According to the CDC, more than 48 million Americans contract some form of food poisoning each year, or approximately 1 in 6 people. While the majority of these cases do not require medical attention, more than 128,000 people will be hospitalized as a result of their food poisoning. At Wagner Reese, we have well over a century of collective experience with complex personal injury cases, and we know how to hold negligent food handlers accountable for their carelessness. Our compassionate team will be completely committed to your case, and help you understand all the options.
Get the compensation you need after a serious food poisoning event. Contact our Indianapolis foodborne illness lawyers at (888) 204-8440 for a free consultation.
Most Common Foodborne Pathogens
There are hundreds of different foodborne illnesses, all caused by different types of food contamination. From bacteria to viruses to mold, deadly pathogens can easily be introduced into the food preparation process if a handler isn’t vigilant. Although the duration and deadliness of food poisoning varies widely, the symptoms of foodborne illnesses are relatively consistent: Vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea are nearly always the telltale signs.
These bacterial pathogens cause the most foodborne illnesses in the United States:
- Salmonella. This incredibly common bacterium is found in contaminated poultry products, dairy, fruits, or vegetables. It can be killed by the cooking and pasteurization process.
- E. coli. The major category of bacteria we call E. coli is perhaps the best known foodborne pathogen, and it often develops when food is contaminated with human feces.
- Clostridium perfringens. Part of the family Clostridium, this strain is found in raw meat and poultry, and causes serious infections when food is kept at room temperature for a long time.
- Campylobacter. Campylobacter is another bacterium that can be found in raw or undercooked poultry and other meats, as it is found in animal intestines.
- Listeria Monocytogenes. Poorly-processed deli meats, soft cheeses, or unpasteurized milk can contain listeria and cause Listeriosis, a potentially life-threatening condition.
How Can Food Poisoning Harm Me?
Food poisoning can result in far more than a simple stomachache. Although some milder cases of food poisoning might come and go, more severe cases can result in severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
Severe food poisoning symptoms include:
- Bloody stool
- High fever
- Persistent diarrhea
- Prolonged dizziness
- Unrelenting vomiting
If you experience any of the above-listed symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Most foodborne illnesses only last a few hours or a couple of days, but more serious cases can last several days or weeks. When you experience persistent vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are unable to keep fluids down, you can become dehydrated, which can further compromise your health.
Can Food Poisoning Cause Lasting Damage?
Depending on the cause of your foodborne illness, you can certainly experience lasting or permanent damage. Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) illnesses, Norovirus, or Clostridium perfringens are common, hasty forms of food poisoning that usually only lasts for a few hours or up to two days.
Although rare, permanent damage from food poisoning may include:
- Brain damage
- Chronic arthritis
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
- Kidney failure
- Nerve damage
In extremely severe cases, food poisoning can also be fatal. Moreover, if you already have a preexisting health condition, or if you are pregnant, foodborne illnesses can further complicate your medical condition. In pregnant women, for example, salmonella, listeria, or E. coli food-related illnesses can be very serious and may compromise the health of the unborn baby.
Who Is Liable for Foodborne Illnesses?
As with any personal injury claim, filing your foodborne illness claim begins with identifying the liable party. In other words, once you know who caused your illness, you’ll be able to file a lawsuit against them. Several different parties could be liable for your illness, depending on where you received the food, who prepared it, how it was transported, and who packaged and distributed it.
Any businesses that come in contact with your food have some type of responsibility to uphold proper health and safety standards when preparing, packaging, storing or preparing it. If any of those businesses is negligent, they could be liable for your illness.
Liable parties may include:
- Food transportation companies
- Food packaging companies
- Food product manufactures
Who is Most At-Risk of Food Poisoning?
Although anyone can suffer the effects of food poisoning, there are some parties who are more susceptible than others.Those most susceptible to foodborne illnesses include:
- Babies and children: Young children don’t have as many immunities as adults, so they are more susceptible to the severe side-effects of foodborne illnesses.
- Elderly individuals: Adults over the age of 65 may be slower to fight off infections and bacteria, which means illnesses can be more challenging to overcome.
- Individuals with chronic illnesses: Individuals with chronic health problems might be less capable of fighting off illnesses, and their weakened immune systems may make them more susceptible to severe ailments.
- Pregnant women: A woman’s body changes during pregnancy, and some of those changes make it easier for foodborne illnesses to take hold. Changes in metabolism and circulation may make an expectant mother more prone to serious foodborne illnesses, and in some cases, her unborn baby may fall ill too.
Proving a Foodborne Illness Was Caused by Negligence
Because foodborne illnesses are so common, proving that a specific food handler, restaurant, or food manufacturer directly caused your injuries can be an uphill battle. To be successful with a food poisoning case, your attorney will need to have a solid understanding of the science behind foodborne illnesses, and be able to clearly demonstrate where negligence occurred.
At Wagner Reese, our lawyers have been recognized time and again for taking on difficult injury cases. From Indiana Trial Lawyer of the Year to the Indiana Super Lawyers, we have gained a reputation for fearless courtroom advocacy and effective negotiating tactics. You can rest assured that our team will dig deep to find scientific evidence supporting your claim, and fight on your behalf when another person was indeed responsible for your illness.
Contact us at (888) 204-8440 or request your free case evaluation online.