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E. coli Lawyer

An estimated 265,000 people are afflicted by various strains of E. coli each year within the United States. E. coli is a food-borne illness that inflicts violent physical side effects upon its victims. If you or a loved one have suffered from contracting E. coli, then discuss your case and find out your rights by speaking to one of our qualified E. coli lawyers at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC  today.

Why Choose The Lange Law Firm?

  • We know what we are doing. We have significant experience handling E. coli cases.  We have won millions of dollars for our clients.
  • We are committed to getting clients the help they need, so that they can rebuild their lives.
  • We believe that when companies sell food for a profit, that food should be safe to eat.
  • We are warm. We care about our clients. Our clients feel like family to us.

What is E. coli?

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacteria found naturally in the intestines of humans and animals. Out of the many strains of E. coli there are some that are dangerous if ingested and the rest are harmless. The dangerous strains are labeled as pathogenic, which means they cause illness by way of diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. E. coli that can be ingested through infected food and water or through contact with animals or other people is the kind that causes diarrhea.

Types of Strains

The pathogenic strains, meaning the ones that give you diarrhea, are broken into six different pathotypes and called diarrheagenic E. coli as a group. The six different pathotypes are listed here, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)—STEC may also be referred to as Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) or enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). This pathotype is the one most commonly heard about in the news in association with foodborne outbreaks.
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC)
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC)
  • Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC)
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)
  • Diffusely adherent E. coli (DAEC)

The Shiga toxin producing strains STEC, VTEC, or EHEC all refer to the same group of bacteria that cause disease. The most commonly heard of STEC in North America is E. coli O157:H7 (also known as E. coli O157 or just “O157”). This is the strain that is typically being reported on as being the cause of outbreaks.

How Does it Cause Food Poisoning?

When consumed, even in small amounts, E. coli O157:H7 will result in an intestinal infection. The toxin called Shiga that it produces will cause damage to the lining of the small intestine.

Symptoms

They can include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Severe diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • Fever (usually not high, less than 101˚F)
  • Vomiting (uncommon)

Symptoms usually improve within 5-7 days.

Severe E. coli infection symptoms may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Decreased urine output
  • Bloody urine
  • Pale skin
  • Easily bruised

A serious and possibly life-threatening complication of a STEC infection is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which kills red blood cells. This occurs to around 5-10% of people infected and can lead to kidney failure; children under the age of 10 are highly susceptible. Symptoms begin around 7-10 days after the initial onset of diarrhea and can include feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, and loss of color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. If symptoms are present seek medical care immediately, as hospitalization is necessary due to the high risk of kidney failure.

How is it spread?

Unsafe food practices

  • Raw or undercooked meat (most commonly beef)
  • Eating raw dairy products
  • Not washing hands
  • Failing to wash cutting boards, knives, utensils, or dishes leading to cross-contamination
  • Eating food that’s been stored at unsafe temperatures
  • Eating raw seafood products
  • Eating produce that hasn’t been thoroughly washed
  • Drinking unpasteurized apple cider

Unsafe food processing

  • Bacteria from animal intestines contaminate meat while it was slaughtered
  • Food processor or manufacturer breaking safety rules by not providing safe and sanitary conditions for food to be produced in
  • Unhygienic practices (not washing hands after working with animals)

Contaminated water

  • Drinking water that hasn’t been disinfected
  • Swallowing water you’re swimming in (infection has occurred from person swallowing lake water)

Person to person

  • Not washing hands after a bowel movement then preparing food
  • Not washing hands after changing a baby’s diaper then touching any item that may end up in a person’s mouth

Animals

  • Contact with animals such as cattle, sheep, or goats then not washing hands
  • Touching animals or other things in the environment at a petting zoo then not washing hands

Typical Defendants in Lawsuits? 

Anyone involved in the chain of distribution of the product can be liable for any damages. This includes the processing company or manufacturer, the supplier or distributor, and the retailer (such as a restaurant or grocery store). 

Recent Outbreaks /Recalls

 

Date Brand Name Product Description Number of ppl Affected
09/24/18 Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts 0 reported illnesses
09/19/18 Cargill Meat Solutions Ground beef products 18 infected, 6 hospitalizations, 1 death
04/14/18 Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo Items prepared with romaine lettuce 210 infected, 96 hospitalizations, 5 deaths

 

 How Do I Know if I Have a Claim?

The severity of your illness as well as credible evidence linking your illness to the contaminated product or animal (petting zoo) will dictate whether or not you have a claim. If your suffering from E. coli was severe then your case may be stronger, especially if you were harmed because food safety was not made a priority. There have been many lawsuits brought against food producers for E. coli poisoning in the past.

If there have been numerous reported incidents of E. coli poisoning from the same food then you may be able to take part in a class action lawsuit. The health department will have already been notified and will be investigating the outbreak in order to discover the source. Outbreak investigations are highly successful at exposing the source and the strain associated. You would only have to prove that you consumed the contaminated product, resulting in contracting that same strain.

Speak to an experienced E. coli attorney to learn more about the legal process of obtaining compensation for your illness.

Legal Rights of E. coli Infection Victims

If you have been diagnosed with E. coli, negligent food preparation, manufacturing, or serving practices may be to blame for your suffering. A company that breaks safety rules and causes harm needs to be held liable for their negligent actions, not only to account for the damage they have already caused, but to also prevent future illnesses. You have the right to seek compensation from the liable party(ies) for your medical expenses, current and future lost wages, as well as for your pain and suffering. Consult with a E. coli attorney to discuss your case and get started on your claim.

What To Do if You Think you Have a Case

Create a thoroughly written record, as soon as possible, of all of the following in the days leading up to your illness: what you ate; when you ate it; where you ate it; and how it was prepared.

If you have already seen your doctor and haven’t heard from any health officials yet, then contact them to prompt an investigation. Also inquire as to whether there have been other reports of E. coli poisoning in the area. Finally, reach out to an experienced E. coli lawyer so they may immediately begin investigating for you to determine the source and preserve evidence for your case.

How Do You Find the Source of an E-coli Disease Outbreak?

Health authorities will be notified when multiple infections occur. From there, public officials will investigate to find the source for the outbreak of numerous E. coli infections. As part of their investigation, they will locate sick individuals to get an understanding on the size of outbreak, when it may have started, the severity of it, and also to find out possible sources. They will then attempt to find the common culprit through interviews, home visits, or questionnaires. Once a hypothesis has been made, health officials will inspect and conduct biological testing. If it is discovered that the bacteria from a victim’s stool sample matches the DNA fingerprint of an unopened package of food then that would be very telling evidence of what the source of the outbreak is.

Seek Assistance – Contact a E. Coli Attorney

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with E. coli, The Lange Law Firm, PLLC can help you decide what legal action to take. Our E. coli lawsuit attorneys have access to considerable resources to help you recover compensation you are owed for your damages. We have extensive experience in defending the rights of innocent consumers. Call us at (833) 330-3663 or fill out our online contact form for a free, no obligation, case evaluation.

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