How a Food Poisoning Attorney Can Help
Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (Post-infectious IBS or PI-IBS) is a relatively common complication that can occur after a bout of food poisoning from Salmonella, Cyclospora, E. coli, or other pathogens.
If you suffer from conditions associated with food poisoning, contact OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers at (888) 828-7087. We will evaluate your case and help you decide what to do next.
You might be wondering: If I am still sick from food poisoning, can I get compensated for my ongoing issues? The team at OFT Food Safety Lawyers has represented many individuals whose lives have been impacted long-term by post infectious IBS. If we can prove that your post infectious IBS is related to outbreak-associated food poisoning, we can claim compensation for medical treatment and pain and suffering.
There are three primary considerations related to making a legal claim for post-infectious IBS:
Individuals suffering from prolonged digestive changes must get the medical care they need. Though we are lawyers and not doctors, our clients feeling better is our top priority. Additionally, medical records reflecting continued gastrointestinal symptoms can help our lawyers demonstrate the connection between an acute illness and longer-term impairment.
OFT Food Safety Lawyers regularly work with medical doctors and experts. Doctors can provide critical opinion testimony to help irritable bowel syndrome lawyers prove that ongoing GI issues are related to an outbreak. These opinions are often from expert narratives or reports, which can explain to defense lawyers, insurance companies, and juries how an acute illness can cause months or even years of gastrointestinal discomfort.
You must consider your long-term health before resolving a legal claim. Once a case is settled and a release is signed, you cannot go back to the well and ask for more money—so you must know what the future might hold before resolving a case.
When we can prove that a client’s IBS is related to their outbreak illness, we can often claim future damages, meaning compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering that are likely to occur later. In addition to gastroenterologists, the OFT team has worked with life care planners to help calculate the cost of future medical care.
You can get compensation for all your damages, economic or non-economic.
Economic damages are those that are directly related to monetary loss. All out-of-pocket costs are considered economic damages, such as past and future medical expenses and lost wages.
Non-economic damages are not as easily calculated. They are not connected to money you have lost, but they still have value. Some examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering and disability.
The at-fault party is generally negligent because they failed to exercise reasonable care in harvesting, transporting, preparing, or serving food. Within the food-service industry, “reasonable care” means that the party has a duty to maintain a safe environment for the consumer.
Some examples of parties who may be liable for IBS may include:
Multiple parties—even everyone within the food distribution chain—may be held liable in an IBS case. Corporate liability often results in one or more insurance claims, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the stomach and intestines (the gastrointestinal tract). The disorder results in significant stomach and bowel upset and other symptoms.
Post-infectious IBS is the same disorder that occurs after acute infectious gastroenteritis. The term “acute infectious gastroenteritis” would include most types of food poisoning. Bacterial illnesses are more likely to cause post-infectious IBS than viral illnesses. The incidence of post-infectious IBS following outbreaks of enteric disease is thought to range from 4% to 32% of those sickened. Research has demonstrated that protozoan parasites (like Cyclospora) likely also cause post-infectious IBS.
Typically, IBS causes either constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of the two. In many situations, people feel a sensation of incomplete bowel movement and increased gas as well. Post-infectious IBS symptoms typically begin “immediately after resolution of acute infectious gastroenteritis.”
Symptoms of post-infectious IBS include:
According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, PI-IBS is potentially caused by “a delay in turning off the normal inflammatory response after an initial infection,” causing subtle inflammatory changes that are “not routinely detectable.” “Changes in nerves lining the gut may also be an important factor,” causing injury to “the nerves responsible for gut motility and sensation,” potentially resulting in altered bowel movements and awareness of GI pain.
Though similar in some respects, post-infectious IBS has been distinguished by doctors from other “functional” GI disorders like post-infectious gastroparesis or functional dyspepsia.
Some common actions within the food industry that cause PI-IBS include:
A PI-IBS outbreak can be difficult to trace. However, when multiple people become ill and seek medical attention, doctors often report those situations. State and local health departments may conduct food safety investigations by interviewing the people who became sick and determine if there are similarities in their recent food history that may account for their IBS.
For example, if 25 people report to an emergency room with PI-IBS over two weeks, the emergency room may report that increased incidence to the health department. The health department may discover that the people ate at the same restaurant and became ill with food poisoning afterward. From there, the health department may investigate the food distribution chain further to determine precisely how the outbreak occurred. They may look to see if someone violated food safety regulations or other environmental health standards within the industry.
Suppose the health department does not investigate or discover what caused the outbreak of IBS. Your lawyer can conduct a similar investigation to determine this information.
An irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) lawyer offers legal representation to people who have developed PI-IBS due to food poisoning or other preventable causes. Your IBS attorney may help you by:
Your IBS lawyer will play a critical role in your case, allowing you to focus on healing while they handle stressful legal issues.
OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers is a product liability, personal injury, and consumer protection law firm that helps clients who have been victims of food poisoning and PI-IBS. We handle class action lawsuits, legal actions, and claims based on food recalls due to food contamination. Our legal team prides itself on aggressive client advocacy while representing consumer rights and working to obtain fair compensation.
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