E. coli infections aren’t something you want to ignore. The symptoms can be severe and medical treatment is often required. Along with pain from abdominal cramping and seemingly never-ending bouts of diarrhea, your E. coli infection may also be racking up expenses.

Along with medical costs, you may also be missing work and this means lost income. This is only a brief look at the damages you can face from an E. coli infection. Claiming compensation for E. coli infections is a little more complicated than simply announcing you contracted the bacteria.

If you’re not sure how to get started or if you even have a case, here’s what you should know.

Do You Have an E. Coli Lawsuit?

As mentioned earlier, you can’t simply claim to have an E. coli infection. You’re going to need medical documentation to back up your claim. Yes, this means visiting a healthcare professional and undergoing some diagnostic tests. Don’t worry, the tests aren’t too invasive and it’s relatively easy to obtain a diagnosis.

Once you’re positively diagnosed with an E. coli infection, this doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically have grounds for a lawsuit. Now, you need to determine where you picked up the bacterial infection. Don’t forget that E. coli infections aren’t limited to restaurants and catered events. You can just as easily pick the infection up at home.

If you forget to wash your hands after using the bathroom and grab a snack, this can be the source of your contamination. You can also get E. coli if you skip washing fresh produce. If the source of the infection is your kitchen, you’re probably not going to name yourself in a lawsuit. With that being said, there are other sources for an E. coli infection and this may mean you have a case.

Who Can You Name in an E. Coli Lawsuit?

Unless your E. coli infection occurs in your home, there’s a good chance you can file a lawsuit to recover some or all of your damages. So, who can you name in your lawsuit? This depends on where you came in contact with the bacteria.

Before you can file a lawsuit, you need to trace the infection back to its origin. In other words, you can’t simply claim an individual or entity is responsible for your food-borne illness. If You start randomly accusing people without proof, you may be setting yourself up as a defendant in a slander case. Yes, someone can file a lawsuit against you for making false claims.

However, with proof, you can name the restaurant or caterer who supplied the tainted food. Suppliers and even growers can also be named in a lawsuit. Others who may be liable for your E. coli infection can also include grocery stores and manufacturers.

What Damages Can You Recover in an E. Coli Lawsuit?

Every E. coli lawsuit is different so keep this in mind as you look over a list of potential damages. However, some common damages like medical expenses tend to show up in almost all E. coli lawsuits.

Your medical expenses typically include costs associated with your original diagnosis and treatment, and, unforutunately, some E. coli infections require hospitalization. In fact, there are an estimated 2,168 hospitalizations reported each year.

If you need long-term care, this can also be listed as damage in your lawsuit. Other damages can include lost income, both current and future. If the infection forces you to miss work, you can claim lost pay. This can also be extended if the E. coli infection leaves you unable to return to work.

Don’t forget about non-economic damages like pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Your attorney can help you determine the monetary value of your non-economic damages.

Determining the Type of E. Coli Lawsuit

Before you can file an E. coli lawsuit, you need to decide on the type. Yes, there are three different types of lawsuits but all are based on liability.

In other words, an individual’s or entity’s actions are directly responsible for your infection. The three types of civil lawsuits are negligence, strict product liability, and breach of warranty.

Negligence

Employees and businesses must follow strict regulations when handling, preparing, storing, transporting, and manufacturing food.

There aren’t any exceptions to these guidelines which include some basic ones like thoroughly washing all food items before preparing and serving. Storing foods at proper temperatures and taking all precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

If an employee or the entity doesn’t follow these guidelines, they can be negligent and held responsible for your food-borne illness.

Strict Product Liability

This is a type of personal injury claim and sometimes it’s a little easier to prove than negligence. A strict product liability lawsuit is filed when you can show evidence that the food is unsafe. Instead of showing the individual or business knowingly served you unsafe food, like, in a negligence claim, you only need to prove the items are tainted.

The bacterial contamination may occur during manufacturing, transport, or even at a restaurant, but this doesn’t matter, you only need to show that the food is contaminated with harmful E. coli bacteria. Usually, a simple lab test is all it takes to prove this type of E. coli lawsuit. From there, it’s up to either the judge or jury to decide if you should receive compensation for your damages.

Breach of Warranty

Okay, if you’re not reading the expiration dates on food packaging, now’s a good time to start. Eating foods past their expiration dates can increase your risk of contracting an E. coli infection. If you eat expired food and come down with a bacterial infection, you probably don’t have a case.

However, if the food hasn’t expired and it’s still tainted, you may have grounds for a breach of warranty lawsuit. In this type of case, you’re proving the non-expired food doesn’t live up to your safety expectations.

Discuss Your Potential E. Coli Lawsuit with an Attorney

Don’t file a lawsuit after experiencing an E. coli infection without consulting with an attorney. From helping you understand the value of your case to determining the type of legal action to pursue, your attorney can guide you every step of the way.

Their expertise will guarantee that your rights are protected and that you receive appropriate compensation for your suffering.

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