North Carolina residents may have read media reports about a recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at an Atlanta hotel. The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported that one person has died as a result of the outbreak and a further 63 probable cases have been identified. A 67-year-old man who says that he contracted the disease while photographing a conference between June 27 and July 1 has filed a lawsuit against the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. His attorney says that his client became sick because the hotel failed to adequately monitor and maintain its freshwater system.
Legionnaire’s Disease is a serious lung infection caused by a kind of bacteria that is found in freshwater like streams and lakes. The bacteria becomes dangerous when it finds its way into building water systems where it can grow and spread. Symptoms of the disease, which can be fatal if left untreated, include shortness of breath, coughing, fever and chills.
The man’s lawsuit alleges that gross negligence is the only explanation for the outbreak. His attorney has urged the hotel to take a proactive approach to avoid a flood of similar lawsuits and a possible class action. The man is seeking a jury trial and damages to cover his medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. A hotel representative declined to comment on the litigation, but he did offer his deepest sympathies to all those affected.
Cases such as this one often hinge on the testimony of expert witnesses. Experienced personal injury attorneys pursuing lawsuits involving the possible cause of disease outbreaks may consult with pathologists to better understand the medical facts and determine how they can be relayed to a jury understandably and succinctly. Attorneys might also speak with specialists to learn about the treatment their client will need to ensure that the damages sought will be adequate compensation for their long-term health care costs.