If you or a family member have become seriously ill from eating food contaminated by Salmonella bacteria, you might have good reason to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases that involve a foodborne illness. Elliot Olsen is one such attorney. He has been helping people injured by Salmonella for two decades. His experience has taught him how to conduct the necessary investigation by asking the right questions.
Here are some considerations to help you decide whether an experienced attorney like Elliot can help:
How did you get sick?
The incubation period — the amount of time between eating food contaminated with Salmonella and the start 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 Salmonella, you might have a claim, and therefore a need to contact Elliot Olsen for a free consultation.
How serious was the illness?
If you or a loved one is sick for a week without seeing a doctor, it is likely not going to be worth hiring an attorney. If, however, hospitalization is required and it is determined that the cause is Salmonella, then you probably have a case, whether the illness is part of an outbreak or not.
This is the time to consult Elliot, who 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 made?
To confirm a diagnosis of Salmonella poisoning, a doctor will send a stool sample to a laboratory for testing.
After a diagnosis has been made, what then?
Having Elliot represent your interests is critical. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, he will ensure that the doctor or lab reports it to your 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 conduct a test called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), which helps to isolate and identify the specific genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that made you sick.
Why file a lawsuit?
When you have a diagnosis of Salmonella poisoning and the source of the contamination has been determined, Elliot will guide your family through the process, helping you decide what legal action to take. He will get the answers you and your family need, and subsequently seek the proper compensation for your family’s pain and distress, including having medical bills paid or lost income recovered.
Salmonella bacteria are responsible for as many as 1.2 million foodborne illnesses in the United States annually, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Salmonellosis affects the intestinal tract, and is one of the most common types of food poisoning year in and year out.
Salmonellosis can develop anywhere from 12 hours to three days after consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella. As with most types of foodborne illnesses, symptoms can include:
- abdominal pain and vomiting
Symptoms can last up to a week. Most people recover without treatment, but in some cases, the diarrhea can become so severe that hospitalization is required.
The CDC estimates that of those 1.2 million annual cases of infection, 23,000 victims will require hospitalization, and approximately 450 of them will die. People most at risk for complications are children under the age of 5, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Complications from salmonellosis can occur when the Salmonella bacteria enter the bloodstream. Those complications can produce conditions such as:
- meningitis: inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- endocarditis: infection of the heart’s inner lining, usually involving the heart valves.
- osteomyelitis: bone inflammation that usually targets the legs, arms, or spine.
- reactive arthritis: also known as Reiter’s syndrome, a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in response to a Salmonella infection in another part of the body.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for contracting salmonellosis because their immune systems are suppressed due to hormonal changes. A pregnant woman who becomes ill from Salmonella can suffer a miscarriage, go into labor prematurely, or experience stillbirth.
Can I sue for Salmonella poisoning?
Have you eaten food contaminated with Salmonella and gotten so sick that you needed to be hospitalized and missed work? If you, a family member or friend are responsible for producing the meal that made you sick, the answer is no. But if you became ill after eating at a restaurant that was negligent in its handling and/or preparation of your food, then the answer is: Absolutely.
To pursue a lawsuit, you will want to hire Elliot Olsen, who has almost three decades of experience in personal injury cases, many involving Salmonella poisoning. He knows the questions to ask to help you and your family get the peace of mind and compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What can I gain from filing a lawsuit?
When a diagnosis of salmonellosis has been determined and the source of your illness has been pinpointed, it’s time to hire Elliot. He will help you and your family decide what legal action to take; he will get the answers to all your questions; and he will seek the proper amount of compensation for your family’s pain and distress.
What kinds of food can be affected?
Many different types of food can carry the bacteria, including dairy, meat, fish, raw fruits and vegetables, spices, and nuts. In 2015 and 2016, the CDC reported nine outbreaks in the United States due to the following contaminated foods:
- alfalfa sprouts
- a packaged organic shake and meal product
- nut butter spread
- frozen chicken
- frozen raw tuna.
How to avoid Salmonella at home
You have no control over the quality of the food you eat at a restaurant, but you do have control over food you prepare at home. To prevent Salmonella, follow these helpful tips:
- Wash your hands before cooking and after being around animals.
- Keep food-preparation surfaces clean.
- Always wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Keep raw vegetables away from raw meat, poultry, and eggs.
- Always cook meat and poultry to the proper temperature.
- Drink only pasteurized milk and juices.
Salmonella has had a busy year around the United States. Here is a look at some of the most recent headlines:
- On July 26, the CDC released its final update on a pre-cut melon outbreak sickening people with Salmonella. The final tally: 77 ill and 36 hospitalized in nine states.
- On July 19, an outbreak connected to raw turkey was announced by the CDC. The outbreak has affected 90 people in 26 states, hospitalizing 40 of them.
- On July 17, the Hy-Vee grocery store chain voluntarily recalled its Spring Pasta Salad after tests revealed it was contaminated with Salmonella. As of August 1, the outbreak had sickened 79 people in nine states, with 18 victims requiring hospitalization.
- On July 12, a CDC update on an outbreak due to contaminated Kellogg’s Honey Smacks showed the following numbers: 100 ill and 30 hospitalized in 33 states. The FDA announced in mid-June that Kellogg’s had voluntarily recalled 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce boxes of Honey Smacks.
- On July 10, Kitty’s – an Italian-American restaurant in North Reading, MA – was ordered closed after nearly 40 people became ill.
- On June 14, the CDC declared an outbreak from contaminated eggs as over. The final tally: 45 ill and 11 hospitalized in 10 states.
- On May 31, at least four cases of Salmonella infections in Minnesota and Wisconsin were linked to chicken distributed at Ruby’s Pantry pop-up locations.
- On May 24, an outbreak linked to Salmonella-tainted kratom, a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute, was declared over. The final tally: 199 ill and 50 hospitalized in 41 states.
- On May 18, an outbreak was announced in Georgia in which at least 70 people were sickened and four hospitalized. The outbreak has been linked to two events catered by Plain Nuts Catering & Deli.
- Also on May 18, the CDC issued its final update on an outbreak due to tainted dried coconut in two products: International Harvest Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw, and Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic. The final tally: 14 ill and three hospitalized in eight states.
- On April 6, an outbreak attributed to contaminated chicken salad sold in Fareway grocery stores – and produced by Triple T Specialty Meats – was called to a close by the CDC. The final tally: 265 ill and 94 hospitalized in eight states. One person died.