E. coli (Escherichia coli)

If you or a family member became seriously ill after eating food contaminated by Escherichia coli (better known as E. coli), you might have cause to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases that involve a foodborne illness.

Elliot Olsen is one of the best in the business. He has been helping people injured — or worse, killed — by E. coli for more than 15 years. His experience has taught him how to conduct the necessary investigation by asking the right questions.

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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 is suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious consequence of E. coli infection — 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.

(Note: HUS is a serious complication that occurs in 10 percent of E. coli cases. It can be deadly to children younger than 5, and not only requires hospitalization but can result in kidney failure, a kidney transplant, and even death.)

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).

What will you gain from filing a lawsuit?

When a diagnosis has been determined and the source of the illness has been pinpointed, Elliot will help you and your family decide what legal action to take. He will get the answers you need, and also 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.

What is E. 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 those infected with 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.

doctor and patient
Foodborne illness lawsuit

E. coli outbreaks

Thousands of Americans are sickened by E. coli bacteria yearly. Here is a list of 2018 outbreaks in the U.S.:

July: The Tennessee Department of Health said almost 550 people were sickened by E. coli after visiting the CLIMB Works zip line attraction in Gatlinburg. All victims reported drinking well water along the zip line course in mid-June.

June: The Knox County Health Department in Tennessee said in early July that two different strains of E. coli O157 were responsible for sickening 15 children in the Knoxville area. Nine of the children were hospitalized, and seven developed HUS. The E. coli came from French Broad Farm raw milk and goats kept by the Kids Place child-care center in Mentor.

May: An outbreak of four illnesses was linked to chicken pesto sandwiches served by Seattle-area Homegrown restaurants over the Memorial Day weekend.

March-May: A multi-state outbreak attributed to contaminated romaine lettuce was declared over, but the numbers continued to grow as of May 31. At that point, 197 people in 35 states had become ill, and 89 had been hospitalized. In addition, 26 victims had developed HUS, and four victims had died.