Shigella Lawyer

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Shigella food poisoning may be mild, but some people experience severe, long-lasting symptoms that cost them lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. If you became ill with Shigella due to someone else’s poor food safety practices, contact Keep Food Safe so we can connect you with a lawyer experienced in food poisoning and civil laws in your state and who can advise you on how to seek compensation with a Shigella lawsuit.

Shigella is a bacteria that leads to shigellosis food poisoning through the spread of infected fecal matter. Food and water contaminated with Shigella lead to illnesses in half a million Americans each year. Most cases are mild, but some people experience symptoms lasting for months and may develop long-term health problems.

Shigella outbreaks occur due to restaurants, food suppliers, and others not following food safety precautions. An infected restaurant worker who fails to wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom could be responsible for sickening everyone who eats the food he touches.

If you’ve contracted Shigella and it was someone else’s fault, an experienced attorney can help you file a Shigella lawsuit to pursue damages.

Can You Sue for Shigella Food Poisoning?

You can file a lawsuit if you can prove damages such as medical bills or lost wages due to your Shigella food poisoning. You must be able to identify the source of your Shigella and who was responsible for not making your food safe.

Each state has different food safety and negligence laws governing food poisoning cases. An experienced Shigella lawyer can help you determine the best steps to pursue compensation based on those laws.

How Can a Shigella Lawyer Help?

An experienced Shigella lawyer should know the food poisoning laws in your state. They should also understand your state’s negligence and liability standards and have experience investigating to find liable parties.

A lawyer can also help you gain access to health department records, company emails, and other documentation. This evidence can be helpful in a court case or settlement negotiations.

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If You Have Been Made Sick by Another Company’s Fault!

What is Shigella?

Shigella is a bacterium that causes the foodborne illness shigellosis. There are several types of Shigella, with Shigella sonnei the most common in the United States. There are an estimated 450,000 cases of shigellosis in the U.S. every year, leading to an estimated $93 million in direct medical costs.

In February 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of increased extensively drug-resistant shigellosis. There were no such cases in 2015, but five percent of cases reported to the CDC were drug-resistant strains by 2022. Because these resistant strains can pass antimicrobial genes to other bacteria, the agency considers this rise a potentially serious public health concern.

What Causes Shigella Food Poisoning?

Shigella bacteria is found in fecal matter. It spreads through contaminated food or water or getting it on your hands and touching your mouth. It takes only a small amount of Shigella to make someone sick.

Shigella bacteria are commonly found in raw vegetables, salads, and sandwiches. When people ingest the bacteria, it causes intestinal problems that may be minor or could result in severe symptoms and other illnesses. People and businesses can typically prevent Shigella by following proper food safety practices, like washing hands before handling food.

Symptoms of Shigellosis

It takes fewer than 100 Shigella cells to sicken someone. Spread occurs through things such as touching contaminated surfaces, food workers not washing their hands, swallowing contaminated water, or being exposed to contaminated fecal matter while changing diapers or cleaning up after someone with an infection.

People with infections start showing shigellosis symptoms in about one to two days. These usually last five to seven days, but some people experience them for up to a month. Some people with shigellosis don’t have normal bowel movements for several months. Common symptoms of shigellosis include:

People sickened by Shigella sonnei may also develop reactive arthritis, which causes joint pain, painful urination, and eye irritation. 

At-Risk Groups of Shigella Food Poisoning

Children and adolescents are most susceptible to Shigella, especially in crowded school or daycare settings where they pass bacteria back and forth. Homeless populations also get Shigella infections at statistically higher rates than others. People who are immunocompromised, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy, may have Shigella symptoms longer.

Shigella is a common illness and resembles the flu, so many cases go undiagnosed.

Shigella Outbreaks

Outbreaks happen when two or more people become ill from the same food poisoning source. Authorities cannot always identify the exact source but can track strains through DNA to confirm that all cases intersect.

San Diego County declared a Shigella outbreak in October 2021 after six people were hospitalized with shigellosis. In all, there were at least 53 cases, all among the homeless.

Another Shigella outbreak in Seattle in October 2023 resulted in five cases with one hospitalization. The same restaurant was traced to all food poisoning cases from their sushi, involving four patrons and one employee.

One of the most significant Shigella outbreaks in the U.S. occurred in Oregon in 2019 and involved Shigella flexneri type 3a. It is a strain that appears in only three percent of reported cases in the U.S. Contaminated asparagus consumed at a wedding party was identified as the most likely culprit. The outbreak sickened over half the wedding party, and 10 were hospitalized.

Who is Liable in a Shigella Lawsuit?

Several parties in the food supply chain could be responsible for not maintaining health and safety standards. Parties potentially liable in Shigella lawsuits include:

In cases that trace back to a single source, such as a restaurant, it may be easier to prove that a failure to maintain food safety standards led to your Shigella. However, determining who is responsible is not always so straightforward, and you will likely need an experienced Shigella lawyer to help you sort it out.

How Much is a Shigella Lawsuit Worth?

The amount of compensation you can receive in a Shigella lawsuit depends on the specific circumstances of your case. You can collect economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills, as well as non-economic damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. 

The types of damage you can collect vary by state. Some also have a cap on the amount you can receive. If your state allows it, you may also be able to collect punitive damages, sometimes known as exemplary damages. These are reserved for the most egregious cases and generally involve intentional harm or gross negligence on the defendant’s part.

Perhaps the most significant Shigella settlement went to a family who received $10 million after contracting food poisoning at a restaurant. One of the family members developed a long-term illness, including reactive arthritis.

What Do You Need To Prove in a Shigella Lawsuit?

You will need to provide a stool sample so your doctor can confirm your Shigella infection. Doing so is also necessary to help trace the bacteria to determine its fingerprint. This helps connect it to a specific product or restaurant. Be sure that your doctor reports your infection to your local health department.

Once you file your lawsuit, your attorney can work to gain access to critical evidence, such as company records or correspondence. This evidence can help show whether the defendants took proper food safety precautions. A lawsuit also opens the door for access to health department records. These may reveal that your case is just one of many or that the business has a poor food safety track record.

Statute of Limitations for a Shigella Lawsuit

You may have as little as one year or as many as six years to file, depending on the laws of your state. The deadline is known as the statute of limitations and may also vary based on the kind of claim your attorney chooses to bring. For example, if they choose to file a product liability claim instead of a more commonplace personal injury claim, the filing deadline may not be the same. 

Remember, if you miss the correct filing deadline, your claim will most likely be dismissed in court. Therefore, it is essential that you have your case reviewed early on. Not only will this ensure that the deadline is not missed, but it will also give your attorney time to investigate and build a strong claim on your behalf. 

Until you file your suit, your lawyer likely cannot get access to the critical corporate and health department documents and records you need to bolster your case. An experienced food poisoning attorney will know the statute of limitations for your specific claim.

Hiring a Shigella Lawyer

Companies that produce and distribute food have a responsibility to ensure their employees and operations follow food safety best practices. If you contract Shigella because they fail to do so, the business could be responsible for compensating you for medical bills and other damages associated with your illness.

Your lawsuit will also serve as notice to irresponsible businesses on behalf of all consumers. It can make them take responsibility and deter them from engaging in the same practices moving forward. 

If your case is part of a larger Shigella outbreak, you may also become an important voice for food safety. Media organizations often contact victims during outbreaks, allowing you to tell your story and encourage others to step forward.

If you are considering a Shigella lawsuit, contact Keep Food Safe. We can connect you with an experienced lawyer to advise you on seeking compensation in your state.

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