Hepatitis A Lawsuit

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Hepatitis A is a largely preventable illness spread through contaminated food and beverages, usually by infected workers at restaurants and catered events. Hepatitis A symptoms can last for months and trigger medical bills, lost time from work, and pain and suffering. You can take action against the company or person who failed to ensure your food was safe by filing a Hepatitis A lawsuit. Contact Keep Food Safe today to learn more about your options.

Hepatitis A is a virus often transmitted through contaminated food or beverages. In serious cases of infection, people experience liver failure, which can be fatal. If you have contracted Hepatitis A from food, you can take legal action against the responsible party. Each state has different laws that may apply to a Hepatitis A lawsuit, but an experienced attorney can explain your options and help you seek compensation.

Can You Sue for Hepatitis A Food Poisoning?

If you contracted Hepatitis A from contaminated food, you may be eligible to seek compensation through a lawsuit. There are three types of legal action upon which your Hepatitis A lawsuit might be based on the following theories:

Every state has slightly different laws governing each claim type. Among those laws are the statutes of limitations, which set the deadlines for filing suit. For example, in New York, you have three years from the injury date to file a negligence claim for a personal injury. But in Florida, you have two years to file the same type of claim. An experienced attorney can examine the facts of your case and explain how the relevant rules apply to your claim. 

What Is Hepatitis A and How Do You Get It?

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. Five viruses cause this condition, but Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common. Hepatitis A is usually contracted by ingesting contaminated food or beverages and causes a short-term liver infection. Most people with Hepatitis A recover within a few months and do not suffer long-term liver damage. However, some people, especially older individuals or those with other medical conditions, can experience chronic, or even fatal, liver issues. 

Hepatitis B usually spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. It can be a short-term illness. However, about 15 percent of people who develop a chronic Hepatitis B infection in adulthood die of cirrhosis, which is liver scarring, or liver cancer. 

Hepatitis C often spreads through blood transfusions or sexual contact. It causes a chronic infection in about half of those contracting the illness. Five to 25 percent of those with a chronic Hepatitis C infection develop cirrhosis.

Hepatitis A can be spread through person-to-person contact or by consuming contaminated food or drink. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some of the most common food sources of Hepatitis A contamination are the following:

Improper food handling practices by factories, restaurants, and food service workers are often the root causes of Hepatitis A infections and outbreaks.  

How Does Hepatitis A Make You Sick?

Hepatitis A is highly infectious, and an infected person can spread the virus before they develop symptoms, which usually start between 15 and 50 days after ingesting contaminated food or drink. 

If you contract Hepatitis A, your body will likely develop antibodies to the infection that should prevent you from getting Hepatitis A more than once. Antibodies develop quickly and can be detected in a blood test as early as two weeks after infection

Even though Hepatitis A is highly infectious, several safe food-handling practices can prevent the virus from spreading. When food processing plants, factories, restaurants, and other locations that prepare and store food fail to follow these practices, they can spread Hepatitis A. Food service workers are common sources of Hepatitis A contamination, particularly at the final stage of preparation and serving.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

People with Hepatitis A symptoms typically experience them for two to seven weeks. However, some people can be sick for six months or longer. Symptoms include the following:

In the most serious cases, Hepatitis A can cause acute liver failure.

Increased Risk of a Hepatitis A Infection

While anyone exposed to Hepatitis A can contract the virus, some communities and groups face a heightened risk of contracting it, including: 

You’re more at risk for acute liver failure from Hepatitis A if you are:

Hepatitis A Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helps states handle Hepatitis A outbreaks. As of December 1, 2023, 37 states have reported a total of 44,937 cases that resulted in 27,461 hospitalizations and 424 deaths.

The CDC lists several examples of recent Hepatitis A outbreaks connected to contaminated food:

How Does Negligence Cause Hepatitis A To Spread?

The CDC notes that common vectors of foodborne Hepatitis A contamination include raw produce, uncooked foods, cooked foods not reheated after contact with an infected food handler, and shellfish from contaminated waters.

Food service companies have a legal duty to ensure food is safe before selling or serving it to customers. Food service organizations, including restaurants, catering companies, grocery stores, and food processing plants, can face a lawsuit for failing to meet their responsibilities. Food providers can breach their duty by not:

There are several measures companies can take to ensure food does not become contaminated by Hepatitis A:

How Much Is a Hepatitis A Lawsuit Worth?

A lawsuit allows you to recover compensation for losses and expenses caused by another party’s wrongdoing. How much compensation you are eligible to seek will depend on the unique circumstances of your case, including the severity of your condition and the amount of your medical costs and lost wages. Compensation is available for three categories of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. 

Economic damages are monetary losses with a specific dollar amount, including medical bills and lost wages. Documents such as invoices, bills, and pay stubs can be used to prove these losses. 

Non-economic damages compensate you for less tangible impacts on your life, such as pain and suffering.  

Although rare, courts can also award punitive damages, monetary awards meant to punish wrongdoers for egregious conduct and deter future misconduct. 

Because the amount of compensation you receive is directly related to your losses, someone who gets seriously ill from Hepatitis A is more likely to get higher compensation. If your life permanently changes because of Hepatitis A—for example,  if you experience liver failure—you may be able to seek compensation for the loss of future opportunities and other damages. 

If other people also contracted Hepatitis A from the same source as you and experienced losses, you might join together in a class action lawsuit. However, it is always possible for you to file an independent lawsuit with your own lawyer, even if you are one of many victims affected by an outbreak or contamination. You might want to file suit on your own if the harm you experienced differed from what others experienced or if you endured a particularly bad illness. 

If the defendant, such as a food service company, caterer, or restaurant, goes out of business, you may still be able to pursue a claim against them. However, it may be harder to recover compensation because the claims of earlier creditors and plaintiffs may have priority over your claim. A lawyer can discuss your legal options and your best recourse for recovery. 

How To Win a Hepatitis A Lawsuit

To win a Hepatitis A lawsuit, you must show that the defendant was responsible for your infection, that the infection harmed you, and that you suffered damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect Hepatitis A exposure or experience symptoms. This ensures you get the needed treatment and will create the paper trail necessary for proving your claim. The doctor who treats you also should report the Hepatitis A infection to your local health department or the CDC. The details should include:

Internal evidence from the company and the health department can also help you build a strong claim by showing, for example, if the company has unsafe food practices. This information is usually only accessible when requested as part of a legal action, and even legal professionals typically cannot get corporate documents until a lawsuit is filed. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Hepatitis A Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for a Hepatitis A lawsuit depends on the state where you file your case. It also depends on the specific facts of your case. For example, in California, the time limit to bring a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury. However, if you don’t discover the injury immediately, it’s two years from when you discovered or reasonably should have discovered it. Meanwhile, in New York, you have three years from the injury date to file a  personal injury claim for negligence. 

If you miss the statute of limitations deadline, you can lose your right to seek compensation despite the strength of your claim. Working with a lawyer who knows the applicable laws and deadlines will protect your right to seek compensation. 

Should I Hire a Hepatitis A Lawyer?

Food service companies are responsible for ensuring food is safe, and legal action helps keep them accountable. By pursuing your claim, you may be helping the general public because media organizations often report on these types of lawsuits. You could be the one who stands up for other people who were hurt. By working with a lawyer, you can also discover what happened since the details are not always revealed without a lawsuit. 

Do not delay in speaking with a lawyer about possible legal action. You should not have to bear the burden of your losses when someone else is responsible. Because the at-fault party might go bankrupt, swift legal action gives you a better chance of financial recovery. It also ensures you don’t miss your state’s filing deadline, which could jeopardize your right to recovery. 

Contact Keep Food Safe today to find an experienced lawyer to help you. 

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