Can I Sue a Hotel for Legionnaires Disease?

Yes, you can sue a hotel for Legionnaires’ disease if there is scientific evidence that Legionella pneumophila contamination in water at the hotel caused the illness.  Your lawsuit should seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain, and emotional distress. If your loved one died, your family may have a wrongful death claim.

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Investigation of Legionnaires’ Disease Claim

Legionella Bacteria
This is a colorized electron microscope image of Legionella pneumophila bacteria under a magnification of 6500 times.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by breathing in water mist containing Legionella pneumophila cells. If you and at least one other person are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and you both stayed at the same hotel, health officials will generally inspect the hotel and test water samples to find out if water at the hotel is contaminated with Legionella. 

Visual Inspection of the Hotel

Often a health official will visually inspect various parts of hotel, including hot water heaters, storage tanks, cooling towers, whirlpool spas, decorative fountains and potable water systems.

Testing for Legionella Bacteria in the Water Supply, Hot Tub and Pool

Legionaires Disease Outbreak

If a determination is made to test the hotel water systems for the presence of Legionella, samples are usually taken from the hotel’s cooling tower, hot tub, spa, and pool filters, water heaters, hot water storage tanks, and sinks and showers where the people who were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease stayed.

The Legionnaires’ Disease tests determine if there is Legionella bacteria and determines the species, for example L. pneumophila.  Further testing can determine the serotype of the species.  For example, L. pneumophila has 15 serogroups.  Even more testing can determine the specific molecular subtype of serogroup.  If the people sickened were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ by the culture method, tests can be done to determine if the specific pathogen that sickened them has the same molecular subtype as the Legionella found in the hotel.

The results of these tests can be used as evidence in a lawsuit against the hotel.

Faucet Water Can Cause Legionnaires Disease

Interviews with Patients

Cases of the disease can be connected to each other and a hotel if all of the people sickened stayed at the same hotel at about the same time and they all presented with signs and symptoms within about 14 days (more in some cases) of staying at the hotel. This is called epidemiological evidence, and interviews with patients sickened in the outbreak are critical.

It is important to cooperate with health officials as they are trying to find where the water that made you sick is located. You can contact our law firm and talk with one of our lawyers about this.

A couple went to a hotel and spent time in the hot tub. After being home a few days, the wife was hospitalized with symptoms of pneumonia. Tests determined that she had Legionnaires’ disease pneumonia, which is particularly hard to treat and is often fatal. Tragically, for this lovely woman, it was fatal. Her death devastated her husband. He contacted attorneys at Pritzker Hageman, who had significant experience with these cases.

Our law firm’s investigation found that two other people had been sickened by that same hot tub just months before and that the hotel had known about it. This meant that the hotel had not taken action to sufficiently clean the hot tub to prevent our client’s wife’s death. With this information, our legal team obtained millions for our client. For him, it was not about the money as much as it was about finding out the truth and holding the hotel company accountable.

Recent Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks and Investigations Linked to Hotels