Our busy lifestyles frequently find us quickly grabbing meals at public food establishments—such as restaurants and fast-food institutions. As consumers, we have a right to expect that the food we are purchasing from restaurants and stores is safe for our consumption. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Rinehardt Law Firm attorneys fight to provide you with rightful compensation if you have suffered food poisoning as a result of negligently handled food.
Food poisoning is caused by swallowing food or drink that is contaminated with certain bacteria, viruses, toxins, or parasites. When you ingest the contaminated substances, you can become ill and experience a variety of symptoms. In the state of Ohio, you can legally recover for damages if you ate food that was negligently prepared, handled, stored, or if your food was contaminated with a foreign substance during growing, harvesting, processing, or shipping. Generally, it takes around six hours after eating for food poisoning symptoms to appear, however, symptoms could begin days or weeks later, and sickness can last from a few hours to several days. These symptoms may include: nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. The most common types of food contaminants include viruses and bacteria such as: salmonella, escherichia coli (E. coli), campylobacter, and listeria and may contain parasite contaminants such as giardia lamblia and cryptospordia.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) get sick from foodborne illnesses every year. While most people who suffer a sickness from contaminated food are able to recover on their own, the CDC estimates that another 128,000 are hospitalized and may see long-term effects such as kidney failure, chronic arthritis, or brain and nerve damage, and an additional 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses each year. According to Mayo Clinic, those who may be at a higher risk of becoming ill due to foodborne illness are older adults, pregnant women, young children/infants, and people with chronic disease. These groups are often at a higher risk of illness from foodborne illness because of an immune system deficiency.
Most foodborne illnesses are local events; public health officials in just one county will often investigate these outbreaks. However, the state health department may investigate outbreaks that spread across several counties. This department will often work in conjunction with the state department of agriculture and with federal food safety agencies. A state may also ask for help from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in outbreaks involving unusual illness.
If you are suffering from an illness that you think is attributable to the consumption of contaminated food, it is important to seek medical attention immediately, as your health should always be your primary concern. Ask your medical provider to take the steps necessary to confirm the illness in order to secure rights to legal compensation. In the case of seeking a settlement, it is recommended to save the remnants of any leftover food, along with the packaging and receipt from purchase in order to establish the source of contamination. The attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm will work with local establishments and experts to ensure you get the compensation you deserve in the case of foodborne illness and injury.