Schedule your free consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All fields are required

LET'S TALK

CALL TODAY

(833) 330-3663

E. Coli Lawyer

Our E. Coli lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve. An estimated 265,000 people are afflicted by various strains of E. Coli each year within the United States. E. Coli is a foodborne illness that inflicts violent physical side effects upon its victims. If you or a loved one has suffered from contracting E. Coli, contact us. Discuss your case and find out your rights by speaking to our qualified E. Coli lawyer at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC  today.

Our E. Coli Lawyer Can Help You

  • We know what we are doing. Our E. Coli lawyer has significant experience handling E. Coli cases. We have won millions of dollars for our clients.
  • Our team of dedicated food poisoning lawyers 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. Our E. Coli lawyer at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC 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 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):

  • 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
  • Eating food that’s been stored at unsafe temperatures
  • Failing to wash cutting boards, knives, utensils, or dishes leading to cross-contamination
  • Eating produce that hasn’t been thoroughly washed
  • Drinking unpasteurized apple cider
  • Eating raw seafood products

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

What Compensation Can I Recover?

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

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.

  • Economic Damages: Compensation for actual, measurable losses that are relatively easy to calculate. For example:
    • Medical Treatment: Current and future medical care you have and will require due to the illness. Medical bills, receipts for prescription medications, and any other healthcare bills can be used to calculate these losses. However, estimating future medical bills may require a medical expert to weigh in.
    • Lost Wages: Compensation for current and future income you have and will lose due to your illness.
    • Diminished Earning Capacity: If E. Coli has left you unable to return to your field of work, or you cannot earn the same level of income.
    • Legal Fees: The costs of filing the lawsuit, including lawyer fees, travel expenses, etc.
  • Non-Economic Damages: This is compensation for personal losses that cannot be proven outright or calculated with a receipt. Those can include:
    • Pain and Suffering: The physical pain you have had to endure, which can typically be established through medical records and testimony by a physician about the extent of your illness.
    • Emotional Distress: psychological conditions caused by your illness, such as stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. You must be able to demonstrate the severity and duration of these symptoms, for instance, through bills for counseling, medication receipts, or a daily journal of your symptoms and their effect on your life.
    • Physical Impairment: If E. Coli leads to long-term complications that cause physical impairments, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
    • Loss of consortium: This type of compensation is sometimes available for a spouse of an E. Coli victim to recover. A spouse can pursue compensation for a loss of companionship, services, emotional support, sexual relations, counsel, and more. If the illness leads to the victim’s death, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

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.

Punitive Damages

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.

How Much Does an E. Coli Lawyer Charge?

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.

Typical Defendants in Lawsuits

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). 

Recent Outbreaks /Recalls

Below is a list of selected E. coli outbreak investigations provided by the CDC

Year Product States Affected Illnesses Hospitalizations Deaths Recall
2022 Frozen Falafel 6 24 5 0 Yes
2022 Ground Beef 6 7 6 0 No
2022 Unknown Food Source 6 109 52 0 No
2021 Packaged Salads 4 10 4 1 No
2021 Baby Spinach 10 15 4 0 No
2021 Cake Mix 23 16 7 0 No
2021 Unknown Food Source 7 22 11 1 No
2020 Unknown Source 9 18 6 0 Yes
2020 Leafy Greens 19 40 20 0 No
2020 Unknown Source 12 32 15 1 No
2020 Clover Sprouts 10 51 3 0 Yes
2019 Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits 5 10 4 0 No
2019 Romaine Lettuce 27 167 85 0 Yes
2019 Northfork Bison 8 33 18 0 Yes
2019 Flour 9 21 3 0 Yes
2019 Ground Beef 10 209 29 0 No
2018 Romaine Lettuce 16 62 25 0 Yes
2018 Ground Beef 4 18 6 1 Yes
2018 Romaine Lettuce 36 210 96 5 No
2017 Leafy Greens 15 25 9 1 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.

Year Outbreaks Illnesses Hospitalizations Deaths
2009 55 633 137 3
2010 60 629 134 3
2011 76 1014 170 4
2012 79 946 166 4
2013 84 717 199 4
2014 69 506 108 3
2015 88 989 176 3
2016 67 1056 135 3
2017 81 1341 163 3
2018 146 3504 380 9
2019 97 1278 237 1
2020 29 372 76 2

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:

  1. Private home/residence – 161 cases
  2. Child daycare – 156 cases
  3. Restaurant – Sit-down dining – 87 cases
  4. Restaurant – “Fast-food”(drive-up service or pay at counter) –  25 cases
  5. School/college/university – 23 cases
  6. Long-term care/nursing home/assisted living facility – 20 cases
  7. Festival/fair – 17 cases
  8. Caterer (food prepared off-site from where served) – 13 cases
  9. Grocery store – 11 cases
  10. Farm/dairy – 10 cases

Where do Outbreak Occcur Most Often?

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.

  1. Minnesota 92
  2. Ohio 63
  3. Wisconsin 49
  4. Pennsylvania 47
  5. Texas 42
  6. Oregon 40
  7. Tennessee 34
  8. Washington 33
  9. Colorado 32
  10. Missouri 28
  11. Idaho 22
  12. Kansas 22
  13. California 20
  14. South Carolina 20
  15. Virginia 19
  16. Illinois 18
  17. Iowa 18
  18. Michigan 18
  19. New York 18
  20. Kentucky 17
  21. Massachusetts 17
  22. Alabama 16
  23. Utah 13
  24. Indiana 11
  25. Maryland 10

 How Do I Know if I Have an E. Coli 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.

When Should I Contact an E. Coli Lawyer?

If you have been diagnosed with a severe case of E. Coli, contact an attorney as soon as possible. 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.

In addition, 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.

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.

Contact an Experienced E. Coli Lawyer

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 lawyers 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.