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Legionnaires Disease and Premises Liability Claims

Legionnaires disease is serious, and potentially fatal, infectious disease that can result in severe medical injury and extensive hospitalization. Often, outbreaks or cases of Legionnaires disease are linked to unsanitary water storage conditions in hotels, cruise ships, apartment or office building, healthcare facilities and other properties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. This type of pneumonia is caused by the inhalation of tiny droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Interestingly enough, the bacteria is less likely to enter a person’s system through ingestion of the contaminated water. Rather, a person may be infected by inhalation of vapors and mist containing the contaminants.

The disease is fatal for one in ten people who contract the infection. Even when people survive Legionnaires disease, they may be hospitalized for several weeks or months, and may incur heavy medical expenses or experience long term health effects after the injury.

A large number of the Legionnaires disease cases that are reported every year occur in hospitals.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a special section on its website that specifically deals with prevention of Legionnaires disease outbreaks at hotels and resorts. The infection is commonly linked to poor water management. Proper water management and storage techniques can help inhibit the growth of the bacteria responsible for the infection, keeping hotel and resort guests safer.

Typically the bacteria grow in warm environment that is stagnant or when the water is not changed regularly.  The bacteria can also thrive in water that does not have sufficient disinfectant. Unfortunately, chlorine by itself may not stop the growth of the bacteria, and other disinfectants have to be used.  Some of the especially high-risk areas of a hotel or resort that can be breeding grounds of the Legionnaires bacteria are hot tubs and pools, showers, fountains and cooling towers.

An investigation can help locate the source of the contamination and infection, but merely sourcing the contaminant on the hotel premises does not mean that the hotel is automatically liable. Locating the bacteria on the hotel premises does not necessarily mean that the guest was exposed to the pathogen on the hotel premises.

If you or a loved one contracted Legionnaires disease at a hotel or resort, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages for all your losses. These damages can include medical costs, lost income as a result of the illness, and pain and suffering.  To have a successful claim, you will need to be able to prove that the infection occurred at the hotel, and that it was a result of the property owner’s negligence.   This is not as easy to prove as it may seem, and the property owner will have a legal team that work to minimize or eliminate the owner’s liability for your injuries.

It’s important to speak with an Atlanta personal injury attorney before you take any legal action to protect your nights after a Legionnaires disease infection.  Talk to an Atlanta personal injury attorney at the Katz Law Firm and get a free evaluation of your case.

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