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The Aftermath of Food Poisoning: Starting Fresh With a Product Liability Attorney

StomachacheIt is reported that one in six Americans will suffer from food poisoning every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experiencing such a foodborne illness is a common but costly and often preventable situation.

Statistically, 49 million Americans will experience a food poisoning episode each year with 128,000 requiring hospitalization and up to 3,000 related fatalities. The CDC currently lists the common foodborne illnesses as:

  • Norovirus;
  • Salmonella;
  • Clostridium perfringens; and
  • Campylobacter.

If affected by any one of these, most people will experience vomiting and diarrhea but in some extreme cases, life-threatening complications such as organ failure can occur. In the most severe cases, some will experience long-term health problems or even death. Even higher risk develops when a young child, pregnant woman or adults over the age of 65 is involved. Weak immune systems are more susceptible to food poisoning instances and symptoms can be severe as:

  • High fever, over 101.5 degrees;
  • Bloody stool;
  • Severe vomiting leading to dehydration;
  • Decrease in urination;
  • Dry mouth and throat;
  • Bouts of dizziness; and
  • Diarrheal illness lasting longer than three days.  

For those severely affected or facing the death of a loved one, it is possible to hold a restaurant liable. If determined a specific food item was the culprit you may also lay legal claim against the grower, food processor or distributor.

Taking Action for Foodborne Illness

As a general rule, food poisoning cases fall under product liability law often holding the grower, producer, and/or distributor responsible, but, before consulting a product liability attorney, these six steps to documenting your case should be taken into consideration:

  • Consult with a licensed medical professional to determine the specific pathogen responsible for the incident;
  • For bacterial pathogens, consent to a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) testing to locate the specific genetic markers to indicate the exact geographical location of the illness;
  • In the event a specific food cannot be identified as the activator, one may still have a product liability case if additional people experienced similar symptoms when visiting the same restaurant;
  • Not all instances of food poisoning can be blamed on the food item. Often outbreaks are caused by a sick employee or food handler not following proper food handling protocols;
  • If one becomes sick immediately following a meal, any leftover food products should be taken home and presented as possible evidence.
Possible Punitive Damages

If a restaurant or other responsible party has been grossly negligent one may also seek punitive damages. As these establishments are highly regulated if there is evidence of blatant regulatory violations, punitive compensatory damages may be awarded in addition to medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and emotional damages.

If you reside in the Monterey area and have experienced a severe case of food poisoning and believe you have enough evidence to hold an area restaurant liable, the skilled Monterey County product liability attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. ask you to contact us at (408) 298-7200. Our experienced legal team will provide an honest assessment of your situation and discuss all legal options available to you.

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I absolutely cannot speak highly enough of CMA Law, particularly of Mr. McMahon, with whom I have had the most experience. My entire family and I trusted CMA with our case following a significant and life-altering vehicle accident, and to say they delivered is putting it lightly. They were reachable & personable at every stage of this arduous, complex, and scary process, made things easier at every stage, inspired us with confidence, and delivered results. If you're looking for a law firm to place the trust of you in your family in, look absolutely no further than CMA - this is your firm. Declan O.
I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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