Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuits And Compensation

Jules Zacher has recovered millions of dollars for his clients over the course of his career litigating Legionnaires’ disease cases. He has been in practice since 1974 and working on Legionnaires’ disease lawsuits since 2007. Below you will find information you need on how to sue for Legionnaires’ disease, how to obtain Legionnaires’ disease compensation, and more. .

Can you sue for Legionnaires’ disease?

If you have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, it is possible that there is an individual, business, or other party that is responsible. Contact Jules Zacher today to determine if you can obtain compensation from the party responsible for your Legionnaires’ disease.

What steps should I take if I am considering starting a lawsuit for Legionnaires’ disease?

The first step if you are considering filing a lawsuit for Legionnaires’ disease is to contact a knowledgeable lawyer. Once you have arranged a meeting or a call with a lawyer, you should attempt to determine what the source of your Legionnaires’ disease exposure could be. Try to determine what you did and where you were for the prior 2-12 days before you started experiencing symptoms.

Can I file on behalf of a loved one that has died of Legionnaires’ disease?

If your loved one has died as a result of Legionnaires’ disease, you can file something called a “wrongful death action”. Each state has a slightly different law that governs wrongful death, but the general definition states that a civil action can be brought against someone who can be held liable for the death. That means any tortious conduct, like negligence, that caused someone’s death can be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute

When should I file a lawsuit for Legionnaires’ disease?

In every state, there is a statute of limitations for Legionnaires’ disease lawsuits. This means that if you do not file your lawsuit within the specified period of time, you will be forever barred from bringing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuits typically ranges from one year to several years. It is vitally important that the suit is filed in a timely manner, as most documents can only be requested after litigation has begun. In states and municipalities, a claim needs to be filed even before filing a lawsuit. This varies by states and municipalities.

Past Legionnaires Disease Cases

The Spa and Waterpark Case

In February 2017, our clients contracted Legionnaires disease following a visit to a local Sauna and Spa. The spa offered a variety of amenities including hot tubs, spas, saunas, pools, and showers. As we have mentioned in previous posts, hot tubs, pools and spas are relatively common sources of exposure. This is because Legionella bacteria can grow and become aerosolized through a number of different sources where water is being heated. Legionella can be controlled with various disinfection methods, including chlorination. Disinfection must be ongoing and routine, and maintenance must be performed to all water systems where the Legionella bacteria can grow. While visiting the spa, each of our clients used the pools, saunas, hot tubs, and showers. Subsequently, in a matter of days they became seriously ill and required hospitalization. Each of the three clients was ultimately diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. After the local health department was notified of this outbreak, they began their investigation and notified the defendant of the possible outbreak. The health departments later testing discovered the presence of Legionella bacteria in several locations in the defendant’s water systems. Therefore, the health department determined the defendant’s Spa was the source of the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. We prepared a complaint on behalf of our clients seeking remedies under state tort law alleging that the Spa and its staff were negligent in their care of their water systems, including in regard to their pool, spas, saunas and hot tubs, which led to the Legionella bacterial growth on their premises.

The Cooling Tower Case

In July and August 2015, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the Bronx that claimed 12 lives and sickened at least 128 people. The outbreak caused widespread concern and weeks of uncertainty among residents. Thanks to the hard work of epidemiologists and investigators, the source of the outbreak was identified: a cooling tower in the area. In cooling tower cases, the simple act of walking down the sidewalk exposes victims to contaminated water droplets that fall from the towers above.

That’s what happened to our plaintiffs. In cases like this, there are often clusters of cases. In July of 2015, the New York Department of Health was made aware of the hundred or so cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in a single area of the city. Their investigation makes our plaintiffs’ cases easier to establish, because the source is readily identified.

Having determined that the cooling tower was a likely source of the outbreak, investigators turned to clinical results to confirm their suspicions. Using gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing, they compared the specific bacteria that inhabited the cooling tower with the bacteria inhabiting the lungs of our clients. After several rounds of rigorous testing, they determined that the bacteria samples matched: The cooling tower had in fact been the source of the outbreak.

The Bed and Breakfast Case

The clients contracted Legionnaires’ Disease on vacation at the defendant’s lake home she was renting. Specifically, three family members inhaled contaminated water emanating from a hot tub on the property. Two fell seriously ill and one family member died as a result of the disease. This case was particularly tricky as Legionella testing was never completed on the hot tub—the defendant drained, sanitized, and trashed the tub before testing could be complete. Luckily, the Department of Health for the county in which the lake house was located sent the defendant a “remediation letter,” essentially recognizing the probable presence of Legionella bacteria on the property. While being questioned by our firm during a deposition, it became abundantly clear that the defendant did not know how to properly maintain his hot tub. And because we could establish that the clients could not have contracted the disease from another location, the combination of circumstantial evidence helped us secure for our clients a sizable settlement.

The Hospital Case

Hospital-associated cases are what they sound like: contaminated water at the hospital causes illness amongst its patients and/or employees. Healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes usually serve the populations with the highest risk of contracting Legionnaires’ Disease: elderly individuals and individuals with prior-existing conditions. The following case we had a few years ago.

In 2017, the client was admitted to a nearby hospital. Shortly after, she developed symptoms consistent with Legionnaires’ Disease such as cough and fatigue, was treated in the ICU, and then discharged. Unfortunately, because physicians misdiagnosed her, she had to be readmitted days later. Arriving in acute respiratory distress, she was tested for, and subsequently diagnosed with, Legionnaires’ Disease. She died July 6, 2017.

The risk of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease due to improperly maintained water systems in hospitals is well-known and foreseeable. Several standards exist for hospitals and medical facilities to ensure the safety of their water system, including Medicare’s healthcare management policy. The defendant failed to comply with these policies, which was ultimately the reason for their liability.

Lawsuits and Compensation was last modified: July 28th, 2021 by zacherlaw