| Read Time: 3 minutes | Legionnaires’ Disease
Can You Get Legionnaires’ Disease from Drinking Water

We all need water. But what happens when the water source your landlord, hospital, nursing home or hotel provides is poisonous? You could contract a very serious illness. Waterborne illnesses such as Legionnaires’ disease can be incredibly debilitating—or even fatal—and you might be due compensation for the harm caused by those illnesses. At Riley | Ersoff, we are at the forefront of successfully representing people suffering from Legionnaires’ Disease. If you’ve contracted this illness, you will likely need the help of a knowledgeable attorney to help compensate you for your losses.

Basics of Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can result when someone comes in contact with a bacteria called Legionella. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease usually become present within 2-14 days of exposure and may include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, chills, high fever, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.  Individuals over the age of 50, current or former smokers, or individuals with a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease are at a greater risk to contract Legionnaires’ disease.  Complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure and septic shock.  If not treated timely with proper antibiotics, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal.  In fact about 15 out of 100 people who get Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.  More illnesses are reported in the summer and early fall, but it can happen any time of year.

Common Sources of Legionella Bacteria

The Legionella bacteria live in natural freshwater sources and equipment such as:

  • Showerheads,
  • Faucets,
  • Hot tubs,
  • Cooling towers,
  • Fountains,
  • Plumbing, and 
  • Hot water tanks.

If you contract Legionnaires’ disease, you can become very ill. If you suspect you have it, you need to speak to a medical professional immediately, because this disease has a relatively high mortality rate. 

Common Ways to Contract Legionnaires’ Disease in Water 

Most people contract Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in microscopic water droplets that contain Legionella bacteria.  While uncommon, it is possible to get Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water if you cough or choke while drinking.  This could result in water entering your lungs. If that water contains Legionella bacteria, then you could contract Legionnaires’ disease.  This is commonly called an “aspiration.”     

Now that you know the basics of where the disease-causing bacteria live and how you can contract the disease, let’s talk about your access to legal compensation for the illness. 

Filing a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit

You might want to file a personal injury lawsuit to cover your own losses from dealing with Legionnaires’ disease, or a wrongful death lawsuit to address the devastation of losing a loved one to the disease. Whatever the purpose of your suit, there are many ways to recover from a property owner or other party responsible for exposure to Legionella in the water. 

In order to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, our legal team will have to establish that you or your loved one were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, Legionella bacteria was present when you were at the property caused your illness, and that persons or entities breached the standard of care resulting in your injury and damages.  These factors are proven through factual timelines, medical records, laboratory tests and health department inspection reports.   In most cases, liability rests with the property owners, managers, or operators of the premises where the Legionnaires’ outbreak occurred.  Other parties may be responsible for damages in a Legionnaires’ lawsuit including individuals or entities involved in the installation, design, repair or maintenance of the building water system.

Damages in a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit

Compensation in a Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit can include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability

Ultimately, we hope and trust that our water is safe, but sometimes someone else breaks that trust and causes harm. If you’re a victim of that broken trust, you don’t have to suffer alone, and you don’t have to suffer without proper compensation. 

Our Attorneys Are Ready to Hold Irresponsible Actors Accountable

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, contact our legal team at Riley | Ersoff for a free consultation.  A timely investigation is critical to the success of your case and evidence must be preserved so do not wait. 

At Riley | Ersoff, we get results for those who are suffering under the weight of someone else’s mistakes. All of our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing plaintiffs who were poisoned by their surroundings. Our partner Victoria L. Ersoff has more than 28 years of legal experience and has handled over 2,000 Legionnaires’ disease cases. We have recovered over 110 million dollars for our clients, and we hope we can add you to our long list of successes. You can reach us at 866-584-6137 or contact us online for a free consultation. 

Author Photo

Victoria L. Ersoff

Victoria Ersoff is a litigation attorney with over 28 years’ experience on both sides of the courtroom, having represented both defendants and plaintiffs alike. Victoria’s proactive, innovative and aggressive approach to the practice of law has yielded an unbroken string of jury verdicts for her clients. She is nationally known for her expertise in all facets of toxic tort litigation and mass bacterial outbreaks including her handling of over 1,000 Legionnaires’ disease claims nationwide. Victoria is nationally known as the “go to” Legionnaires’ disease attorney. She has handled cases across the country including all facets of toxic tort litigation, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.

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