-term care facilities are common hotspots for acquiring Legionnaires’ disease. From showers and hot tubs to cooling towers and even lobby fountains, Legionella bacteria may have been present in the mist you inhaled during your stay or residency, causing you to contract the disease. If you have recently slept at a hotel or spent an extended amount of time at a nursing care facility or in a similar dwelling, and you now have Legionnaires’ disease, the property’s water management system may be to blame, entitling you to pursue compensation for your losses.

  2. Lost time from work and healthcare debts: If health troubles due to contracting Legionnaires’ disease have caused you to miss work, or if you have experienced hospitalizations and other doctor visits that have resulted in medical debts you cannot afford to pay, it is time to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The building owner or management company may be responsible for exposing you to the bacteria.

  3. Delayed diagnosis: A missed or delayed diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease is often the result of medical malpractice. Even if you are unsure of where exactly you contracted the disease, if your healthcare provider failed to identify the disease, and your symptoms have worsened, you may be entitled to seek damages for medical error, which is another form of negligence.

Contact an Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer

Legionnaires’ disease cases can be alarming, but you do not have to panic. With a competent, skilled Palatine medical negligence attorney by your side, you can rest assured knowing we will fight to protect your health and financial well-being as you focus on healing and recovery. Contact the accomplished legal team at Newland & Newland LLP by calling us today at 847-797-8000 and scheduling a free phone consultation.

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2019/12/06/four-more-washington-heights-residents-sue-after-contracting-legionnaires-disease/

https://www.npr.org/local/309/2019/08/29/755376534/state-s-lowball-settlement-offers-insult-quincy-legionnaires-families

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/us/legionnaires-disease-atlanta-hotel-reopen.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/02/19/legionnaires-disease-reports-increase-fivefold-since-2000/2881081002/

https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/outbreaks.html

 

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