E. Coli Lawsuit

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When you purchase and consume food, you have the right to safe products free from dangerous bacteria. E. coli infections can cause severe medical complications, resulting in catastrophic personal and financial consequences. If you’ve been exposed to E. coli and become sick, you may be able to recover damages through an E. coli lawsuit. Keep Food Safe can help you explore your legal options.

Getting sick from a food-borne bacterium such as E. coli is a serious matter that’s entirely preventable. E. coli exposure can cause costly medical bills, and some people have even died from related infections. 

If you or a loved one was exposed to this food hazard and became sick, you may be eligible to recover compensation through an E. coli lawsuit. Contact Keep Food Safe today for legal assistance.  

Can You Sue for E. Coli?

Food manufacturers, distributors, preparers, and retailers are legally required to follow certain safety rules to protect the public. If someone ignores or skirts those rules and you contract E. coli through contaminated food, you may have grounds for an E. coli lawsuit. 

Food poisoning cases are often complex to pursue and prove. Each state has different liability and negligence laws. Generally, you have to identify the contamination source and prove your damages. For these reasons alone, you need an attorney with significant experience handling food safety and contamination cases. 

Notable E. Coli Outbreaks

E. coli outbreaks happen frequently enough to be a concern. According to CDC data, here is a list of some recent and notable E. coli outbreaks in the U.S.:

What Is E. Coli?

E. coli is short for Escherichia coli, a group of bacteria naturally found in the environment and human and animal intestines. The majority of E. coli strains are harmless. But the ones that aren’t can be dangerous to humans or animals when infected through exposure.

How Do You Get E. Coli?

E. coli—or specifically, the bacteria’s Shiga toxin-producing strains—live in animal intestines. Most people get E. coli infections by eating contaminated foods, especially undercooked ground meats and vegetables.

How Does It Make People Sick?

E. coli infections can impact anyone, from infants to the elderly. However, age and physical condition can affect whether an infection requires hospitalization or becomes life-threatening.  The common signs of an E. coli infection include:

Most people show symptoms within three to four days of exposure, but the incubation period can fall between one to 10 days. Often, symptoms will usually improve within seven days. There is no medical treatment for E. Coli, so if you do get sick, it is best to follow an E. Coli recovery diet and avoid certain fodos until your symptoms improve.

Foods Where E. Coli Can Be Found

You can get exposed to E. Coli from various contaminated water and food sources. The following are most commonly tainted with the bacteria:

How Is E. Coli Caused and Spread?

E. coli contamination is preventable. It typically results from unsafe or lax food processing and handling practices. The ways an E. coli contamination develops and spreads include the following:

Any improper practices by farms, factories, grocery stores, restaurants, or other businesses that handle food products can cause and spread E. coli. 

E. Coli Strains

E. coli are rod-shaped bacteria named after Dr. Theodor Escherich, the scientist who first discovered them in 1885. There are many naturally occurring strains, some of which are dangerous and even deadly to humans. Other strains of the bacteria have been created in a lab.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, six strains of E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can be transmitted through contaminated food or water and cause illness, including diarrhea. These strains are:

Who Is Liable in an E. Coli Lawsuit?

Various parties can be held responsible for E. Coli exposure that causes illnesses. Any business that processes, distributes, or sells contaminated food could be held liable. Examples include the following:

Producers, distributors, and sellers are not supposed to distribute food products contaminated with pathogenic strains of E. coli. They must follow proper food safety guidelines to ensure their products are safe for human consumption. 

How Much Is an E. Coli Lawsuit Worth?

If another party’s negligence caused your E. coli infection, you should not have to pay for it. When your E. Coli lawyer discovers the responsible parties, you can file a lawsuit to recover several types of damages:

Economic Damages

These compensate for quantifiable losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and any lost earning capacity. 

Non-Economic Damages

These compensate for intangible, harder-to-measure effects on your life, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. 

When a person becomes seriously ill from an E. coli infection, the settlements and verdicts can be substantial, sometimes in the millions of dollars. Recently, a California agricultural board settled an E. coli lawsuit brought by several families for $4 million

In another recent case, two Sizzler restaurants in Wisconsin were responsible for 64 cases of E. coli infection, dozens of hospitalizations, and one death. One family settled with the company’s meat supplier for $13.5 million

A large settlement is never a guarantee after an E. coli infection. The company responsible might file for bankruptcy, or other victims might file lawsuits before yours. But a skilled E. coli attorney will give you the best chance at obtaining maximum compensation and achieving justice.

Proving Negligence in an E. Coli Lawsuit

Whether another party is responsible for your E. coli exposure depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the food or beverage contamination. Food item producers, manufacturers, and sellers often can be held strictly liable for distributing contaminated food that causes illness. 

To hold another party liable, you must be able to trace your infection back to a specific farm, grocery store, restaurant, or other business. Local and state health departments or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control perform such tracebacks. 

When you file an E. coli claim, you may need a stool sample to prove and trace the bacteria’s existence. Your E. coli lawyer will have access to vital corporate and health department documents to help establish your case. 

How Long Do You Have to File an E. Coli Lawsuit?

Time limits for filing lawsuits are called the statute of limitations, which may differ depending on your case circumstances and the jurisdiction. For example, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases can vary from state to state. If a loved one died from E. coli contamination, there would be a different statute of limitations for the wrongful death case. 

The important takeaway is that you should always promptly pursue legal action after the incident. Evidence and witnesses can disappear, so acting quickly is vital to strengthen your case. In addition, your attorney won’t likely be able to access corporate and health department documents unless a lawsuit is filed. 

Why File an E. Coli Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one has become seriously ill from E. coli contamination, you have legal options. Businesses that produce, sell, or serve food for consumption have a legal duty to follow certain safety standards. When they breach that duty, causing you to become ill, you may be able to file an E. coli lawsuit against the restaurant, grocery store, or whoever is liable to recover damages. 

If you have medical bills and lost wages, you shouldn’t be responsible for those expenses. In addition to holding the responsible party accountable, legal action can protect others from suffering a fate similar to yours. If there is a major E. coli outbreak, media outlets may wish to contact the affected parties, allowing you to be a voice for food safety. 

Contact Keep Food Safe for help with filing an E. Coli lawsuit.

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