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Illness Compensation Claims

Legionnaires' Disease Claims

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
    • What Will Happen When I Make A Claim?
    • When you contact us, you'll speak to one of our friendly team members, who will talk to you about your illness. This initial consultation is free and from there, we'll advise you on the best way to take your claim forward.

      Contacting Those Responsible For Your Illness

      We'll help you work out who is responsible for your illness and get in touch with them at an early stage to see if they accept the blame for what happened. If they accept responsibility, we'll try to secure some of your compensation up-front, which can fund private medical care and expenses while your claim is ongoing. These payments are known as interim payments, and will be taken out of your final compensation award.

      Gathering Evidence

      Our experts will look into your case in detail, gathering evidence and enquiring to see if anyone else has been affected. We'll employ medical professionals to find out how your illness impacted your health and recommend the care you'll need in the future in order to make the best recovery possible.

      Final Settlement & Compensation Awarded

      We'll always try and negotiate claims out of court, keeping the claim process as short as we can. However, if your opponent doesn't accept responsibility or doesn't agree with the amount of compensation we feel you need, we'll start court proceedings.

      Even when trial dates have been set, claims are still often settled before reaching court. If your claim needs to be decided at court, we'll be there to help you every step of the way, talking you through what will happen so you feel as comfortable as possible.

      Read more about what happens if your case goes to court.


    • What Can Compensation Pay For?
    • By making a Legionnaires' disease compensation claim, you can access funds to help cover expenses and any medical treatment you may need.

      Every case is different, so there's no set amount of compensation you'll receive. The amount of compensation you'll get will depend on your circumstances, the severity of your illness and your chances of making a full recovery.

      To work out how much compensation you're entitled to, we'll take into account factors such as:

      • Expenses - including travel expenses to medical appointments, prescriptions and things that help with daily living.
      • Loss of earnings - to cover any time you've had off work and time off you may need in the future. This figure can also cover matters such as not returning to the same role or not being able to return to work.
      • Pain and suffering - caused by your illness.
      • Further treatments - to pay for any further medical procedures you may need

      If you'd like to make a compensation claim, contact us to set up a free initial consultation on 0800 056 4110.


    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • You normally have to make a personal injury claim within three years of your illness so you should contact us as soon as possible. Getting in touch with us shortly after your illness makes collecting evidence easier and helps get you the compensation you need as soon as possible. It can also help us find other people who have got food poisoning from the same place and file a stronger group claim.

      There are some exceptions to the three year time limit, including:

      • Claims on behalf of children - these can be made at any point before their 18th birthday. When the child reaches 18, they can make their own claim at any stage up until they turn 21.
      • Mental capacity - there are no time limits to make a claim on behalf of someone who doesn't have the ability to handle their own case.
      • Fatal claims - fatal cases of food poisoning can happen to people with underlying illnesses, people with weakened immune systems and other vulnerable individuals. To make a claim on behalf of your loved one, you'll have three years from the date they died to make a claim. If a post-mortem found that the death was caused by food poisoning, you have three years from the point where you discovered these findings.
      • International claims - If you have developed Legionnaires' disease while abroad, the time limits affecting your claim will be different. For more information, please see our accidents and illness abroad section.

      If you would like to make a personal injury claim, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible so we can start work on your case. Call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.


    • Can I Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there's no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be better options to fund your claim. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household insurance policies, so it's always worth checking whether you're already covered.

      If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. This involves setting up an insurance policy that will protect you, at no cost to you. You'll only have to pay anything when your claim is successful - your opponent will pay most of our fees.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.


    • Meet The Team
    • Our personal injury experts are based across the country so are never too far away from you. We'll always take the time to get to know you and will make sure we understand what happened in your illness and the effect it's had on your life.

      Your lawyer will run your case as efficiently as possible and will start investigating your claim as soon as possible. We always provide clear advice on what's happening and can advise you on a number of issues including financial planning and state benefit entitlement.

      Our Personal Injury team has been applauded by leading legal guides, Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. In 2016, Chambers & Partners said: "They are excellent, very knowledgeable and considerate to their clients, in whom they take a personal interest." The Legal 500, in 2015, described us as a "leading player" and recognised that we "handle every case thoroughly and compassionately." In 2016 the Legal 500 described Amandeep Dhillon, who heads the Public Health team, as "a great team player and strategic thinker".

      We're also proud to have won the Claimant Solicitor of the Year prize at the Rehabilitation First Awards on seven different occasions. This award recognises our key focus on rehabilitation, making sure that our clients can access the care and support they need.

      View our Public Health team



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

Ken, Client

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.


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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.


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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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Awards & Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.


Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2017
"'One of the best’ and ‘go-to firm’ Irwin Mitchell covers the full range of work, and specialises in complex, unique cases."
"The lawyers are heavyweight individuals in a big firm, but they never compromise on client care. They handle cases with striking compassion and insight."

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We understand how difficult dealing with an illness can be. Our personal injury solicitors are here for you whatever your situation is, and you can be sure that we'll help you access the care and support you need to make the best recovery possible.


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