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.
- On June 14, the FDA announced that Kellogg’s Honey Smacks was being voluntarily recalled after the CDC linked the cereal to a Salmonella outbreak in which 73 people have been sickened in 31 states. Twenty-four people have been hospitalized.
- On June 8, pre-cut melon sold at numerous retail outlets was linked to an outbreak in which 60 people have been sickened and 31 hospitalized, the CDC reported.
- 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 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.
- On May 10, an outbreak attributed to contaminated eggs grew to 35 illnesses in nine states, with 11 victims hospitalized. Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms issued an April recall of more than 206 million eggs because they might be contaminated with Salmonella.
- 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, but not before 265 people had become sick in eight states. Ninety-four victims were hospitalized, and one person died. The eight states affected: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
- An outbreak linked to Salmonella-tainted kratom, a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute, continued to grow. By April 6, it had sickened 132 people in 38 states, and hospitalized 38 victims.
- Potentially tainted dried coconut prompted the national recall of two products linked to an outbreak in which 13 people became ill across eight states. The products: International Harvest Organic Go Smile! Dried Coconut Raw, and Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic.
- Health officials in Colorado investigated an outbreak in which 35 people were sickened by food produced by Burrito Delight restaurants in Fort Lupton and Dacono.
- An outbreak from November 2017 in which one person died and three were hospitalized came to light in Aurora, CO. The outbreak was traced to the “family combo” at La California restaurant. A total of 33 people were sickened.
- A multi-state outbreak was tied to Jimmy John’s sprouts after two Illinois residents became sick in late December. A total of eight people were sickened, including five in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota.
- Numerous organizations investigated an outbreak linked to frozen shredded coconut in which 27 people were sickened in nine states. Six people were hospitalized.