In the unfortunate case where you have enjoyed a meal at a restaurant, but then turned violently ill after you get back home, you may need to consider whether you have fallen victim to food poisoning. Food poisoning is typically the result of a foodborne bacteria or virus which can cause serious illness and even death in severe cases. If you believe you have suffered a foodborne illness, then you should contact your Joplin personal injury attorney to discuss the steps you need to take.
How does a typical food poisoning case show itself?
Food poisoning incidents typically occur in restaurants or other food service settings. The problems usually stem from either improper food preparation or food handling. Put another way, the contamination can come from either the chef in the kitchen or the waiter bringing you your meal. If you have suffered a serious illness caused by food poisoning at the hands of another, then you may have a claim against the responsible parties. Your Joplin personal injury attorney can help you sort through your potential claims.
First step: determining what caused your illness
Food poisoning cases come from exposure to a foodborne pathogen. When this happens, you should first seek medical care so that the health care providers can determine which pathogen resulted in your sickness. Tests will be run in order to determine the exact pathogen to which you were exposed. Some of the most common are E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and clostridium botulinum. These particular viruses and bacteria (as well as many others) can make you very ill and, in some more serious cases, they can be fatal. Once you know exactly which pathogen caused your illness, you can trace it back to determine who was responsible.
Second step: reporting your foodborne illness
The majority of food poisoning cases stemming from restaurants or other food services results in an outbreak. In other words, the likelihood that other customers have been affected by the same foodborne illness is very high. By alerting the health officials in your area, they will be prepared to respond appropriately to a potential outbreak.
This is important because, in many cases, there is a delay between exposure to contaminated food and the appearance of symptoms. That delay can make it extremely difficult to prove where the illness came from. However, by reporting your illness, you increase the chances of linking your illness to a specific food poisoning outbreak, which in turn makes it easier to prove your claim.
Third step: consulting with a Joplin personal injury attorney
Once you determine that you have been exposed to a foodborne pathogen, which caused you illness and injury, then you need to contact a Joplin personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a legal claim. This is even more important if you have been unable to determine the exact food that has caused your illness. An attorney who has experience in food poisoning litigation will need to conduct their own investigation into your claims to determine whether there have been any associated outbreaks related to your illness. Their investigation can help you determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim.
Don’t forget to document your illness
While your claim is pending, and even while you are still determining whether you have a viable claim, it is always wise to document the injuries or symptoms you have suffered as a result of the possible food poisoning. This includes keeping track of your medical records and bills for medical expenses associated with your illness.
Don’t delay because there are deadlines for filing your claim
There are deadlines for filing nearly every type of civil claim. This time limit is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” If you do not file your lawsuit before the particular deadline has passed, you will not be allowed to bring that lawsuit. If you still file your legal claim after the deadline, it will likely be dismissed. Each statute of limitations period depends on the type of legal claim you are bringing and the state law applicable to that claim. Your Joplin personal injury attorney will make sure you meet the statute of limitations period that applies to your particular civil case if you bring the case to them in time.
If you have questions regarding food poisoning, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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