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What to Do if You Suspect a Legionella Outbreak

Posted in Legionella,Legionnaire's disease on July 28, 2023

It is essential to know what to do if you suspect a Legionella outbreak. Prompt and appropriate action can help prevent the spread of the disease and protect the health of those at risk.

Inform the Relevant Authorities

Contact your local health department or public health agency to alert them about the potential outbreak. They have the expertise and resources to investigate and control the spread of infectious diseases like Legionnaires’ disease. Provide them with all the necessary information, including the affected individuals, their symptoms, and possible exposure sources.

Implement Preventive Measures

While the authorities investigate the suspected outbreak, take precautionary steps to minimize the risk of further contamination. For instance:

  • Increase Water Temperatures: Legionella bacteria thrive in warm water. Raising the water temperature to 140°F (60°C) in water heaters and hot water tanks can help kill the bacteria.
  • Regularly Clean and Disinfect: Ensure that all water systems, including cooling towers, hot tubs, and plumbing, are cleaned and disinfected regularly, following appropriate guidelines.
  • Maintain Proper Water Flow: Stagnant water can promote bacterial growth. Water should be flowing adequately in all parts of the system.
  • Monitor Water Quality: Regularly test water samples for the presence of Legionella to detect any potential contamination early.
  • Communicate with Occupants: If you manage a building or facility, inform occupants about the situation, provide guidance on recognizing symptoms, and update them on the preventive measures being taken.

What Compensation Can I Recover?

Here are some common types of compensation that may be available in a Legionella claim:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for all reasonable medical expenses related to the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Lost Wages: If you had to miss work due to the illness, you may be entitled to compensation for the wages you lost. Additionally, if the disease results in a long-term disability that affects your ability to work, you may be able to claim future lost earnings.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation may be available for the physical pain and emotional distress you experienced due to contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the illness has diminished your ability to enjoy life or engage in activities you once loved.
  • Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are rarely awarded unless the responsible party’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional.

In cases where Legionnaires’ disease leads to a fatality, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. This can include compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.

When Should I Contact an Attorney?

If you have been diagnosed or suspect Legionnaires’ disease, contact a Legionnaires’ Disease attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on what steps to take, including seeking medical attention and preserving evidence for a potential claim. Legionnaires’ disease cases can be complex, especially when it comes to determining liability. If the source of the Legionella bacteria is unclear, or if multiple parties could be responsible for the contamination, an attorney can help investigate and identify who is liable. An experienced attorney will also guide you through the legal process of a Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit, protect your rights, and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

The time limit within which you must file a legionnaires disease claim is determined by the statute of limitations in the jurisdiction where the potential claim will be filed. For example, you have two years to file a Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit in Texas. The clock starts ticking from the date you became ill or when the illness was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you will not be able to pursue legal action.