Spring BBQS are Fun – Food Poisoning Is Not!

There is nothing like spring in Bakersfield, albeit as short as this season is.  Soon summer will be here along with the heat and outdoor parties and trips to local eateries to avoid having to cook at home.

While backyard parties and dining out are part of American culture, they also can result in food poisoning, which can range from a mild upset stomach to severe medical complications.  If you are the victim of severe food poisoning you should call my office to determine whether you should file a claim for medical expenses and/or damages.

One in six Americans will get some type of food poising each year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are over 250 identified food-borne diseases, most of which are infections resulting from bacteria, viruses and parasites.  Toxins and chemicals can also cause food poisoning.

Common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

While the symptoms above can indicate a mild case of food poisoning, there can be significant long-term, effects as well.  Those can include:

  • Kidney Failure – Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), often seen in children, is the result of toxic substances in the digestive system that kill red blood cells, causing kidney injury. Some types of E. Coli bacteria can cause HUS.
  • Chronic Arthritis – Some people with Shigella or Salmonella infections can develop pain in their joins, irritation to their eyes and painful urination. These can lead to chronic arthritis.
  • Brain & Nerve Damage – Listeria can lead to meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain. A listeria infection can have significant effects on newborns as well.
  • Death – Approximately 3,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of food poisoning.

Food poisoning is often caused by negligence on the part of restaurants, food handlers and food processors.  Food poisoning can cause significant medical and financial burdens and compensation may be in order.

Most food poisoning cases are the result of a “defective product” with the product being the defective food that caused an illness.  There are two key factors in proving a claim for food poisoning:

  1. That the food you consumed was contaminated – there must be clear evidence, backed by a health authority, that the food you ate had a bacteria or toxin that caused the food poisoning. If time passes, as it often does before getting sick, it will be important to try to pinpoint the exact food item that made you sick.
  2. The contamination led to your illness – Once you determine what product was at fault, you must also prove that consuming the contaminated product was directly linked to your illness. The best way to prove this is to have a stool sample tested for the same bacteria or toxin found in the contaminated food.

Please contact my office if you believe you have been the victim of food poisoning that had significant medical or financial impacts so we can determine whether a claim is justified and the best strategy to ensure that your needs are met.

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