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Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuits

Legionnaires’ Disease is a rare form of pneumonia that is contracted by breathing in mist, vapor, or water that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Legionella often spreads in poorly maintained water and cooling systems. That means if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease, it could be due to the negligence of another party, and you may be entitled to file a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit for financial compensation. 

If you are considering legal action, you are probably wondering what it entails. Below are a few of the common questions that arise when pursuing a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit. 

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What Can I Expect in the Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit Process?

After being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease, your Legionnaires’ disease lawyer will investigate your exposure to collect evidence and determine which parties are liable. That will entail: 

  • Investigating the location where exposure occurred.  
  • Interviewing other Legionnaires’ Disease victims and any witnesses. 
  • Obtaining reports from any epidemiological investigations, which identify the cause of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, completed by a government agency (such as the local or state health department, health officials, and/or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)). 
  • Gathering any pertinent medical reports and estimating your case’s value. 

Once a substantial personal injury claim is built on your behalf, your attorney will negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company. Most Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuits are settled out of court. However, in the event that a fair settlement cannot be reached, your legal advocate will represent you in front of a judge or jury, and hire qualified experts to provide testimony and add credibility to your case. 

What Damages Can I Claim in a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit? 

Damages in Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuits fall into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate you for any tangible losses you suffered, such as: 

  • Medical expenses. All medical costs related to the illness that you have already received, including hospitalizations, any tests, doctor visits, prescription medications, etc. As well as any future treatment you may need to recover. 
  • Lost wages. Legionnaires’ Disease may affect your ability to work and earn income. You are entitled to compensation for any income you have lost while recovering, as well as any future loss in income if you require long-term medical care, or you must find a lower-paying job because of a permanent impairment. 

The other category of damages, non-economic, can compensate you for intangible losses, for example: 

  • Pain and suffering. The pain and discomfort of having to suffer from Legionnaires’ Disease.
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish. If suffering from the illness is traumatic, and you have experienced emotional distress as a result, you can be awarded compensation. That can include psychological trauma such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or a loss of enjoyment of life. 

In rare cases of extreme negligence on the part of the at-fault entity, a judge may award punitive damages. This money is meant to punish the liable party and deter or discourage others from committing similar actions. 

How Much Is My Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit Worth?

The amount of damages you are awarded will be based on the liability laws and evidence presented in your case. Severe injuries or long-term complications from Legionnaires can lead to large damage awards to cover the cost of ongoing medical care. While it’s hard to know the exact worth of your Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit, retaining a lawyer will increase the likelihood that your case will conclude with a maximized settlement amount. Insurance companies take notice when an attorney contacts them and will know you are serious about pursuing your injury claim. 

If you have lost a loved one due to complications from Legionnaires’ Disease, you may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Texas’s modified comparative negligence rules may also apply in your case. The rule dictates that each party’s percentage of fault will be determined by the court, then damages will be reduced accordingly. For instance, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for contracting Legionnaires’ Disease, your damage award will be reduced by 20 percent. As long as your responsibility is 49 percent or less, you are able to collect damages. Texas does differ from most other states, in that there is no cap on the amount of money you can recover in a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit. The only limit placed applies to punitive damages, if they are awarded. 

Who Can be Held Liable in a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit?

The owner, operator, and/or manager of the property on which you were infected, can be liable in a lawsuit. Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks tend to originate from cooling or water systems in large buildings and facilities, such as hotels and resort, long-term care facilities, hospitals, cruise ships, convention centers. Other parties, such as the designer, engineer, or manufacturer of the water or cooling system may be liable as well if the systems are found to be defective. 

In order to prove a case against a person or company alleged to be responsible for your falling ill with Legionnaires’ disease, the following must be evident:

  • You were exposed to Legionella bacteria. 
  • The exposure occurred on the property named in the lawsuit.
  • The exposure was caused by the defendant’s negligence. 
  • The exposure resulted in a confirmed Legionnaires’ disease diagnosis. 

Establishing negligence on behalf of the defendant can be difficult, as the appropriate standard of care must have been violated. A couple of examples of potential negligent actions by a defendant are, failing to maintain and prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria in a water distribution system or failing to properly chlorinate a water supply. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit? 

If you plan on pursuing a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit, you typically have two years from the date of exposure to file in Texas. There are instances under which the courts may make an exception to the two-year statute of limitations. For example, if you suffer from a mental or physical condition that has prevented you from filing a claim within the allotted time period. 

Contact a Lawyer for Help with a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit

Our team has a significant amount of experience with Legionnaires’ Disease cases and are dedicated to obtaining compensation for our clients nationwide. Let us help you seek justice, contact The Lange Law Firm, PLLC today by calling (833) 330-3663 or filling out our contact form below. We can help during a free case evaluation.