Legionnaires' disease is caused by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the Legionella bacterium. Once inhaled, the symptoms associated with Legionnaires' disease (fever, muscle aches, persistent coughing, nausea and signs of mental confusion) can take up to two weeks to appear.
The disease can be fatal, and often leads to permanent respiratory injures, especially for older people and those with compromised immune systems.
Outbreaks of this particular infectious disease typically originate in large buildings such as hospitals and hotels that have complex water supply and air conditioning systems. Fortunately, there are strict laws in place to ensure that these systems are controlled and maintained in such a way as to prevent contamination.
If it is discovered that a building operator used faulty equipment or failed in some way in their duty to monitor and maintain their water systems, they can be prosecuted and be held liable to pay compensation to anyone who suffers personal injury or loss as a result of contracting the disease.
Since Legionnaires' disease is usually contracted in public places, it is often very difficult to trace the source of the outbreak. It is therefore sometimes necessary to establish a convincing pattern of possible origin and to demonstrate this to the courts – for example, identifying a number of people falling ill with the disease from the same place.
Legionnaires' disease treatment
Legionnaires' disease is treated with antibiotics - erythromycin or clarithromycin are the two most commonly prescribed. Most courses of treatment last a week, although in some cases may last for up to three weeks.
Around 90% of people who contract Legionnaires' disease make a full recovery after treatment, although cases of prolonged fatigue post-treatment are common.
Legionnaires' disease compensation claim lawyers
Bearing in mind some of the difficulties of proving liability in Legionnaires' compensation claims, it is important to work with Thompsons. Our lawyers are experts in handling Legionnaires' disease cases. We have a unique insight into the nature of the disease itself and specialist knowledge of the evidence gathering processes required to raise a claim for compensation.
If you or a loved one has contracted Legionnaire’s disease, and if this can be clearly traced to a particular source, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.