It may not be anyone’s favorite topic, but food poisoning is surprisingly common and can have serious side effects for victims, causing extreme symptoms. When you are struck by a foodborne illness, you should contact the experienced and California food poisoning lawyers of Bisnar Chase.
We have handled countless food illness claims against manufacturers, distributors, and restaurants. We strive every day to provide superior legal representation with a compassionate and personal touch. If a food product has been contaminated due to negligent behavior, we are here to hold the liable parties accountable and make sure you are properly compensated.
If you believe that you became ill after eating a certain food, please contact your local health department, which can be found on this Directory of Local Health Departments. File a report, and be ready to answer any questions officials may ask you.
Next, contact a law firm with a track record of success in food poisoning cases in your area. At Bisnar Chase, we take pride in providing outstanding representation in foodborne illness cases across California. We have a 99% success rate and have won more than $700 million for our clients.
Learn more about the dangers and effects of food poisoning, and contact us at (800) 561-4887 for a free consultation with no obligations if you are in need of expert legal help. We are here to fight for your rights.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning occurs when a person becomes ill due to something that they have consumed. In some cases, the food might have been mishandled or improperly prepared. It could also be expired, or have been contaminated at some point in the distribution chain.
A foodborne illness is often the result of contamination with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins. When contaminated food is consumed, it can cause serious side effects.
The type and severity of the symptoms that a person could suffer will depend on a number of factors, from the type of food to the method and type of contamination. The majority of food poisoning symptoms are relatively similar, but some food poisoning symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, painful, debilitating, and even deadly.
The Most Common Types of Food Poisoning
With all of the different varieties of food poisoning, ranging from all types of foods, locations, time of being left out, and other factors and circumstances affecting contamination, here are just some of the most common types of food poisoning:
- E. Coli
- Hepatitis A
- Raw Milk Sickness
Food Poisoning Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in six Americans suffer from food poisoning each year. Of the 48 million people who become sick every year, about 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Other findings include:
- Salmonella was the leading cause of estimated hospitalizations and deaths, responsible for about 28 percent of deaths and 35 percent of hospitalizations due to known pathogens transmitted by food.
- About 90 percent of estimated illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths were due to seven pathogens: Salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter, toxoplasma, E. coli O157, listeria, and clostridium perfringens.
- Nearly 60 percent of estimated illnesses were caused by norovirus.
The Most Common Food Poisoning Symptoms
Many people have experienced an upset stomach, gurgling, rumbling, heartburn, trapped air, or a warm stomach from food that did not agree with us at some point in our lives. But true food poisoning can produce far more extreme symptoms.
The top food poisoning symptoms can include:
- Diarrhea – may be watery or bloody
- Abdominal pain and cramps
The severity of your symptoms will vary depending on the type of contamination you are dealing with. Some might be relatively minor, though they can still cause significant pain and discomfort. Others could require hospital treatment, and could even prove deadly if not properly treated.
Click here to learn more about food poisoning symptoms.
After consuming contaminated food or drink, food poisoning symptoms could hit you immediately, or they could take several hours or even days to kick in. If you have suffered any of the symptoms listed above and suspect that it was caused by something you ate, contact the California food poisoning attorneys of Bisnar Chase for expert help.
What To Do If You Have Food Poisoning
There are several steps you would be well advised to take if you suspect that you are the victim of food poisoning:
- Treatment/medical attention: The first step is getting better. In many cases, food poisoning will cause significant pain and discomfort, but may only last for a couple of days before passing. You may be able to ride it out with plenty of hydration and self-care. In other cases, you may require professional medical attention.
- Document what you ate: If possible, write down everything you ate or drank for at least three or four days before your symptoms surfaced. Write down what you ate and where you ate it. Remember, food poisoning symptoms can take several days to develop.
- Preserve leftovers: If you believe that a certain food made you ill, make sure that it is isolated and preserved so it can be tested in a lab for pathogens. It is also important that you preserve the product’s packaging, if possible, with the bar code, which can help trace the product.
- Proof of purchase: If possible, keep your original receipt or credit card records as proof of when and where you bought the food that made you ill.
- Contact your local health department: File a report with your county or local health department. This way, you are likely to find out about other incidents similar to yours. The department may also initiate an investigation if they receive several similar reports.
- Maintain a record of your losses: Save all receipts of doctor visits, tests, medication purchases, insurance statements, and credit card bills. Also, document the number of days of work you missed and lost wages.
- Contact an attorney: A food poisoning lawyer can help you file a claim against a distributor or restaurant and make sure you are properly compensated for your suffering.
When to Seek Medical Attention
It’s easy to panic at the first signs of food poisoning, wanting to rush ourselves to the emergency room. In many cases, it is not completely necessary to go to the hospital, but here are some signs that it is time to call 911 or head to the emergency room, according to MayoClinic.org.
- Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep liquids down.
- Bloody vomit or stools.
- Diarrhea for more than three days.
- Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping.
- An oral temperature that is higher than 100.4 F (38 C).
- Signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
- Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms.
Negligence and Liability in Food Poisoning Cases
There are several parties that could share responsibility and liability in a food poisoning case. Negligence could be present in:
- Manufacturing or collection of food
- Packaging process
- Food sales
- Preparation of food
- Mishandling of food
Anyone along the chain of distribution of food could be held liable if they were negligent in their handling of it, leading to contamination and later food poisoning, such as a food packaging company, a grocery store, or a restaurant.
Laws, regulations, and the Restaurant/Market Grading System are put to use to ensure the health and safety of everyone. Negligent food service is the number one cause of commercial food poisoning.
Restaurants that do not wash, prepare, handle or store food properly have a massive risk and liability towards getting somebody sick. In the most severe cases, contaminated or improperly prepared food might cause a large group of consumers to fall ill, while extreme cases of food poisoning may even be fatal.
There are many ways restaurants, markets, and other food and beverage establishments can prove negligent in their products and services. These might include:
- Employees, cooks, and servers not washing hands.
- Dropping food or drinks on the floor or other unsanitary spaces.
- Not properly storing food.
- Substandard cooking or food preparation.
When it comes to personal injury law, you can file a lawsuit against multiple defendants to make all who share a portion of blame are held accountable.
A business must exercise reasonable care when handling food goods. In order to make a successful food poisoning claim, the plaintiff must prove that they have suffered harm and that a particular food was responsible for it.
This can be difficult, which is why it is important to work with a law firm that has years of experience and an outstanding track record with food illness claims. A skilled food poisoning attorney will help you with medical consultations, isolating the responsible food source, and proving causation.
Food Poisoning Compensation
Food poisoning victims can pursue financial compensation from the party or parties responsible for the contamination. Potentially liable parties in food poisoning cases include food distributors, restaurants, suppliers, growers, and processors.
Victims in such cases can pursue compensation for damages including:
- Medical bills including hospitalization
- Fees for diagnostic testing of contaminated food
- Lost income if you are forced to miss work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Other related expenses
The best way to maximize the value of your case is to work with an experienced attorney who has secured significant settlements and verdicts in food poisoning cases in California.
Preventing Foodborne Illnesses
There are several steps you can take to prevent food poisoning and cross-contamination of foods at home:
- Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses can survive in many places around your kitchen including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards. Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking.
- Separate your foods. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be kept separate from other foods such as fruits and veggies. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw produce and raw meat and/or eggs.
- Cook to the right temperature. Use a food thermometer to make sure that food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature. For example, internal temperatures for whole meats should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
- Refrigerate leftover foods promptly.
Contact a Top-Rated Food Poisoning Lawyer
If you have fallen ill due to a foodborne illness, you do not have to suffer in silence. Food poisoning can cause serious symptoms, but the personal injury lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to hold wrongdoers accountable.
If your illness was caused by negligence at some point in the supply chain of your food, our California food poisoning attorneys can file a lawsuit against those liable. We have been in business for more than 40 years and have a 99% success rate, winning over $700 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Contact our team of experts now at (800) 561-4887.