E. coli (Escherichia coli)
One of the most common causes of foodborne illness is caused by E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli). The bacteria are normally found in the intestines of all mammals, and most strains are benign. Some strains, however, can cause serious illness, primarily by eating contaminated food.
Anyone can become infected by ingesting food contaminated with E. coli bacteria, but those with the highest risk of developing severe illness — or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure — include young children, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems.
Signs & Symptoms
- nausea and vomiting
- severe abdominal cramping
- diarrhea (can be bloody)
- fever and fatigue
- loss of appetite
- decreased urination
(Note: As much as 10 percent of people infected with an E. coli illness develop HUS, which can be life-threatening. The overwhelming majority of HUS cases involve children under the age of 5, and the disease is the No. 1 cause of acute kidney failure for that age group. HUS typically develops after a long bout with E. coli-produced diarrhea. The disease damages red blood cells, which can clog the kidney’s filtering, thus resulting in kidney failure. In severe cases, a kidney transplant might be necessary to avoid death.)
What can I gain from filing a lawsuit?
When a diagnosis has been determined and the source of the illness has been pinpointed, that’s the time to retain Elliot’s services. He will not only help you and your family decide what legal action to take, he will be able to get the answers to your questions. Last but not least, he will seek the proper compensation for your family’s pain and distress, including having medical bills paid or lost income recovered.
Can I sue for E. coli?
If you or a family member have been the victim of an infection caused by E. coli food poisoning, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the food, a distributor of the food, the grocery store where you bought the food, or the restaurant where you ate the food. You can seek reparations for medical bills, wages lost during your illness and recovery, in addition to compensation for your pain and suffering and permanent disability.
To pursue a lawsuit, you will want to hire an experienced personal injury attorney, and Elliot Olsen is one of the best. Elliot has almost 30 years of experience representing clients who have been harmed by E. coli poisoning. He knows the right questions to ask to help you and your family get the answers, peace of mind, and recompense you deserve.
Here are some considerations to help you decide whether an experienced attorney like Elliot can help:
What made you sick?
The incubation period — the time between eating the contaminated food and the onset of symptoms — can make it difficult to determine the exact cause of your illness. However, if you learn that a food you recently consumed is the cause of an outbreak of E. coli, you might have a claim, and therefore a need to contact Elliot for a free consultation.
How serious was your illness?
If you were sick at home, without seeing a doctor, it is likely not going to be worth pursuing legal action. However, if hospitalization or extended doctor visits are required and it is determined that the cause is E. coli — or you or a loved one developed HUS — then you probably have a case, whether the illness is part of an outbreak or not.
This is the time to consult Elliot, who has spent almost 30 years representing clients in lawsuits involving foodborne illnesses. He can provide peace of mind by guiding you and your family through the process of being diagnosed and treated, as well as pinpointing the cause and determining what specific legal action to take.
How is a diagnosis determined?
To confirm a diagnosis of E. coli or HUS, a doctor will send a stool sample to a laboratory for testing.
What happens after a diagnosis is confirmed?
Having Elliot represent your interests is important. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, he will ensure that the doctor or lab reports it to the state health department. If the source of the illness hasn’t been determined, an epidemiological investigation often is conducted to identify the source of your exposure, and perhaps help reveal that you or your loved one are part of an outbreak. Often, a technician will isolate and identify the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria, with testing such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) or whole genome sequencing (WGS).
Get a Free Consultation
If you or a family member became seriously ill after eating food or drinking water contaminated by E. coli, you might have cause to contact a lawyer who specializes in cases that involve the potentially dangerous pathogen.
Elliot Olsen is one of the best in the business. He has been helping people injured — or worse, killed — by E. coli for decades. His experience has taught him how to conduct the necessary investigation by asking the right questions.
E. coli in 2018
Thousands of Americans are sickened by E. coli bacteria yearly. Here is a brief look at the three E. coli outbreaks investigated last year by the CDC:
December: The second outbreak of the year linked to contaminated romaine lettuce continued to grow in mid-December. A Dec. 13 update by the CDC added seven cases, increasing the count to 59 people sickened in 15 states. Twenty-three victims have been hospitalized, and two developed HUS. Federal officials narrowed the growing region to the California counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Barbara, and the E. coli strain causing the outbreak was found on a farm in Santa Barbara County. The investigation had not been closed as of the first week of 2019.
September: The USDA and CDC announced that contaminated ground beef was the source of a nationwide outbreak in which one person died and 17 others sickened. More than 66 tons of ground beef products were recalled by Cargill Meat Solutions. The outbreak was declared over.
June: The first romaine lettuce outbreak of 2018 was called to a close by the CDC on June 28. Five people died in the outbreak, 96 were hospitalized, and a total of 210 were sickened in 36 states. The investigation concluded that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region was the source.