Botulism Lawsuit

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Foodborne illnesses can also have serious consequences. Businesses that ignore food safety practices, such as storing products at appropriate temperatures, put their customers at risk of contracting a form of food poisoning known as botulism. If you became ill after eating a contaminated food product and want to file a botulism lawsuit, Keep Food Safe can connect you with an experienced attorney.

Getting a meal from a restaurant or buying ingredients from a store is something you probably don’t expect to make you sick. However, when businesses don’t follow food safety practices, you’re at risk of contracting a foodborne illness. If a company fails to process, distribute, or store food correctly, the products might cause botulism, a dangerous and sometimes deadly illness. 

When a person becomes ill after eating contaminated food, they have the option to file a botulism lawsuit. A skilled botulism lawyer can help you seek compensation for the effects on your physical and mental health. The team at Keep Food Safe connects botulism victims and their families with legal representation so they can fight for justice. 

Can You Sue for Botulism?

Every state has its own liability and negligence laws for food poisoning. However, you can generally sue for botulism under two conditions. First, you must have received a botulism diagnosis. Second, you must have evidence that a particular food product caused your illness. 

Keep in mind that botulism is often the result of eating home-canned food. If you became sick because of food that you prepared from scratch in your own home, securing compensation through a lawsuit may not be viable. An attorney can help you determine your legal rights and options.

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What Is Botulism?

Botulism is a type of illness that develops from Clostridium botulinum bacteria. It’s especially dangerous because it attacks the body’s nervous system and can cause respiratory failure. 

How Do You Get Botulism?

Most people contract botulism through improperly processed food. It’s different from many other types of foodborne bacteria because it doesn’t need oxygen to grow, which makes it particularly prevalent in canned goods. Because the bacteria that cause botulism are naturally present in soil, it’s also possible to contract the disease through an open wound. 

How Does It Make People Sick?

When you eat food contaminated with bacteria, the spores travel to your intestines and begin to grow. They release toxins that spread throughout your body and begin attacking your nerves. Botulism is most commonly associated with certain types of canned or bottled foods, including cheese sauces, tomatoes, carrot juice, and garlic. 

Most people begin showing signs of botulism infection within a few hours or days. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common botulism symptoms include: 

In severe cases, these symptoms can be life-threatening. Patients might even experience full muscle paralysis, making it impossible for them to breathe or move independently. 

At-Risk Groups for Botulism Poisoning

Although anyone can suffer from botulism, some individuals are more susceptible than others. People with gastrointestinal disorders or weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer serious effects from foodborne botulism, while intravenous drug users have greater risk exposure through sources other than food. 

Infants are at the highest risk of contracting botulism. In 2019, more than 70 percent of the botulism cases reported to the CDC were in infants. They can breathe in the bacteria in dust, or they might ingest it through honey or corn syrup.  

Notable Botulism Outbreaks

Botulism is relatively rare, but there are sometimes outbreaks where people get sick because of exposure to the same source. Such a case occurred in 2007 when ten people across several states contracted botulism after eating canned hot dog chili sauce. 

Similarly, ten people in California were hospitalized with botulism in 2017 after consuming nacho cheese from a gas station market. Of those patients, several required ventilators. One person died.

Who Is Liable in a Botulism Lawsuit?

You can sue anyone who was involved in processing, selling, preparing, or cooking food that spread botulism. The most common defendants in these types of lawsuits include:

Modern food safety regulations have helped limit the number of botulism cases, but food producers, distributors, and vendors who fail to meet minimum standards can inadvertently expose their customers to botulism. Cases connected to commercial food products usually involve unsafe practices, such as not sterilizing equipment and implementing poor refrigeration techniques. 

How Much Is a Botulism Lawsuit Worth?

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The amount of compensation you can receive through a botulism lawsuit depends on the circumstances of your case. Specifically, you’ll need to consider what kinds of treatments you received, how severe your illness was, and how it might affect your life moving forward. You may be entitled to compensation for things like: 

Botulism can have a serious impact on your health, so the damages in these cases are sometimes substantial. For example, in 2001, more than a dozen people became sick after eating canned chili at a church concert in Texas. The store that sold the product offered six of the victims a $2.85 million settlement

Remember that your compensation might also depend on the defendant. If the company goes bankrupt, you might not have the chance to get the full and fair compensation you deserve.

What Do You Need To Prove To Win a Botulism Lawsuit?

The key to a successful botulism lawsuit is proving that food was contaminated, that you consumed it, and that you became ill as a result. Proving this kind of claim can be difficult, particularly if you don’t know anyone else who became ill. 

Have your physician notify the state health department about your diagnosis. This allows them to track any related cases and identify the source of the bacteria. Claims with multiple infected people are often much easier to prove. 

Even if you’re not aware of any cases aside from your own, there may be evidence in corporate and health department documents. Your botulism lawyer will conduct an investigation and review this evidence to prove the link between your illness and the food. They’ll also gather information to determine when the food became contaminated and who was responsible. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Botulism Lawsuit?

In many states, botulism lawsuits are brought as negligence, product liability, or breach of warranty claims. These case types are each governed by a statute of limitations, but the exact filing deadline differs based on where you live, how old you were when you became sick, and the specifics of your claim. 

The best approach is typically to contact a botulism lawyer as soon as possible after you receive your diagnosis. Your attorney can’t get access to corporate and health department documents until you file a lawsuit, so they’ll need your authorization to start their investigation.

Filing a Botulism Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have experience in the legal system. However, if you become sick due to another party’s carelessness or recklessness, you can hold them accountable. 

Why File?

You don’t have to bear the consequences of someone else’s mistakes. Organizations that sell food for profit have a responsibility to use best practices that protect the health and safety of their customers. When they fail to meet their obligations, the financial, emotional, and physical health of consumers may suffer. By filing a lawsuit, you can receive compensation that alleviates the strain of your medical bills and lost wages. 

A botulism lawsuit is also beneficial to the community. When you put a spotlight on a company that does not adhere to minimum food safety standards, it pushes that company to improve its processes and makes it less likely that other people will become ill.

If a major outbreak occurs, media outlets might also want to speak to the victims. You can become a food safety advocate by openly discussing your experience and why you’ve decided to file a claim. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

A legal professional can make the complicated process of securing compensation through a botulism lawsuit more manageable. Your lawyer will collect evidence, speak to medical professionals about your diagnosis, negotiate with insurers, and make sure your lawsuit is filed on time. 

They’ll also determine the amount of compensation available to you and serve as your closest ally throughout the life of your case. If you or someone you love became sick because of contaminated food, contact Keep Food Safe for help filing a Botulism lawsuit.

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