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6 Steps for Evaluating a Legionnaire's Disease Claim - Part 1

Have you suffered injury or a death in the family from Legionnaire’s disease?

Call your attorneys at Carabin Shaw at 800-862-1260. We can help you and your family with evaluating a Legionnaires’ disease and determining any possible claims.

Below is the process our Legionnaire’s Disease Legal Team follows in evaluating LD claims. It comes in 3 parts. First, when a client comes in with a possible Legionnaire’s case, we take the following three steps.

1. Confirm the Diagnosis of Pneumonia

Our first step after the client comes in usually involves getting confirmation that our client actually has pneumonia. This type of diagnosis is generally made with the assistance of radiographic evidence (CT scans and/or chest x-rays) combined with blood tests which demonstrate the presence of infection.

2. Ensure Legionella Bacteria’s Presence

Because LD is a type of pneumonia, specifically the pneumonia caused by bacteria, medical professionals need to specifically identify exactly which kind of bacteria is within the patient’s body. Doctors accomplish this with laboratory tests of the patient’s pleural fluid, lung tissue, respiratory secretions, blood and urine. If the Legionella bacteria are identified, only then are medical professionals able to make a scientific diagnosis of LD.

If the Legionella bacteria is cultured from a lung biopsy specimen, sputum (phlegm), or various bodily sites, a diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease is considered confirmed.

Paired blood specimens which show at least a four-fold increase in serum levels of antibodies when the blood is drawn shortly after illness begins and again several weeks after recovery, can be used to confirm this diagnosis.

3. Identify Possible Sources of Illness

Once we know what illness you have, our Legal Team for Legionnaire’s Disease’s next step is to figure out exactly where you got exposed to this bacterium. This investigatory process involves us figuring out exactly where you were in the 2 to 18 day period immediately prior to the onset of symptoms. That is quite important because we already know that it takes that about that long for symptoms to develop after you are exposed.

When you are exposed to LD, it generally (but not actually always) infects more than one individual. Therefore, we really need to find out whether your case is part of what is called “an outbreak,” which is what happens when at least two people get sick in the roughly same place at roughly the same time.

If, in addition to you, there are other people sickened with LD who were at the same place you were prior to the 2-18 day incubation period, that’s usually strong evidence of an outbreak of which you were probably a victim.

A person who is part of an outbreak is considered a “case patient.”

It is also frequently possible for our Legionnaire’s Disease Legal team to make a claim if there was not an outbreak if there is good evidence that disease exposure occurred at a known particular location and other possible infection sources can be ruled impossible or too improbable. As an example, a law firm represented the family of a person who died as a result of LD. There were no other known cases of LD in the same general area at the same time. However, it is without question that during most of the time just prior to and during this person’s period of incubation, they were in a local hospital. Further analysis of the water features at the hospital showed the presence of known Legionella bacteria. This allowed the law firm to resolve the case successfully on behalf of the decedent’s loved ones.

Have you suffered injury or a death in the family from Legionnaire’s disease?

Call your Legal Team for Legionnaire’s Disease at Carabin Shaw at 800-862-1260. We can help you and your family with evaluating a Legionnaires’ disease and determining any possible claims.

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