Atlanta Sheraton Legionnaires’ Disease

Atlanta Legionnaires’ Disease Lawyers

Click here to complete our Legionnaire’s disease questionnaire and intake form.

 

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia caused by bacteria. Individuals who stayed at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel between June 12 and July 15, 2019, may have been exposed to legionella bacteria.  If you visited the Atlanta Sheraton between June 12 and July 15, 2019 and have developed symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, you may be entitled to compensation.  The Wetherington Law Firm and Stewart Trial Attorneys are currently accepting these cases.  Click here to complete our Legionnaire’s disease questionnaire and intake form.

When you hire us to handle your claim, you can expect us to take the following steps:

  • Document important evidence, including the circumstances of your exposure to legionella;
  • Identify all entities and individuals that played a role in the incident;
  • Obtain all relevant medical records of your treatment;
  • Identify all insurance policies that may provide coverage for your injuries or death;
  • Work with the top engineering professionals in the country to determine the correct standard of care for each defendant;
  • If the victim survives the disease, we fully document the current medical condition and work with the ongoing physicians to understand future medical needs and how much they will cost; and
  • Keep you informed every step of the way.
Every case receives a dedicated team of experience medical malpractice lawyers and supporting staff who will keep you informed throughout the case.
Every case receives a dedicated team of experience lawyers and supporting staff who will keep you informed throughout the case.

 

What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria found in freshwater environments, like lakes, streams, and ponds.  Legionnaires’ Disease is a medical condition caused by exposure to legionella.  Legionnaires’ disease is associated with a wide variety of respiratory conditions and can lead to serious injury or death.  Health departments estimate at least 8,000 people develop Legionnaires’ disease each year in the United States.  More than 10 percent of infected people die.  Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease are the result of negligence related to building water symptoms.

Legionnaires’ Disease is named after attendees of the 1976 American Legion convention, who contracted the disease, resulting in 200 infections and 29 deaths.

What are the Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

Legionnaires’ disease can also be associated with other symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and confusion. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but it can take longer so people should watch for symptoms for about 2 weeks after exposure.  Although legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.

Can I Recover Money for Contracting Legionnaires’ Disease at the Atlanta Sheraton?

Legionnaire’s disease claims fall under the legal field of premises liability.  To win a premises liability action, the injured person must establish:

  1. The existence of a duty on the part of the Sheraton to protect guests;
  2. The failure of the Sheraton to perform that duty;
  3. Actual injuries; and
  4. Proof that the injuries were proximately caused by the Sheraton’s negligence.

The Atlanta Sheraton is a Marriott hotel.  Marriott and Sheraton owe the following duties to guests:

  • Routinely inspect the premises for dangerous conditions;
  • Warning invitees of any known dangers; and
  • Fixing any discovered hazards.

Many personal injury law firms claim that there are no industry standards related to Legionnaires’ disease.  Those law firms are using outdated information and are spreading false information.  There are federal guidelines for how hotels should inspect for prevent outbreaks of legionella bacteria.  These guidelines are detailed in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.  These guidelines establish minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.  Pursuant to the nationally recognized standards, the Sheraton was responsible for taking the following steps to protect its guests:

  1. Characterize the risk associated with legionella for the building, including identifying and documenting how water is processed and used in the building;
  2. Perform systematic hazard analysis to identify potential hazards identified in the risk assessment;
  3. For each “significant” hazard, establish a protocol for managing the hazard, including steps to take if the hazard becomes dangerous;
  4. Provide documentation and take affirmative steps to confirm that the hazard protocol is followed by all applicable employees.

If the Sheraton failed to failure to follow each of these steps, they may be liable for all injuries and damages caused by their negligence.  In many instances, the failure to follow each of these steps can result in a finding of gross negligence warranting punitive damages.

How Much Money Can I Expect to Recover for Contracting Legionnaires’ Disease at the Atlanta Sheraton?

The main public policy purpose for tort law is compensation. Compensatory damages are money damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries caused.  The system is not perfect. Life, lungs, and freedom from pain cannot be restored.  The Sheraton will likely not shut down.  However, compensatory damages can place injured people in the same relative position that he or she was in before the loss by way of monetary compensation.  Compensatory damages are categorized as either general damages or special damages.

 

You Can Recover “General” Damages

General damages are “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish, all of which have no specific, itemized value.  The monetary value of general damage is determined by the jury, and jury verdicts are not consistent.  Jury verdicts and settlements vary widely, even for the exact same injury.  Respiratory failure from Legionnaires’ disease could be worth $100,000 in one courtroom, and $10,000,000 in a different courtroom.  The changes in value are due to the individual plaintiff, the people who show up for jury duty, and the effectiveness of the injured person’s attorney.

 

You Can Recover “Special” Damages

Special damages are “economic” losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or the cost of hiring permanent in-home medical care, all of which have a specific itemized value and can be calculated on a mathematical basis.  Once you obtain and properly authenticate the necessary records to prove that the expenses were incurred, you can recover money for them.  It is important to note that only medical expenses “proximately caused” by the exposure to legionella can be recovered.  If you would like to learn more about how proximate cause is determined, click here.  For simplicity sake, you should know that proximate cause is often highly contested.

 

You Can Recover Punitive Damages in Special Circumstances

Under certain circumstances, victims of Legionnaires’ disease may be entitled to punitive damages.  Most states have the same rules for when punitive damages are appropriate.  In Georgia, the rule is as follows:

[T]he plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care that would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant is liable for punitive damages by a higher standard than that for proof of other damages; that is, by clear and convincing evidence.

The rules for punitive damages can be broken into two parts.  First, there must be a showing that the doctor acted willfully or indifferent to the consequences.  For example, if the Sheraton had actual knowledge that the amount of legionella bacteria in one of its water supplies was dangerously high and failed to act, the hotel would be liable for punitive damages.  Similarly, if the hotel knowingly hired a janitorial staff with a history of failing to comply with water management protocols, the hotel has demonstrated a conscious indifference and would be liable for punitive damages.  Second, there is a higher burden of proof for punitive damages.  Generally, civil cases must be proved by a “more likely than not” standard.  However, punitive damages must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

Punitive damages are a complex area of law and the straightforward definition above is only half the story.  Just know that punitive damages requires very specific facts and is rarely awarded in premises liability cases.

 

The Victim’s Spouse Can Also Recover Monetary Damages

Legionnaires’ disease does not just upend the life of the victim.  The victim’s spouse is also impacted.  In Georgia, a married person has a right to recover for damage to the marital relationship.  This is called loss of “consortium.”  A loss of consortium in includes loss of the society, companionship, affection, and all matters of value arising from marriage, including contributions to the upkeep of the home. There does not have to be any direct evidence of these losses, but jurors generally take into consideration the nature of the services and all the circumstances of the case.

 

If the Legionnaires’ Disease Results in a Death, Special Rules Apply

If the exposure to legionella bacteria resulted in a death, the case turns into a wrongful death claim, instead of a personal injury claim.  There are special rules and procedures that must be followed.  Call us immediately at 404-888-4444.

 

The Wetherington Law Firm Has Recovered Millions for Victims of Negligent Property Owners

Our attorneys are highly skilled in premises liability laws.  In many cases, settlement is not possible until a judge rules that the proper defendants have been named, the claims asserted are valid, and there is enough evidence to proceed forward to a jury trial.  By that point, it is too late to fix problems in the case.  It is important that you start with an attorney that has the experience and resources necessary to put your case in the best settlement position possible.  If the case cannot settle, you need an attorney that will not settle your case for a low amount because he or she is unprepared or afraid of trial.  Our attorneys have literally spent months in the court room presenting personal injury cases and obtaining record breaking verdicts.  We also have attorneys that have spent years working for defense firms and know the traps that are set by corporations and their insurance companies.

How to Hire the Best Legionnaires’ Disease Lawyers in Atlanta

Hiring an attorney is one of the most important financial decisions you can ever make.  There are a number of attorneys who hold themselves out as “experts” who have never tried a case or even settled a case involving serious injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence.  It is important that you ask any prospective attorney about his or her experience with premises liability lawsuits, specifically with regard to water protocols.  The Wetherington Law Firm has teamed up with Stewart Trial Attorneys to handle claims against the Sheraton and associated contractors.

Complete our Sheraton Legionnaires’ disease intake form here.  If we accept your case, it will be on contingency.  That means that you do not pay anything up front and only pay us if we win your case.  If we do not accept your case, we will help you find a lawyer who can.

You Can Make a Lasting Difference in the Lives of Others by Hiring the Wetherington Law Firm

Obtaining full and complete compensation for our clients is the most important service we provide to our clients.  Protecting the general public and making sure that other people are protected is part of obtaining justice.  We frequently work with law enforcement, local government officials, state legislators, and federal agencies to understand the root cause of dangerous conditions.  This often leads to uncovering dangerous trends or patterns of behavior that must be changed.  Many of our clients have chosen not to be defined by their injuries, and instead choose to serve as a beacon of hope to others.  Whether through legislation, refusing to settle unless changes or made, or simply sharing their story, our client’s efforts have helped save MILLIONS of people from serious injury or death.  If you can help prevent even one other person from being hurt or injured by the same problem, it will help make every day of your recovery a little bit better.  We care about you as a person and will work with you however you want to help make the world a safer and better place.  Call us now to get started.

Did you stay at the Atlanta Sheraton between late June 2019 thru July 15, 2019?

You may be entitled to compensation. Use the form below to get in touch with us now.

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Why Hire Us?

Reputation matters. Our firm only pursues high value, meritorious lawsuits. The insurance companies may not like us, but they respect the work we do and results we obtain for our clients. When a case moves into litigation, the defense attorneys know that we have properly investigated the claims, know the applicable law, and are preparing the case for trial.

There is no risk when hiring our firm.

We do not charge attorney fees for obtaining property damage or medical payment coverage for our clients. Other firms charge for this service.

We have saved our clients millions simply by negotiating medical bills and fighting invalid medical liens.

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