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How a Food Poisoning Attorney Can Help

Our experienced E. coli lawyers will carefully review your case and analyze whether you have a legal claim.

E. coli - a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, some strains of which can cause severe food poisoning.
E. coli - a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, some strains of which can cause severe food poisoning.

If you or a loved one became ill due to an E. coli infection caused by another party’s actions, get medical care and follow your doctor’s recommendations. When you feel well enough, call a food safety and injury lawyer. You could recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages caused by a negligent party.

Call OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers for a free consultation about potential compensation. Call (888) 828-7087 Today.

Do I Need an Attorney If I Get E. coli Food Poisoning?

Each state has different liability and negligence laws. There are also deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit – the statute of limitations. If you are unclear about your state’s laws for seeking compensation or if you miss the deadline to sue, you could lose your chance to recover compensation.

A food safety and injury lawyer with our firm can help you understand your legal options for seeking compensation and justice. We can pursue money damages if:

  • You were served or sold adulterated or contaminated food
  • You lost a loved one because of a food poisoning related illness

You have a right to expect that your food is safe to eat and will not make you ill. When someone violates that right, an attorney can pursue compensation on your behalf while focusing on feeling better.

Compensation in E. coli Cases

An attorney can pursue the compensation you deserve after being sickened by E. coli or other foodborne illnesses. You may have significant ongoing needs as well. You shouldn’t have to pay for another party’s negligence. An OFT food safety and injury lawyer will identify all liable parties to seek financial accountability for:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost income and employment benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent physical limitations

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks

$275,000

A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant

$525,000

A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia

$700,000

A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash

Liability in E. coli Cases

Whether or not another party is liable for your E. coli infection depends on the specific circumstances that led to the contaminated food or beverage and your exposure. There are situations in which you can hold food producers and sellers responsible for selling or providing you with defective or dangerous foods.

Manufacturers, producers, and sellers of food products are, in many cases, strictly liable for distributing food that is contaminated with illness-causing strains of E. coli. They must ensure that the food they make and sell is not contaminated and that it is not unfit or unreasonable dangerous for people to eat.

Tracing E.coli for Liability & Negligence

To hold someone liable, you must trace your specific infection back to a particular restaurant, grocery store, or other establishments where you received or purchased foods. The bacteria would also need to be traced back to a particular manufacturer, distributor, or farm to hold other parties responsible.

Tracebacks are performed by state and local health departments or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whenever two or more people get the same illness from consuming the same food or beverage.

How to Report Outbreaks to the CDC

If you are diagnosed with E. coli, your doctor or medical facility will report it to the local or state health department.

A CDC investigation can provide you with information regarding why and how you were infected.

How OFT E. coli Lawyers Can Help

The E. coli lawyers at OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers can guide you through a food poisoning claim and help you file a lawsuit, if necessary. We understand the kinds of illnesses that occur from E. coli food poisoning. We will make sure you get all the necessary medical treatment.

Our lawyers focus our practice on food safety and injury. We hold manufacturers, restaurants, grocers, and other food handlers responsible if their actions caused illness. These cases can be tough because large companies will fight back, but we have an extensive track record of obtaining fair compensation for our clients. OFT will compassionately help you navigate the situation while you focus on recovering from your illness.

Make Sure the People Who Caused Your Illness Don’t Put Others in Danger

Seeking compensation and justice for your illness – or a loved one’s illness – also helps protect others. By filing a claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for your illness, you can protect others who might become sick in the future. As a result, the restaurant or other entity may be compelled to change its operations, tighten health and safety rules, and become more transparent to consumers.

What is E. coli?

Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli, is a naturally occurring bacteria. It is found in the environment, food, and both human and animal intestines. E. coli is best known for causing diarrhea but can also cause serious and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. While healthy children and adults usually fully recover, E.coli can also lead to urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses, and other severe complications.

There are various strains of E.coli, including:

  • Shiga toxin-producing E. coli / Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli / enterohemorrhagic E. coli
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli
  • Enteroaggregative E. coli
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli
  • Diffusely adherent E. coli

The strains of E. coli that produce the Shiga toxin cause illnesses. The most common strain to cause illnesses in North America is E. coli O157:H7. When the news reports on E. coli outbreaks, it is often referring to O157.

How Is E. coli Contracted?

E. coli, specifically STEC or another Shiga toxin-producing strain, live in animal intestines. According to the CDC, a significant source of human infections is through cattle, though it can also be found in goats, sheep, deer, elk, pigs, birds, and other animals.

Most people contract E. coli by eating contaminated foods, like unpasteurized milk, apple cider, and soft cheeses. You can also contract E. coli from contaminated beverages, like raw milk or unclean water. It can also occur from contact with cattle or feces.

Who Gets Sick from E. coli?

Contact may be apparent, such as if someone works around cattle or unpasteurized dairy. A child may contract E. coli at a petting zoo. The majority of E.coli cases are less obvious and arise from undercooked meat or contaminated produce.

Anyone can contact E. coli, from young children to the elderly. Everyone is at risk, but your age, physical condition, and medical conditions could make an E. coli infection more severe and possibly life-threatening.

After contacting E. coli, it is essential to learn how you or your loved one were infected. The nature of the exposure can impact who is liable for the harm you have suffered.

Common Symptoms of E. coli

While the symptoms associated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli vary, the most common signs of an E. coli infection are:

  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea/bloody stool
  • Vomiting
  • A slight fever

E. coli, like many bacteria and viruses, has an incubation period. This is a delay in the time between exposure and symptoms. The E. coli incubation period can last between one and 10 days, with an average of three to four days for most people to have symptoms.

E. coli often starts as an upset stomach and non-bloody diarrhea, which will escalate over several days.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and E. coli

Up to 10% of individuals suffering from a STEC infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening condition. HUS develops about seven days after the first E. coli symptoms appear and when the diarrhea is improving. HUS can cause a person’s kidneys to stop working.

If you notice the symptoms of HUS, go immediately to the hospital.

Symptoms of HUS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of pink color in cheeks and lower eyelids

Many people diagnosed with HUS recover within a few weeks with proper treatment. But HUS can cause permanent physical harm and death.

If you had to be hospitalized for E. coli or HUS, this increases your potential for damages. Your illness is no longer just uncomfortable and inconvenient. Hospitalization is expensive, and there are additional medical bills, like laboratory fees, medical tests, and specialists.

How is E. coli Diagnosed?

An official E. coli diagnosis is made through a stool sample. Your physician or the emergency room will send a sample of your feces to a lab to test for the presence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and other infections.

If you suspect you have E. coli, it is imperative to go to the emergency room or a trusted family physician. Doctors can diagnose E. coli based on your symptoms, but this is not conclusive. Only a lab result confirming the presence of a strain of E. coli will prove the cause of your illnesses and allow you to pursue compensation from a liable party.

How is E. coli Treated?

The Mayo Clinic recommends that healthy adults and children with E.coli should:

  • Avoid anti-diarrheal medication because it prevents the body from ridding itself of the toxins as quickly as possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, but avoid fruit juices, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Eat low-fiber foods and avoid dairy products, fatty foods, and overly seasoned foods.

Antibiotics are generally not recommended for E. coli because they increase the risk of complications.

Treatment may differ for individuals with compromised immune systems and those who are diagnosed with HUS. In these situations, hospitalization is important. People with HUS may require IV fluids, blood transfusions, and dialysis.

Past E. coli Outbreaks in the U.S.

If at least two people are infected and become sick from the same contaminated food or beverage, the CDC classifies it as a foodborne disease outbreak.

Some recent E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. include:

UNKNOWN FOOD SOURCE, AUGUST 2020 – OCTOBER 2021, E. COLI O157:H7:

There were 22 reported cases, 11 hospitalizations, and zero deaths. Three of the victims developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

LEAFY GREENS, DECEMBER 2020 – JANUARY 2021, E. COLI O157:H7:

There were 40 reported cases, 20 hospitalizations, and no deaths. Four people developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a serious form of kidney failure.

FRESH EXPRESS SUNFLOWER CRISP CHOPPED SALAD KITS, NOVEMBER 2019, E. COLI O157:H7:

There were 10 reported cases, four hospitalizations, and no deaths. One person developed a serious form of kidney failure and retained OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers to seek compensation.

FLOUR, DECEMBER 2018 – MAY 2019, E. COLI O26:

There were 21 reported cases, three hospitalizations, and zero deaths. This outbreak involved several brands of flour, including Brand Castle, LLC mixes, Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, King Arthur Flour, and ALDI Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour.

GROUND BEEF, APRIL – MAY 2019, E. COLI O103:

There were 209 reported cases, 29 hospitalizations, and zero deaths. Grant Park Pack and K2D Foods d.b.a Colorado Premium Foods were sources of the contaminated beef.

ROMAINE LETTUCE, OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2018, E. COLI O157:H7:

There were 62 reported cases, 25 hospitalizations, and zero deaths. The CDC traced the contamination back to Adam Bros. Farming Inc. in Santa Barbara County, California, and other northern and central California farms.

GROUND BEEF, JULY 2018, E. COLI O26:

There were 18 reported cases, six hospitalizations, and one death. The contaminated meat was traced back to Cargill Meat Solutions in Colorado.

ROMAINE LETTUCE, APRIL – JUNE 2018, E. COLI O157:H7:

There were 201 reported cases, 96 hospitalizations, and five deaths. The CDC traced the contaminated romaine back to the Yuma region.

Relevant E. coli Laws

Many food and beverage regulations are meant to prevent E. coli infections. Health regulations strive to avoid contamination during cultivation, harvest, manufacturing, packaging, transporting, and preparing food and beverages.

Food manufacturers, distributors, grocery stores, and restaurants require specific food safety standards and contamination prevention techniques. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a zero-tolerance policy for six strains of E. coliE. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 – in addition to E. coli O157:H7.

The USDA also implemented a “test and hold” policy in December 2012. This required facilities to hold products until microbiological testing determines the meat, poultry, or egg products are safe.

Businesses that fail to uphold food and health regulations may be liable when customers contract E. coli infections from food or beverages those businesses sold.

Speak to Our E. coli Lawyers Today

You deserve to learn about your rights if another party is responsible for your E. coli illness. Our attorneys focus on food injuries and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients.

The OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers have the skill and resources to handle your E.coli case.

Call (888) 828-7087 today or contact us online for a free consultation. You owe us nothing unless and until we recover compensation on your behalf.

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Sidney J. Kaplan Award

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Up and Coming Attorney

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Attorney of the Year

University of Minnesota Law School

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Order of the Coif

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Dorsey & Whitney

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