Ohio Catastrophic Injury & Premises Liability Lawyer Investigating Legionnaires Disease Cases

Legionnaires disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria that usually enters the lungs by aspiration of contaminated water or inhalation of mist from contaminated water.

The fatality rate is between 5-30 percent and usually affect middle aged to older individuals who have a history of smoking or have chronic lung disease. Consequently, many reported outbreaks occur in hospitals or other long term care health settings.  Pontiac Fever is the more mild infection and does not cause pneumonia or death.

History of Legionnaires

The first case was recognized in 1976 in the Philadelphia American Legion.  Since then, outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease often are covered extensively by the media. Approximately 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized every year and the CDC warns that outbreaks are a growing issue.

The first cases of Pontiac fever occurred in 1968 in Pontiac, Michigan, among people at the city’s health department. It wasn’t until the 1976 outbreak in Philadelphia that health officials were able to see that the same bacterium causes both diseases.

Legionella Injury Lawsuits

OSHA and other health agencies are working to prevent worker exposures and Legionellosis cases, which largely depends on managing effective water systems and programs.

The focus of outbreak prevention programs are hinged on safe water systems and their components, which are areas where Legionella can grow. OSHA has developed more awareness and safety programs to help employers plan and implement water management programs.

Some OSHA standards and regulations that may apply to a workplace focus on record keeping, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Respiratory Protection standards.

Ohio Legionnaires Outbreaks

Following a diagnosis of Legionnaires Disease in a hospital or other long care facility setting, where you suspect there was negligence, or where you simply have questions about what may have happened, you should contact an experienced Ohio attorney.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati legionnaires disease attorney who is well versed in the science, economic impact, and human loss that such an injury or death has on the injured person’s life and their family.  

The Lyon Firm has the resources and knowledge to work alongside expert infectious disease doctors determine the root cause and to develop the compelling evidence to present the highest quality evidence and arguments on the Plaintiff’s behalf.

What Causes Legionnaires Disease?

The primary source is almost always contaminated water. It can usually traced to several secondary sources where there is a breach of relevant health and safety regulations:

  1. Negligently Maintained Cooling Towers for Air Conditioning
  2. Negligently Maintained Plumbing
  3. Negligently Maintained Water Fountains
  4. Negligently Maintained Hot Tubs
  5. Negligently Maintained Spas
  6. Negligently Maintained Showers
  7. Negligently Maintained Humidifiers
  8. Negligently Maintained Mist Sprayers

Cooling towers are part of large air-conditioning systems, and are used to dissipate unwanted heat through water evaporation. Warm water flows into the top of the cooling tower through tubes and nozzles. As this happens, tiny airborne water droplets and mist are formed.

As water falls through the tower, some of it evaporates. Because evaporation consumes heat, the remaining water is cooled. The cooler fans, however, pushes mist and droplets out of the tower.
Cooling towers and evaporative condensers often contain Legionella and other bacteria brought in by air or water. Legionella grows easily and quickly in the water, and is easily dispersed with the misting of the tower system.  Legionella is also been found in hot water tanks, faucets, spas, hot tubs, and humidifiers.

Legionnaires Disease Complications

Treatment guidelines for Legionnaires generally includes one to three weeks of antibiotic treatment. Most patients will improve with antibiotic treatment, though complications may include:

  • High Fever
  • Chest Pain
  • Respiratory  Failure
  • Kidney and Multiple Organ Failure
  • Septic Shock
  • Death

Ohio Legionella Lawsuits

Provided the burden of proof is surmounted, Ohio provides monetary compensation for Legionnaires Disease injuries.  Ohio has damages cap on certain personal injury awards and those damages caps may apply in certain cases where the injury does not permanently affect a bodily organ.  Compensation may be awarded for the following elements where the evidence supports the elements:

  1. Past Physical Pain and Suffering
  2. Past Mental Pain and Suffering
  3. Past Lost of Enjoyment of Life
  4. Past Medical Expenses
  5. Past Lost Wages
  6. Future Physical Pain and Suffering
  7. Future Mental Pain and Suffering
  8. Future Medical Expenses
  9. Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  10. Future Lost Wages or Loss of Earning Capacity
  11. Life Care Plans (home or vehicle improvements)
  12. Spousal Loss of Consortium (if applicable)
  13. Parental Loss of Consortium (if applicable)

Ohio Wrongful Death Compensation

The Ohio Wrongful Death Statute (R.C. 2125: Action for Wrongful Death) allows a lawsuit to be brought by a beneficiary on behalf of the decedent and his or her Estate.  The following separate damages may be recoverable depending on the facts in the case.

  • Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent
  • Loss of services of the decedent
  • Loss of society of the decedent (loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education)
  • Loss of prospective inheritance
  • Mental Anguish

If you or a loved one has suffered from legionnaires disease and have questions about the root cause or available legal remedies to improve quality of life or medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer those critical questions.