Did you contract Legionnaires’ Disease while at a Las Vegas resort? You may be one of hundreds of people who were exposed to the Legionella bacteria in Las Vegas hotels in recent years. Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease are not just a problem in Nevada, however. This bacterial pneumonia attacks thousands of people throughout America every year. For some, the condition is fatal.
If you suffered serious illness from exposure to Legionnaires’ Disease at a Nevada resort or hotel, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Las Vegas Hotel Orleans Under Investigation for Legionella Bacteria
The Southern Nevada Health District is currently investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ Disease that may have originated in December and January at the Orleans in Las Vegas. According to local officials, the hotel is notifying guests who stayed at the resort and may have been exposed to the bacteria as far back as December 16, 2022.
The Health District is not releasing any additional information about the exposed guests or their conditions at this time. However, officials stated that the testing procedures that were performed on the resorts’ water supply revealed the presence of Legionella bacteria.
While the Orleans is taking measures to remedy the contamination to ensure future guests are safe, their actions may be too little, too late. The presence of the bacteria in the hotel’s water supply indicates that additional guests may have been exposed.
What Is Legionnaire’s Disease?
Legionnaires’ Disease is a severe form of bacterial pneumonia that is contracted when people inhale tiny droplets of water that contain the Legionella bacteria. This harmful bacteria can be found in natural water supplies, like rivers, lakes, and streams. It can also be found in man-made water supplies, like hot tubs, hot water tanks, plumbing systems, water faucets, and industrial cooling systems.
Do You Have Symptoms of Legionnaire’s Disease After Staying in a Las Vegas Resort?
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease generally appear within 14 days of exposure. They include shortness of breath, cough, headaches, muscle aches, and high fever. Although the disease can sometimes be treated with antibiotics, the condition can be severe for some people.
People with more severe conditions may develop respiratory failure, acute kidney failure, or septic shock. As a result, they may face weeks in the intensive care unit at the hospital. For those who are most vulnerable, like smokers, people who are over 50, and individuals with lung conditions or cancer, the disease can be deadly.
According to health officials, people who stayed at the Orleans over two weeks ago and have not developed symptoms of the disease are not at risk. If you developed symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease within two weeks of staying at the Orleans or another hotel in Las Vegas, however, you should get medical treatment immediately.
Where Do Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease Happen?
Most outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease happen in structures and buildings with complex water systems. Examples include hotels and resorts, condominium complexes, cruise ships, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks are not uncommon in Las Vegas. Legionella bacteria grow and thrive in warm water. Since it is more difficult to cool water in warmer climates, Las Vegas hotels, resorts, spas, hospitals, and even supermarkets are prime breeding grounds for the bacteria. In fact, the Southern Nevada Health District investigated seven outbreaks in Nevada between 2000 and 2012. Some of the more notable outbreaks in the state include:
- Between 2010 and 2011, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease that was tied to contaminated water systems occurred at the Luxor Hotel.
- In 2011, the bacteria appeared at Las Vegas’s Aria Resort and Casino. Multiple people became ill, and one person died from the disease.
- In 2017, a Legionnaires’ outbreak occurred at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The massive outbreak involved almost 100 victims.
- In 2018, an outbreak at Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino occurred because of a contaminated water system.
Why Do Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks Happen?
Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks usually happen because business owners and property owners fail to properly monitor and maintain their water systems. Hotels, resorts, hospitals, and nursing homes with outdated water systems are at high risk of contamination. The Legionella bacteria can also grow in shower and sink plumbing that is not used frequently.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You Contracted Legionnaires’ Disease While at a Las Vegas Resort?
If you recently stayed at a Las Vegas Hotel or Resort, and you developed symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease, getting medical help immediately can improve your chances of healing from the condition and achieving a successful recovery. In addition to ensuring that you receive the medications and medical attention you need to recover physically, your doctors’ visits and/or hospital stays will help document your condition. This is especially helpful if you decide to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the hotel.
As soon as your health is stable, you should request a free consultation with a premises liability attorney who has experience with Legionnaires’ Disease cases in Las Vegas. During your consult, the Legionnaires’ Disease attorney will ask about your diagnosis and any medical care you have received, when you stayed at the hotel or resort, and whether you know about any other people who got sick.
Once you have retained the injury lawyer, he or she will investigate whether other reports of exposure have been reported by guests who stayed at the same hotel, and whether the Southern Nevada Health District has been notified. Your attorney will review the Health District’s investigation reports, and he or she may hire an independent team of professionals to perform tests and further investigate the source and extent of the bacteria infestation.
If the hotel has a history of Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuits, or it can be demonstrated that the hotel owners or managers knew about the existence of the bacteria and didn’t remedy the danger, allowing guests to be exposed, You may be eligible for punitive damages in addition to compensable losses.
Additionally, according to the Las Vegas Sun, health officials are asking people who stayed at the Orleans or another Las Vegas hotel, and developed symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease, to report their conditions to the Southern Nevada Health District via its website.
Who Can You Sue if You Contracted Legionnaires’ Disease at a Las Vegas Hotel?
If you contracted Legionnaires’ Disease at a Las Vegas hotel, various parties may be able to be held liable for your losses. You may be able to sue the hotel owner for negligence if the company did not adequately monitor or maintain their water system, cooling system, or other sources of the bacteria. Additionally, you might be able to file a lawsuit against a contracting maintenance company or a cleaning company.
What Damages May Be Available in a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit?
One of the most common questions clients with the disease ask is, “how much is a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit worth?” Similar to other types of personal injury claims and lawsuits in Nevada, three types of damages may be available in a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit.
If your illness caused you to obtain medical treatment, miss work, or incur other out-of-pocket losses, you may be able to recoup those expenses by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Referred to as economic damages, your medical costs, lost wages, and other financial losses can be calculated by adding up your medical bills, receipts, and pay statements.
Your non-economic damages are not tied to a set monetary amount. Rather, they are subjective losses and are more difficult to value. Non-economic damages include your emotional suffering, physical pain, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Your injury lawyer will use the total of your economic losses as a basis for calculating the value of your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases in Nevada. They are not unheard of, however. If your Legionnaires’ Disease lawyer can prove that you contracted the illness because of egregious behavior by the defendant, your punitive damage award may be substantial.
Is it Worth it to Hire a Lawyer for Legionnaires’ Exposure?
Nevada premises liability law does not require you to hire an attorney to recover damages after exposure to Legionnaires’ Disease. However, your chances of achieving a successful outcome improve significantly if you have legal representation. Why?
Obtaining evidence and deciphering test results in a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit, and proving liability for your exposure, can be complicated. It often requires working with specialists who have experience with locating the source of your exposure and identifying the Legionella bacteria through proper testing procedures. In many cases, you will need expert witnesses to testify about how the bacteria developed, and how your exposure could have been prevented.
As such, building your injury case will be time-consuming and expensive. An experienced premises liability attorney who has handled Legionnaires’ Disease cases will likely have established connections with the resources you need to win your lawsuit.
How to Find the Right Attorney for Your Legionnaires’ Disease Case
Legionnaires’ Disease lawyer George T. Bochanis has a long track record of winning premises liability lawsuits against Las Vegas hotels and resorts. In fact, George obtained one of the largest settlements in Nevada history in a Legionnaires Disease case after his client contracted Legionnaires’ Disease at a Nevada hotel.