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An E. Coli infection can lead to severe medical complications that result in devastating financial and personal losses. Our team of E. Coli attorneys can help you determine if your illness is linked to contaminated food or animals at a petting zoo. Call or send us a message online to arrange a free consultation with our qualified E. Coli lawyer at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC today.
When you are in need of an E. Coli lawyer, finding the right one is not always easy. Here are a few qualities to look for in your search:
It is best to pick an attorney specializing in product liability law, specifically concerning foodborne illness. For instance, there are product liability lawyers who handle all types of product liability cases, from defective medical devices to faulty vehicle parts. Then there are some who solely focus on protecting people from contaminated food and water. Choosing an attorney who has previously handled E. Coli and other foodborne illness cases will significantly increase your chances of success and recovering fair compensation. Extensive experience and skill in other areas, such as negotiating fair settlements, trial experience, and navigating complex cases, are also critical.
A dependable E. Coli lawyer will have a solid track record of large settlements and awards. However, beware of firms that have a high case turnover rate. That typically means they settle claims quickly for less than their worth to increase profits and avoid costly litigation.
A lawyer you can trust will never promise to achieve a particular result in your case. Instead, they will openly discuss all possible outcomes and be honest about potential hurdles they already anticipate.
Most E. Coli attorneys will accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This type of agreement makes it much easier to retain skilled legal representation because no upfront fees are required. Additionally, you will only owe legal fees if you recover compensation. As a result, when an attorney accepts your case, you know they believe your claim can be successful and will work hard to ensure you win.
Ask the attorney you speak to in your consultation if they will be the one working on your case. If not, ask who will and how many cases they handle at once. It is critical to know if they have the time necessary to dedicate to your case and whether they will solely focus on yours or if they have experience successfully handling multiple cases at once.
Trust your gut when you consult an E. Coli lawyer. Ask yourself whether you will feel comfortable working with them and sharing personal information. If they come off in a condescending manner, seem disorganized, etc., you may want to continue your search.
Some of these qualities can be difficult to gauge from a brief conversation. To get an idea of an attorney’s track record and working style, speak to a few past clients. An E. Coli lawyer should happily supply this information.
Damages is the legal term referring to the compensation that a victim can recover by filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for their E. Coli infection. The types of damages you may be entitled to are as follows.
Compensatory damages are designed to make a victim “whole” again, meaning the state they were in prior to the illness or as close as possible. In other words, it is reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses and debts caused by E. Coli. Compensatory damages are divided into two sub-categories: economic and non-economic.
Various factors will be considered when determining how much your non-economic damages are worth—for example, your age, pre-existing conditions, the severity of your illness, whether your illness caused permanent injuries, whether your daily routine has been impacted, restrictions on activities, your expected length of recovery, how your family has suffered, and more.
The second type of damages possibly available is punitive damages. This type of compensation is only awarded to a victim when the defendant (at-fault party) demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others. The purpose of punitive damages is not to reward the plaintiff (victim) with further compensation but to punish the defendant and deter others from similar behavior. To recover punitive damages involves proving the defendant was grossly negligent, which is a high standard to meet. One example would be a restaurant that has a history of violating food safety regulations and did nothing to fix those issues.
E. Coli lawyers often accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay an upfront lump sum for their representation. Additionally, they do not make you pay in advance for any case-related expenses. Your attorney will cover the costs associated with preparing, filing, and prosecuting your claim and will only get paid if you do. Their legal fees are dependent on how much you are awarded in a settlement or award. If you do not recover compensation, you will not owe your attorney anything besides court costs. This is an ideal scenario for both E. Coli lawyers and their clients. There is no risk to you, you don’t have to worry about paying legal bills while the case is ongoing, and your attorney can be more focused on winning than keeping track and billing the correct number of hours.
Once you recover compensation, an E. Coli lawyer’s fee will typically be between 33 to 40 percent. In most cases, you will owe 33% or one-third of your settlement or judgment. For example, if you are awarded $100,000, your lawyer will keep about $33,000, plus you may be responsible for certain case expenses and court costs. Some lawyers may reduce their contingency fee if your case is settled quickly or raise it if your case goes to trial. Others work on a sliding scale—for example, 33% of a settlement or award up to $100,000, 25% of a recovery between $100,000 and $300,000, 20% of any amount above $300,000, etc. Depending on the attorney, you may be able to negotiate the terms, so be sure to discuss the exact arrangements before signing your agreement.
Anyone involved in the chain of distribution of the product can be liable for any damages in an E. Coli lawsuit. This includes the processing company or manufacturer, the supplier or distributor, and the retailer (such as a restaurant or grocery store).
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.
The pathogenic strains, meaning the ones that give you diarrhea, are broken into six different species and called diarrheagenic E. Coli as a group. The six different species are listed here, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
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.
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.
They can include:
Symptoms usually improve within 5-7 days.
Severe E. Coli infection symptoms may include:
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.
Below is a list of selected E. coli outbreak investigations provided by the CDC
|2022||Unknown Food Source||6||109||52||0||No|
|2021||Unknown Food Source||7||22||11||1||No|
|2019||Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits||5||10||4||0||No|
|2017||I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter||12||32||12||0||Yes|
Further analysis of CDC outbreak data reveals more insight into E. Coli outbreaks.
From 2009-2020, the CDC collected data on 931 outbreaks of Escherichia coli (E. Coli), leading to 2,081 hospitalizations and 42 deaths.
Of those incidents, most cases were transmitted by food (404 cases), followed by person-to-person (206), animal contact (69), water (39), then environmental contamination (9). There were 204 cases where the mode of contamination was unknown.
The most common exposure settings (where only one setting was listed) include:
More outbreaks occur across several states than in any one state, with 103 outbreaks affecting multiple states. However, when an outbreak was contained to one state, Minnesota had 29 more outbreaks than then next closest state, Ohio – 46 percent more outbreaks than the second-place state.
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.
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.
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.
If you are unsure whether to contact an E. Coli lawyer, here are a few signs that you should.
If you have been diagnosed with a severe case of E. Coli, contact an attorney as soon as possible. E. Coli has the ability to cause life-changing complications, so in most cases, hiring an attorney is the right choice. The more severe your illness, the more extensive your current and future medical bills and lost income will be. You may be out of work for some time. As a result, you cannot risk settling for less than your claim’s worth or no compensation at all. An attorney will be able to accurately estimate the value of your claim, including how much you will require for future needs to ensure you settle for fair compensation.
Liability may fall on multiple parties, which can make an E. Coli lawsuit even more complex. For example, each party may blame the other, or you may have to deal with several insurance companies. In this situation, an attorney will be critical to ensure liability falls on the appropriate party and that you have evidence to support your claim. They will also help you navigate the claims process and handle every aspect for you.
If the party responsible for your infection denies liability, contact an attorney. They can help you preserve vital evidence and ensure an in-depth investigation is completed so that liability falls on the appropriate parties. They can also help you determine if other people became ill from the same product. If so, your case will be much easier to prove.
If you decide to file an E. Coli claim, on your own, but the at-fault party’s insurer denies it, consult an attorney as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters are known for using tactics to devalue or deny valid claims. An E. Coli lawyer will look over your case and advise you on the best course of action. It is important to note that you are not required to talk to an at-fault party’s insurance company and should never make a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney.
Consultations are typically free, and they will evaluate your case then advise you on your legal options and whether it is worth pursuing a claim. There is no risk to you when contacting an E. Coli lawyer, but if you wait too long, critical evidence that you need to support your case can begin to disappear.
Another reason to hire a lawyer as soon as possible is that you may miss out on your window to recover compensation at all. Each state has a statute of limitations, which is a law that limits the amount of time you have to file an E. Coli lawsuit. For example, in Texas, E. Coli victims have only two years to take legal action. Depending on the state where you reside, that time limit may be longer or shorter, so it is best to get in contact with an attorney quickly.
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.
When you are harmed due to contaminated food or a petting zoo, you can find yourself up against large corporations and insurance companies with deep pockets. We are not afraid and have consistently taken on large companies successfully to recover millions in compensation for our clients. We can help you hold the liable parties accountable for your losses, such as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
E. Coli cases fall under product liability, which can be very complex, and you may have additional questions as your case progresses. Our E. Coli lawyers will ease your mind by offering trusted legal guidance, addressing any questions you might have, and remaining in constant contact to keep you updated on your claim. Call (833) 330-3663 or send us a message online today to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.