The CDC is currently investigating a listeria outbreak in Dole and Fresh Express packaged salads. Listeria is a bacteria that causes an infection called listeriosis. While most people simply get sick, it can be fatal. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant people, adults over 65 and newborns are particularly vulnerable. This current outbreak is responsible for three deaths and 23 hospitalizations, over several states.
Although we have regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, which oversee food safety standards, foodborne illness outbreaks happen on a regular basis. What can you do if you or a loved one were sickened by tainted food products?
Can I file a lawsuit if I was harmed by foodborne illness?
Manufacturers, including food packagers, have a duty to avoid harming the consumer. When they sell a defective product (such as a tainted salad mix), they may be held liable. However, there are certain challenges in proving a foodborne illness products liability claim.
If you contracted listeriosis or another foodborne illness, it’s important to find out which food item was responsible. That can be difficult. Because listeria symptoms can take up to 70 days to manifest, it can be tough to trace. Even if you were sickened by a faster-acting pathogen, there may be more than one potential culprit. If the tainted food has been recalled and you saved the wrapper, that can help create a link.
There’s also the question of whether the plaintiff has suffered enough harm to justify the cost of litigation. In the vast majority of cases, consumers might experience a day or two of illness, which resolves on its own. They’re not likely to recover enough compensation to be worth it. Therefore, most plaintiffs only file suit when they’ve suffered severe illness or their loved one has died.
If a foodborne illness outbreak is large enough, there may be grounds for a class action suit. You may be notified if you are a potential member of the class. While the compensation for members of the class is not the same as an individual lawsuit, these actions do hold companies responsible for their negligence.
The best way to find out if you can and should file a lawsuit is to call the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Tim Misny. If you believe you’ve been sickened by listeriosis, seek medical help before you call.
Sickened by foodborne illness? Call an Ohio personal injury lawyer now
Have you been sickened by foodborne illness from packaged foods? I’ll Make Them Pay!® The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help determine whether you have an actionable claim. Call me today at (800) 556-4769 for a consultation.