Houston Food Poisoning Attorneys
Food poisoning is one of the most ubiquitous medical issues Americans contend with, and the CDC estimates about 76 million cases a year. The vast majority of them, though, go unreported because they are either mild enough to treat without medical intervention, or because they are mistaken for the stomach flu or other illnesses. Bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins can all cause symptoms, but only a couple microbes can truly threaten an otherwise healthy person.
Although victims have the legal right to sue a restaurant for contaminated food, it isn’t always practical to do so. Again, if the case is mild enough, a victim might not even recover enough compensation to make the time and effort worth it. And also, it can be extremely difficult to prove any one party is responsible for the illness. There is, however, one notable exception.
WHEN SHOULD A VICTIM CONSIDER FILING A SUIT FOR FOOD POISONING?
The fact is, many cases only show up many hours or days after the pathogen has been introduced in the body. By the time symptoms are noticed, there may be no evidence at all that a certain restaurant was responsible. Even if a victim still has leftovers from the contaminated meal, the defendant will likely argue that the victim didn’t store the meal properly or did something else to it to render it unfit for consumption. A lack of evidence can make it especially tough to win a case even when there is little doubt in the victim’s mind.
However, when many people are affected by a single outbreak of food poisoning, victims will have much stronger cases against the responsible party. E. coli and Salmonella are two of the most common culprits when many people are affected by contaminated meals, and both can cause serious harm. In some cases, they can even cause death, so medical intervention is typically necessary to keep victims safe.
If many people are affected by a single pathogen at the same time, a formal investigation will eventually track down the negligent party. At this point, a victim just has to prove that they ate at a certain restaurant or purchased a contaminated product from a grocery store. The responsible party is not always the restaurant or grocer, though, as many people are involved in the process of getting the product from farm to table. At any point in the supply chain, products may be exposed to animal feces, fertilizers, chemicals and contaminated water, rendering it unsafe. Improper storage temperatures or cleaning processes can also cause problems, so fault is not always clear cut.
In the aftermath of many food poisoning cases, injury attorneys can assist with the claims process and ensure victims properly represented when seeking compensation for their suffering. Such compensation may be necessary to offset medical expenses and replace lost wages, allowing a victim to focus on recovering, and not their finances.
Infographic: Food Poisoning
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If you or a loved one has suffered from food poisoning and want to know your options, contact us today for a free consultation.