Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning occurs when contaminated foods are consumed, which then causes illness that can be mild or severe depending on the individual’s health, age and other circumstances. The following will educate on this type of sickness, the causes along with other information.

Basically the term food poisoning is a phrase used for consuming contaminated food whether it is at home, in a restaurant, fast food place, street vendor or purchased at a grocery store. The contaminants known as pathogens can cause severe illness and may be caused by foods that are improperly handled, prepared, cooked or stored.

California Food Poison Protection Laws

The state of California has enacted legislation to protect the rights of consumers by regulating restaurants, grocery stores and other entities that handle or process food to ensure safety from contaminants. These regulations hold the grocery store, restaurant or food supplier liable for any foreseeable harm to consumers or customers.

The Causes of Food Poisoning

The contaminants that can lead to food poisoning include pathogens and molds, which include the most common ones such as:

  • Salmonella: This is a common cause of contamination in eggs, milk, beef and poultry, which can be caused by contaminated animals.
  • Escherichia Coli: This is better known as E Coli and is one of the more dangerous types of contamination of foods that include both ground beef and pork.
  • Campylobacter Jejuni: This is a bacterial contamination that is generally associated with chicken and beef. The more common name used is stomach bug or flu and the bacteria is naturally found in the digestive track of both cows and chickens.

Common Symptoms

There are some common symptoms of food poisoning that can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the amount of bad food consumed and other factors. The most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Fainting

The symptoms can be painful for the person who consumed contaminated food and the harmed individual is entitled to be compensated for the damages related to the illness. Fainting, dizziness or being light headed can result in injuries related to the consumption of contaminated food, including head injuries.

Death from Food Poisoning

In some cases the individual who suffers from food poisoning can be fatally injured due to health conditions and other reasons. When it is suspected an illness may be the reason for consumption of bad food immediate medical treatment is crucial.

Seeking Hospital Emergency Room Care

Food poisoning is an illness that is seen in the hospital emergency room by individuals seeking treatment that will include lab testing and possible admittance. Then follow up treatment will be necessary by the general physician. This type of illness can be expensive for the person with no insurance and for anyone with insurance that have co-pays or that does not cover this type of condition. When a person is harmed due to bad food they have the legal right to recover financial compensation for the damages from the negligent establishment or party.

Loss of Wages

Consuming contaminated food can result in loss of wages due to being unable to work because of the symptoms. When an individual has been harmed due to bad food they are entitled to be compensated for the earnings that have been forfeited.

Compensation for Suffering

Food poisoning is a painful experience that can cause the victim to suffer the symptoms and the victim may be able to obtain damages for pain and suffering due to the carelessness of the at-fault party.

Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitations or time limit in which a legal claim or lawsuit must be filed in a food poisoning case is two years from the date of the incident in the state of California. In the event the claim is not filed within the specific amount of time the injured party may forfeit any right to file a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions Involving Food Poisoning

  • What should I do if I suspect I may have food poisoning?

If you believe you have food poisoning medical care may be necessary, since the symptoms often include being severely ill several hours after consuming the contaminated food. This is often a complicated claim because it is necessary to prove who the food poisoning occurred and where the food came from to the insurance companies that are defending the negligent party.

There are two elements that are at risk to the defense tactics that may be used including whether it was actual food poisoning or was it another type of illness. When seeking medical treatment there are tests that can be ordered to prove the cause of the illness is food poisoning and this is more helpful in a legal claim and for the proper treatment than a symptomatic diagnosis.

The second is if the restaurant, grocery store or other entity was the source of the contaminated food. Proving the location the contaminated food was obtained can be difficult without having direct evidence, such as more of the same foods unconsumed in your possession. Though it is possible to prove the source of the contaminated food occurred at a location due to the sanitary conditions, which can also be reported to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health or other city or county Department of Public health.

A report of this nature will result in an inspector being sent to the location to look for health code violations. If there are violations of any of the health codes that may contribute to a food poison claim it can be helpful in winning the case.

  • What about health insurance issues?

In some cases the individual does not have health care insurance or are underinsured that can result in out of pocket expenses for medical treatment. There are medical professionals who will provide the medical care needed with no upfront costs and will be paid once there has been a settlement made in the case, whether by the insurance company or by going to trial.

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Other Resources:

Comprehensive Attorney Site on Food Poisoning Claims: Ehline Law.

“Salmonella enteritidis infections in France and the United States: characterization by a deterministic model.” AJPH

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