Whilst some of the care home hazards that the West Lindsey ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers deal with have been in existence for a long time (such as slips, trips and falls) others are a more recent development. Claims involving the disease that is commonly called Legionnaires’ disease is one example. The West Lindsey ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers at Accident Advice Helpline become involved because Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and can make people very ill indeed. The ill person may wish to start a personal injury claim if they feel that someone else was to blame for their illness – because of something that they did or something that they did not do. In the case of a care home – this could be a care home operator and the West Lindsey ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers would start a claim against them.
West Lindsey ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers – Legionnaires’ disease claims from care homes
Legionnaires’ disease is normally contracted by inhaling tiny, airborne droplets containing living bacteria called legionella bacteria. Anyone can, in theory, get the infection but as we get older the risk increases. If you are aged over 45 years old and are a smoker, heavy drinker or are suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease or from diabetes, lung and heart disease or have an impaired immune system then you will be more at risk. Unfortunately, many of a care home’s residents (and some of their employees) will fall into this category and so it is a risk that should be taken seriously.
Although legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water sources, West Lindsey ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers usually become involved because of outbreaks involving purpose-built water systems rather than natural water sources like lakes and rivers. In these artificial water systems the water is maintained at a temperature that will encourage growth of the bacteria – this is usually around 20–45 °C. There also has to be enough nutrients to support bacterial growth and this is often provided by rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms.
Once the temperature drops below 20 °C the bacteria will stay dormant and will probably not divide into the numbers that are needed to cause an infection. They will not, however, be killed and could start multiplying again if the water is heated up. If the water is heated to above 60 °C the bacteria are killed.
For infection to occur, the water has to be formed into airborne water droplets. These are frequently formed in water systems such as hot and cold water services, atomisers, wet air conditioning plants, spa baths and hydrotherapy baths. These are the type of plants that are often found in care homes and so the risk has to be taken seriously.
Call Accident Advice Helpline free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim for compensation.
Date Published: 6th September 2014
Author: Sharon Parry