Food

Are there legal remedies when food poisoning makes you sick?

Are there legal remedies when food poisoning makes you sick?

Food poisoning has become more prevalent among the general American public. This potential danger is on the increase as more and more families continue to rely on fast food and pre-packaged meals to feed their families. As foodborne illnesses continue to occur, despite comprehensive regulations and oversight, it is still necessary for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to keep track of foodborne illnesses and related statistics.

The Centers for Disease Control notes that each year about 48 million people get sick from one of nearly three dozen known foodborne pathogens, which is approximately equal to 1 in 6 Americans. Of those stricken, about 128,000 victims of food poisoning need to be hospitalized, and about 3,000 die each year.

Food and drinks may become accidentally contaminated by a number of harmful ingredients that include

  • Poisonous chemicals.
  • Microbes.
  • Pathogens.
  • Bacteria that may include Salmonella and E. coli

According to the CDC, Norovirus and Salmonella contributed to the most illnesses/hospitalizations/deaths. And while most people recover in a few days, the reality is that it is possible to become ill with a foodborne illness that results in a chronic, lifelong medical condition.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

The symptoms one can experience from food poisoning vary widely. One can have intense stomach discomfort/diarrhea to a GI irritation that resembles the flu and everything in-between. Some food poisonings last a day or so, while others may require victims of food poisoning to be hospitalized. And note, to those individuals who belong to at-risk groups – i.e., children, pregnant women, the elderly – a foodborne illness can go from serious to deadly.

Product liability laws are enacted to ensure victims of food poisoning have the potential to hold the manufacturer or supplier accountable should their actions in making or distributing fall short of reasonable care and rise to the level of negligence.  

States like Wisconsin also impose Implied Warranties – essentially minimum product standards. Those who fall victim to food poisoning may have had a product’s implied warranty violated. In addition, certain products may also offer proprietary guarantees – by any one of the parties responsible for handling the product – from farm to table. A simple example of a specific guarantee would be foods labeled pre-washed.

The Food Poisoning Claim

Documenting or proving a claim related to food poisoning includes the verification of two fundamental points –

  • The food that was eaten was contaminated in some way. This is easiest to prove if –
    • There were other individuals who suffered the same result from eating the same food.
    • The foodborne illness that caused the illness is one of the pathogens that is tracked by the federal government, as this allows for scientific testing and proof.
  • The contaminated food was the cause of your illness. This is simply demonstrated by scientifically examining a stool sample – that can show the connection between the food you have eaten and your illness.

Food Poisoning – The Take-Away

If you become sick, it is essential to start an investigation into the event that led to the illness. So, if you or a loved one has become a victim of food poisoning, it is important to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case receives the attention and results it deserves.

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