Contaminated Foods Lawyer
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What Are Contaminated Foods?
Contaminated foods are the source of food poisoning, or the general term for health problems caused by something a person eats. These problems can arise from bacteria, viruses, or toxins that contaminate foods. Some examples are Salmonella, E. Coli, Toxoplama Gondii, and the Norwalk Virus. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are six to thirty-three million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year.
This may happen in many different ways, such as restaurant food poisoning, food served in a hospital or school, homemade food, or from foods purchased at a grocery store. Persons who have had food poisoning may file food contamination claims.
What Are Some Common Causes and Symptoms of Food Poisoning?
There are hundreds of bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning or food-borne illnesses:
- Botulism: Symptoms include weakness, difficulty breathing, difficulty speaking, trouble with swallowing, double-vision, dizziness and constipation
- E-coli infection: Symptoms include diarrhea
- Salmonella: Symptoms include diarrhea and overall feeling of sickness
- Physical Objects in Food
- Bacteria and Viruses
- Toxin Material leaked in food
Who Can Be Liable for Contaminated Foods?
Because many steps are involved in getting a particular food from the farm to your plate, many different actors can face liability if the food injuries someone. To complicate things, some actors can be liable under different legal theories including negligence, strict liability, and defective product liability. In general, the actors who can be liable for contaminated foods are:
- Farmers, under negligence or defective product liability,
- Growers, under negligence or defective product liability,
- Shippers, under negligence or defective product liability,
- Packagers, under negligence or defective product liability, or
- Sellers or distributors, under strict liability or breach of warranty.
What is Needed To Prove Liability for Contaminated Foods?
If you can prove that your illness was caused by a contaminated food, then you may be able to sue the seller of the product in a products liability action. You are not required to prove that the seller was negligent; rather the seller would be strictly liable for your injuries as long as you can show the following:
- The actor grew or shipped the contaminated food,
- You consumed the contaminated food,
- You suffered some symptoms or illness after consuming the contaminated food,
- Your symptoms or illness were diagnosed by a doctor as being caused by consuming the contaminated food,
- The time you felt your symptoms or illness is consistent with the time of consuming the contaminated food, and
- The actor caused the contamination or failed to use reasonable care to prevent it.
In addition to the minimum elements that must be proved to be successful in a lawsuit for contaminated food, it is also beneficial if an injured person can prove:
- Their illness was diagnosed by a doctor as being caused by a particular bacteria, virus, or toxin,
- The contaminated food was found to harbor such bacteria, virus, or toxin, and
- The symptoms or illness is consistent with consuming the particular bacteria, virus, or toxin.
What is Recoverable In a Lawsuit for Contaminated Foods?
In most cases, recovery for a lawsuit for contaminated foods includes:
- Compensatory damages, for thing like economic losses or mental and physical pain and suffering,
- Medical expenses, both past and sometimes future, and
- Punitive damages if applicable.
- Future Lost income after missing work
Are There Any Defenses To Food Contamination Lawsuits?
In a lawsuit against an actor for contaminated foods, several defenses may be applicable. They include:
- The actor exercised all reasonable care in growing, packaging, shipping, or selling the food,
- The injured person's symptom or illness was not caused by consuming the food,
- Someone else introduced a contaminating agent into the food, or
- The injured person caused their own symptom or illness by their own negligence in failing to exercise ordinary care. One example would be failing to follow directions on food packaging.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle my Contaminated Food Liability Issue?
If you have been injured from consuming contaminated food, or you are being sued for contaminated food, it is recommended that you contact a personal injury or product liability attorney. They will be able to explain the relevant issues and help to defend your rights.
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Last Modified: 05-22-2017 08:30 PM PDT
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