If you have been affected by Legionnaires disease or exposed to this kind of bacteria, you may deserve compensation. You need to make sure to protect your rights and make sure you get the justice you deserve for your injuries. Contact our highly experienced team of Las Vegas Legionnaires Disease Lawyer at J. Cogburn Law today.
What is Legionnaires Disease?
Legionnaire’s disease or legionella is a potentially fatal infectious waterborne disease caused by a bacteria called Legionella. According to the CDC, this bacteria can be found naturally in streams and lakes, but it can become a concern when it grows in water systems such as:
- Hot tubs
- Sink faucets and showerheads
- Water features and decorative fountains
- AC units for large buildings
- Large plumbing systems
- Water heaters and hot water tanks
The CDC reports that car and home AC units are not at risk for the growth of the Legionella bacteria since they don’t use water as a source for air cooling.
How Serious Are Waterborne Diseases in the United States?
According to Sarah A. Collier, MPH, an analytic epidemiologist in the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
“Despite having one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, about 118,000 hospitalizations and 6,600 deaths from a waterborne disease occur in the U.S. each year,” Collier told Healio. “The majority of hospitalizations and deaths were from diseases with respiratory or systemic effects, including Legionnaires’ disease, nontuberculous mycobacterial infections, and Pseudomonas pneumonia and septicemia. These diseases are spread through contaminated aerosolized water.”
Symptoms of Legionnaires Disease
Symptoms can start to develop within the first two to ten days after exposure to the legionella bacteria. Legionnaires disease typically begins with the following symptoms and signs:
- Fever of 104F or higher
- Muscle pain
Around the third day, other symptoms may develop:
- Cough that may bring up blood or mucus
- Chest pain
- Mental changes
- Shortness of breath
- GI symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
- The disease may also cause infections in other body parts, such as the heart
Legionnaires disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but it can easily turn into pneumonia for those to contract it and will require to be admitted to the hospital to fully recover.
Pontiac fever is another symptom you may experience, which is a mild form of the disease. The difference is that this type of fever does not infect the lungs. Symptoms include chills, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
Do I Have a Claim if I’m Sick?
Legionnaires disease can be prevented by thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning water sources. However, a claim can only succeed if you have proof that you were harmed because of someone else’s negligence by not doing so.
Here is what you have to be able to prove in order to have a claim for Legionnaires disease:
- You were exposed to legionella bacteria
- This exposure happened while being at the premises that belong to the defendant
- The exposure happened due to the operator or owner’s negligence
- The exposure to the bacteria led you to get Legionnaires disease
Legionella Infection Victims’ Legal Rights
Given the fact that Legionnaires disease can be prevented by safety procedures and routine cleaning, you have the right to hold the at-fault party liable for your affliction. You may also be entitled to sue them in order to get compensation for every medical bill, hospital stay, lost wages, and more.
What To Do In Case You Have a Legionella Personal Injury Case
The first thing you need to do is to get the help of a legionnaires disease lawyer right away. In order to pursue your claim, you will need a lawyer who can immediately help you and take that weight off your shoulder. They will be in charge of:
- Getting all medical reports
- Investigating the place of the exposure
- Collecting the reports of the investigations conducted by the local health department
- Interviewing witnesses and other victims that got sick as well
- Estimating your personal injury case’s value
- Negotiating with the other party’s insurance company
- If necessary, representing you during trial
- Hiring every expert necessary to testify and provide their opinion
How Do You Find the Source of a Legionnaires Disease Outbreak?
This is an easy task to complete whenever you are part of a major outbreak since government agencies and health officials will come in to do testing in order to spot the spread by discovering the source.
If your case is an individual case, your symptoms may not begin until the second day after you inhaled the legionella-infested water. There are many water sources that you could have come into contact with during that time and it is very difficult to know where to begin.
You can start by reaching out and notifying your local public health department to see if they have any resources for you. Then think about the first day you started feeling symptoms of the disease and start writing your activities’ history and locations visited in the past two weeks.
This will help trace every potential water source you may have been in contact with. Try to narrow down the possible sources by process of elimination.
Once the sources are narrowed down, get permission to take samples to do your own testing. You can buy testing kits through private companies online. They will send you the kit, then you send it back to get results on whether the bacteria was present or not.
It is of utmost importance to discover the source of your infection, without it there is no one to sue.
Who Can Be Liable in a Las Vegas Legionella Outbreak?
The water source’s property owner is typically at fault unless the Las Vegas Valley Water District, who is in charge of cleaning it and testing it at the source has failed to notify everyone of the presence of Legionella. In some cases, the negligent party has included Las Vegas hotel owners, engineers, architects, cleaning companies, plumbers, employers, water heater manufacturers, spas, casinos, hospitals, health clubs, general contractors, assisted living facilities, etc.
How Does Legionella Spread?
The legionella bacteria can grow and multiply in water that hasn’t been properly treated and makes its way to people’s lungs. Microscopic water droplets in the air contain the bacteria and get inhaled. According to the Mayo Clinic, past outbreaks have been caused by:
- Decorative fountains
- Mist machines
- Water systems in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- Hot tubs and cruise ship whirlpools
- Cooling towers in AC systems
- Swimming pools
- Physical therapy equipment
Getting Legionnaires disease from inhaling contaminated water by accident is rare, but it can happen. Very rarely is this disease spread from person to person.
According to the CDC, Legionnaire’s disease has been rising steadily since 2000. In 2016, there were 6,000 cases reported. Early fall and summer are the seasons when the illness tends to get discovered, but it can really happen at any time of the year.
Why Choose J. Cogburn Law?
We have handled and are extremely knowledgeable in cases involving bacterial infections. Our team of dedicated legionnaires disease lawyers is ready on hand to hear your case and fight for your right to compensation. If you think you have been contaminated with Legionnaires disease, then it is time to do something about it. Contact J. Cogburn Law to speak to one of our hotel injury attorneys. Call us at (727) 747-6000 to get a free initial consultation.