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Claims for Sustaining Legionnaires’ Disease Abroad
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria. Whilst uncommon, it can be serious, leading to long-term health problems and even death. It is possible to be exposed to the bacteria whilst travelling abroad and if you believe you have contracted Legionnaires’ disease as a result of contaminated water during foreign travel, you are entitled to make a claim.
Our team of experts can help you pursue compensation and you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as you know you’d like to make a claim. Call us on 0800 054 6570 or complete our contact form and one of the team will be in touch at a time convenient for you.
What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is an infection of the lung that you can catch by inhaling bacteria from droplets of water from an infected source, such as a fountain, air conditioning unit or a hot tub. Therefore, it can be contracted in hotels and the latest government figures showed that 41% of cases confirmed in England and Wales were associated with travel abroad.
Initial symptoms are similar to that of flu, and may include a temperature, muscle ache, headaches and confusion. If you have symptoms, and are concerned you may have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, speak to your GP and raise your concerns. If you have travelled abroad to anywhere there has been an outbreak, you should let your GP know.
There is an incubation period for Legionnaires’ disease, so it is vital you instruct specialist solicitors, such as the team at JMW, who can investigate your case if the source is unclear and help you make a claim for compensation.
Who is most at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ Disease?
Anyone can be susceptible to Legionella bacteria; however, there are certain groups who can be more at risk, including:
- Those aged over 50
- Those who have pre-existing breathing problems
- Those who suffer from diabetes or kidney, lung or heart disease
- Smokers or those who used to smoke heavily
- Heavy drinkers
- Those who have a weakened immune system
How to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease?
Hotels, leisure facilities, restaurants and cruise ships are particularly at risk of outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease. Infection can be prevented by maintaining water systems, including plumbing and air-conditioning systems, as poor hygiene provides the conditions for the bacteria to multiply.
The property owner, landlord, employer or local authority is legally responsible for having procedures in place to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease - these include:
- Conducting regular inspections of water systems
- Cleaning and disinfecting water systems
- Eliminating any rust, algae, limescale and any other substance that would encourage bacterial growth
- Maintaining temperatures to reduce the chances of bacterial growth
A claim for compensation can be made if those responsible for cleaning and maintaining systems and equipment acted negligently and this resulted in an outbreak.
Can I Make a Claim in England or Wales?
If you have travelled abroad on a package holiday, you have protection under the relevant regulations, meaning you can pursue your tour operator here in the UK if you contracted Legionnaires’ disease in your hotel. If you didn’t travel as part of a package holiday then you may still be able to bring your claim against the responsible insurer in the UK. Contact us for legal advice.
What Time Limit Applies?
If you are pursuing a claim against your tour operator, the normal time limit is three years. However, in certain circumstances, the time limit may be much shorter, so our advice is always to seek specialist legal input from our team as soon as is possible to allow time for a thorough investigation.
Why Choose JMW?
Our expert team has a wealth of experience when it comes to dealing with illnesses that have their origins in foreign travel, with Legionnaires’ disease being one of a number of illnesses that clients of ours have suffered from.
We will work with you to understand exactly how the disease has affected you, what sacrifices you have had to make in your life and where you have been out of pocket as a result. Once we know all of this, we will work hard to get you compensation that realistically addresses all of these sacrifices and puts you back in the position you would have been, were it not for your illness.