Joplin injury attorneyIf you or a loved one has become seriously ill after eating out at a restaurant or purchasing a pre-cooked meal from an establishment, there may be a personal injury claim for food poisoning. In the majority of cases, food poisoning results from the presence of foodborne bacteria or viruses. These pathogens can cause serious illness and may be fatal in the most severe cases.  If it’s possible that your or a loved one has been exposed to a foodborne illness, then it would be wise to contact your Joplin injury attorney to discuss how to proceed.

How to know if you have a food poisoning claim

The most common sources of food poisoning injuries are restaurants and other food service providers.  The existence of foodborne pathogens in food is most often caused by improper food preparation or improper food handling.  In other words, contamination can be caused by either the chef in the kitchen or the waiter serving your meal.  If you have suffered a serious illness as the result of food poisoning at the hands of someone else, then you may have a food poisoning claim against the responsible parties.  Your Joplin injury attorney can help you evaluate your potential claims.

You must first determine what caused your illness

Food poisoning cases originate from exposure to a foodborne pathogen.  When this happens, the first step is to seek medical treatment. This way, a health care provider can determine which pathogen caused your illness.  They will run tests in order to determine the exact pathogen to which you were exposed.  The most common foodborne pathogens are E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and Clostridium botulinum. These particular viruses and bacteria (as well as many others) can make you very sick and, in more serious cases, they can be deadly.  Once you know exactly which pathogen caused your illness, you can trace it back to determine who was responsible.Be sure to report your foodborne illness to health officials
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 necessary because, in too many cases, there is a delay between the first exposure to contaminated food and the appearance of symptoms. That delay can make it very 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.

Next, you should consult with a Joplin injury attorney

Once you determine that you have been exposed to a foodborne pathogen, which caused your illness and injury, then you need to contact a Joplin 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.

Be sure 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.

Understand that 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 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 claims or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. 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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