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Legionnaires' Disease

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  • Overview
  • Our Experts
  • See Our 10 Simple Steps

Most British holidaymakers go abroad for the sun and all the relaxing activities that go hand in hand with this. Blazing sunshine and high temperatures are what most travellers look forward to when they book their package holiday abroad. When the heat gets too much, one of the most pleasurable feelings is escaping to an air-conditioned part of the hotel or holiday complex. However if it is not properly maintained, air-conditioning can pose a hazard and in some cases can cause outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease can cause a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.A serious outbreak can lead to between 5% and 30% of fatalities and up to 50% if treatment is delayed. The disease is most commonly found in hotels, hospitals, restaurants and similar public buildings with ventilation systems or purpose-built systems where water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage bacterial growth, e.g. cooling towers, Jacuzzis or hot tubs.

How do you catch Legionnaires’ disease?

The bacteria do not pass from person to person but, instead, often travel through faulty air-conditioning units or hot water or plumbing systems.  The disease is caught by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the legionella bacteria. The risks of catching the disease greatly increase in high temperature environments and climates, which include many favourite holiday ‘hotspots’.

What causes Legionnaires’ disease?

A faulty air-conditioning unit or hot water system where:

  • The temperature is set inaccurately
  • Circulation is insufficient
  • Pumps fail to properly function
  • Thermometers provide incorrect readings

When standing water used in some types of air-conditioning units is not changed daily, the legionella bacteria can rapidly multiply in water temperatures of between 20-45C (68-113F). Impurities in the water such as rust, algae and limescale are used by the bacteria as food.

What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease?

Initial symptoms usually include flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Mild headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • High temperature (fever), usually 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Change of mental state, such as confusion

Holidaymakers most at risk are:.

  • People over 45 years of age
  • Smokers and heavy drinkers
  • People suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, lung and heart disease
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system

Monitoring and detection

The hotel or resort should have a monitoring programme in place to include the routine sampling and testing for the presence of bacteria, such as Legionella. The detection of Legionella bacteria requires laboratory analysis as well as routine monitoring.

If you fall ill with Legionnaires’ Disease while on a package holiday, you should be aware that under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, your UK Package tour operator:

  • Has a responsibility for ensuring that your holiday is provided to a reasonable standard
  • Is liable to pay compensation if you or a member of your family were ill and suffered Legionnaires’ Disease because the hotel resort where you were staying failed to take reasonable care.
  • Is responsible for making sure its suppliers perform their obligations properly.

If you are on a package holiday, and your tour operator or hotel is found to be in breach of the regulations, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

How Your Legal Friend can help you

We specialise in acting on behalf of anyone who has suffered from a holiday accident or illness through no fault of their own and wishes to claim compensation.

With over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of international personal injury law, we can provide you with expert guidance and support every step of the way to secure you the best possible compensation.  We can also help you to claim back any additional expenses you have suffered as a result of your accident, such as:

  • Any medical expenses you had to meet while on holiday
  • Time taken off work on your return from holiday
  • Missing out on any holiday activities that your injury prevented you from participating in. 

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Work for you with no upfront fees
  • No win, no fee - guaranteed
  • 95% success rate for personal injury claims
  • Over £200,000,000 successfully won in the last ten years alone
  • Help and support you with your claim
  • 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat about making a claim with one of our expert personal injury solicitors, call us now on 01515505228 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

Alison Saul, Director of Personal Injury leads our Personal Injury and Road Accident teams. A fully qualified solicitor with over 15 years of experience and expertise, Alison is dedicated to achieving the highest levels of compensation for her clients as well as ensuring high quality client care.

Alison is assisted by her team managers, Philip Waters Lee Quinn, Jenna Hargreaves, and Kathryn Langton. Philip, Lee, and Jenna lead legal teams focussing on Road Traffic Accident cases while Kathyrn leads our Personal Injury team. Together they have a wealth of experience in personal injury compensation.

  • There are many people injured in accidents each year through no fault of their own and the circumstances will be difference in each instance. Our team has extensive experience of successfully managing a wide range of personal injury claims, so we can help you secure the maximim compensation you deserve. 

    Alison Saul,
    Director of Personal Injury`

Philip, a qualified solicitor, has over 18 years’ experience in personal injury compensation. Having previously worked for a large insurance company, he has extensive insights in how to engage effectively with insurers to achieve the level of compensation our clients deserve. Philip deals with cases of high value, complex cases, and recently secured £1.6 million in compensation for one of his clients who suffered catastrophic injuries in a road accident.

Lee has over 15 years’ specialist experience in Personal Injury claims and also manages a wide variety of high value, complex cases. Lee has extensive experience of working with insurance companies, acting for both claimants and defendants, and so understands how to secure the highest levels of compensation for the victims of road traffic accidents.

Jenna is a qualified solicitor and has studied to become a barrister. Jenna leads the internal reviews of our case management processes to ensure excellent, efficient case handling and high levels of client satisfaction.

Kathryn, also a qualiied solicitor, specialises in accidents at work, public liability and accidents abroad. Kathryn deals with a wide variety of cases, often including accidents that involve serious, complex injuries.

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our expert personal injury solicitors about making a claim, call us now on 0808 149 4227 (call free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

Accidents & Illnesses abroad - 10 simple steps to achieving your compensation

For most people, a compensation claim isn’t an everyday occurrence so we thought it would be helpful to explain how we manage your claim and the steps that we both need to go through.

Step 1 - Obtaining a full description of your accident or illness

We need to understand as much as possible about your accident or illness – exactly how it happened or what caused you to be ill and why, the injuries you suffered, what happened immediately afterwards and how your life has been affected as a result.

Step 2 - Obtaining your medical records

We will ask your GP and hospital for your full medical records so that we can establish the extent of your injuries or illness, the treatment you received, and how long it will take you to recover.  If your treatment was carried out abroad, we can obtain and, if need be, translate those records.

Step 3 - Contacting the company responsible for your accident or illness

Once we have decided who is responsible for your accident or illness, we will inform them that you intend to claim compensation and send them the details you have provided.  We will let you know their response and, if they dispute the case, we will ask you to provide your comments on their response. 

Step 4 - Arranging your medical assessment

We will arrange for an independent clinician to evaluate the extent of your illness or injuries and whether they will affect your ability to work in the short or long term.  In holiday illness claims, it may sometimes be possible to obtain a “desktop” report that can be done based on your witness statement and any medical records so that you don’t have to go for a medical examination.

Step 5 - Collating details of your financial loss

In addition to compensation for your injuries or illness, you can claim for another other expenses you have incurred as a result, including lost earnings, expenses travelling to medical appointments, and the cost of care and help with everyday tasks.  

Step 6 - Providing you with our valuation of your losses

Once we have received all your medical reports, we can provide a valuation for your illness, injuries and associated losses.  We will send this to you along with your medical report. You then need to complete and sign the medical slip and schedule of losses and return them to us.

Step 7 - Sending your valuation to the other party's insurer

Once we have received your signed medical slip and schedule of losses, we send these to the defendant’s insurer and ask for their best offer to settle the case. Often the insurance company takes 4 – 6 weeks to get back to us.

Step 8 - Negotiating the maximum settlement possible

We work hard to achieve the maximum possible settlement for your case, which can take some time to negotiate. So we text and email you to keep you up to date with our progress.

Step 9 - Issuing Court proceedings

If the defendant’s insurer refuses to make a realistic offer, then we issue Court proceedings for a hearing.  It is very unlikely that you need to attend this hearing, so there’s no need to worry about it. 

Step 10 - Sending you your compensation payment

Once we receive your compensation payment from the defendant’s insurer, we let you know.  Most important of all, we send you your compensation payment straight away!

How long does a claim take?

Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get medical records and assessments, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time. Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.