Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection caused by legionella bacteria. You usually contract it by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water and in some cases it can be fatal.

If you have contracted Legionnaires' disease because of someone else's negligence, we could help you make a No Win No Fee* claim for compensation.

Symptoms can take between 2 and 19 days to show, so you might not realise you've been infected until some time after you've been exposed to the bacteria. Initial symptoms can be similar to the flu, including:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • High temperature
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion

Although most people make a full recovery, Legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Complications such as organ failure and sepsis cause 10% of otherwise healthy people to die after contracting the disease.

Infection can be prevented by good maintenance of water systems -plumbing and air conditioning systems in leisure facilities, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and cruise ships are particularly at risk of contamination. The risk of Legionnaires' disease has been known for many years and there are very strict health and safety guidelines that should be followed to prevent outbreaks.

Legionnaires' disease outbreaks often affect a lot of people in a certain area. Our team of specialist illness lawyers are renowned for their expertise with both individual and group claims. Whether you were affected here in the UK or overseas, we could help you claim compensation.

If you've contracted Legionnaires' disease either in the UK or abroad, get in touch with us on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation and find out if we can help you make a No Win No Fee* compensation claim.

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Legionnaires' Compensation Claims - More Information

We are extremely grateful to Irwin Mitchell who diligently pursued our cases for us."

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Client Story ‐ Compensation For Victims Of Legionnaires' Outbreak

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Could I Contract Legionnaires' Disease?

The legionella bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease live in water and can actually be found in harmlessly low numbers in natural sources such as rivers, streams and ponds. It is when the bacteria find their way into artificial water supply systems that they can present a risk.

Once inside a poorly maintained air conditioning or plumbing system, the bacteria might find the perfect conditions to multiply to harmful quantities: stagnant water at 20-45C (68-113F) and containing impurities such as rust, algae and lime scale.

The larger the water system, the greater the risk of contamination. This means large buildings such as hotels, hospitals and offices are more vulnerable to outbreaks. Cruise ships are also at risk.

Many UK residents who contract the disease are exposed to the bacteria while travelling abroad, often in the Mediterranean and tropical countries. Cases do happen in the UK and our specialist team has helped many people who've been struck down by Legionnaires' disease here as well. Numbers peak in the summer months between July and September.

If you have contracted Legionnaires' disease abroad, we have the experience and the expertise with international law to help you make a claim. Read more about claiming for accidents and illness abroad.

What Are The Complications of Legionnaires' Disease?

The initial symptoms of Legionnaires' disease are easily confused with flu, but the disease can lead to severe complications. Those affected can develop symptoms of pneumonia, such as:

  • A persistent cough, starting dry and potentially becoming phlegmy or bloody
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains

Severe infection can also cause organ failure or septic shock. These complications are fatal for an estimated 10% of otherwise healthy people who contract Legionnaires' disease.

Certain factors can increase the severity of these symptoms and the risk of complications. You should be particularly wary of Legionnaires' disease if you are:

  • Over 50 years old
  • A smoker and former smoker
  • Are drinking alcohol heavily
  • Have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or lung conditions
  • Have a weakened immune system, e.g. due to HIV or ongoing cancer treatment

83% of Legionnaires' disease cases in the UK in 2013 involved people over 50 years of age and most of the deaths associated with Legionnaires' disease occur in those 70 years of age or older. The NHS advises that those who are particularly at risk avoid water systems that could be contaminated such as spas.

If you've lost a loved one due to Legionnaires' disease, we can help you access support services as well pursue a claim on their behalf. See our Coping with Bereavement page for more information.

Who Is Responsible For Outbreaks Of Legionnaires' Disease?

Anyone in charge of a building has a responsibility to keep its water systems well-maintained and free of contamination. If you become ill because they have failed in their duty of care, you could make a claim for compensation.

Water should be cooled or heated to ensure that it isn't in the temperature 'danger zone' of 20-45C. It should also be kept moving and free of impurities. Systems should be regularly checked and if any faults are found, they should be rectified immediately to prevent illness. Similarly, issues reported by guests or tenants - e.g. dirty water coming out of taps or smells coming from air conditioning ducts - must be acted upon swiftly.

There are strict health and safety regulations in place that govern the maintenance of water systems to prevent illnesses such as Legionnaires' disease. Anyone failing to adhere to these regulations is liable if illness does strike.

Depending on where your exposure happened, the responsibility for an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease could lie with:

  • Hotel owners
  • Cruise lines
  • Hospital trusts
  • Business owners
  • Office landlords

Our expert illness lawyers will help you pinpoint when and where you contracted the disease so we can find out who's responsible and help you make a claim.

Contact us online today for more information on making a claim.

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