E. coli Lawsuit FAQ

Can You Sue For Getting E. coli?

Yes, you can sue for getting E. coli and for many other foodborne illnesses – but it is not as straightforward as you may think.

Food poisoning cases are often complex, so it’s important to find an attorney with significant experience in foodborne illness litigation. For example, the source of the contamination needs to be traced back to its origin and then identified – there may be multiple defendants who were included in the path of the contamination.

What Is E. coli?

  1. coli is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. The harmless strains are a normal part of the digestive process, but some kinds can make you very sick with diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and occasionally a slight fever. While most cases resolve on their own after a few days with no lasting effects or treatment, young children and elderly adults have a higher risk of developing a severe complication from an E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure and even death.

It’s estimated that about 265,000 cases of E. coli infection occur in the US each year and about 100 people die as a result.

What is an E. coli Lawsuit?

An E. coli lawsuit is a lawsuit filed on behalf of a person who has become ill with E. coli after consuming contaminated food or water, or another contaminated product.

An E. coli lawsuit can be filed against food producers, manufacturers, and distributors who sold the contaminated goods to supermarkets and restaurants where they were purchased by consumers. The consumer can also file a private lawsuit against restaurant owners or other parties who served them the contaminated food.

What do I need to Prove in My E. coli Lawsuit?

  1. That you became ill with symptoms of an E. coli infection after consuming contaminated food or water, or another contaminated product.
  2. The food or water was contaminated with one of four types of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC O157 or STEC non-O157).
  3. The source of the contaminated food or water that caused the illness was traced to a particular food manufacturer, distributor, retail store, or restaurant.
  4. The infected food or water was not contaminated during transportation or through the actions of the consumer.

How Do I Prove That The Food Was Contaminated?

In order to prove that the food was contaminated,  the plaintiff needs evidence of the source of the E. coli. This can include records showing where food was grown, records from previous outbreaks in the same area linked to the same producers or distribution channels, and any tests that show that samples of the food taken after you ate it were positive for E. coli contamination.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For My E. coli Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations is the time within which you must file your lawsuit. If you wait too long, under certain circumstances the courts can bar you from filing a claim forever. The E. coli statute of limitations in every state varies depending on the nature of the case and other factors so it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Generally, state laws give you two to four years to file your E. coli lawsuit after the date of your illness.

What Can I Recover if I Win My E. coli Lawsuit?

Compensation for damages can be the following:

1) Non-Economic Damages:

These are damages that do not have a specific dollar amount attached to them but are generally considered to be things like pain and suffering.

2) Economic Damages:

These are damages that can be measured with a certain dollar amount. They include your medical expenses, lost wages from time missed at work due to being unable to perform your job duties or being too ill to go to work, and your diminished earning capacity.

3) Punitive Damages:

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions resulted in great harm to the plaintiff. The law recognizes that even though compensatory damages are meant to put the injured person back into his previous situation financially, emotionally, and physically, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for particularly vile or despicable behavior.

What Entitles Someone To File An E. coli Lawsuit?

Anyone who has experienced damage due to an E. coli infection can file an E. coli lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or supplier of the contaminated product. Proving that the food was contaminated with E. coli can be difficult, but there are usually ways to obtain evidence of where it originated.

Are there different types of E. coli Lawsuits?

Yes, there are different types of lawsuits. A food poisoning lawyer can help you determine which one best fits your circumstances and assist you in filing a claim:

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits can be filed by anyone who has been injured by contaminated E. coli infected food and can provide medical proof of the injury. The types of damages that may be recovered include economic losses such as lost wages and medical bills, and non-economic losses such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Wrongful death from an E. coli infection is a lawsuit filed by family members of a deceased person who died from contamination in certain food products. In order to file this type of claim, the family must have been financially dependent on the deceased or have incurred funeral expenses as a result of death. There are state laws that determine when and how someone has the right to bring forth such a lawsuit.

Product Liability Lawsuit

Product liability lawsuits can be filed against the distributor, manufacturer and supplier of a defective or contaminated product. There must be evidence that the plaintiff has been harmed by the contaminated food in order for a product liability claim to be filed.

Do I need a lawyer to file an E. coli claim?

It is not required, but it is recommended to hire a lawyer to handle a claim of this nature. It is a complicated process that involves gathering a variety of evidence and specific knowledge in order to prove your case in court, which can be overwhelming for the average person who has been sickened by E. coli. A qualified E. coli attorney will have the necessary resources to ensure successful resolution to your claim for damages or injuries.

Some of the benefits of hiring a professional attorney are:

  1. They can represent and provide a strong defense for you in court.
  2. They deal with the insurance company and adjuster on your behalf.
  3. Gather the necessary evidence to prove your claim.
  4. They will help you get a settlement that is fair to the extent of your injuries or damages suffered.

What can I do to help my lawyer build my E. coli claim?

Providing your lawyer with facts and evidence such as copies of medical bills and receipts or dates and times you were in the hospital can be of tremendous help to a lawyer preparing your defense. Records for any lost wages due to missed work, including letters from employers confirming this information and an estimate of how much money you’ve lost to date help paint a clearer picture for a jury of your losses and damages done to you.

How much can I win in an E. coli Lawsuit?

The compensation varies both in number and in nature due to the different claims filed against the defendants. The damages that can be recovered in a personal injury claim include economic losses such as lost wages and medical bills, and non-economic losses such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include funeral expenses, loss of financial support provided by the deceased, loss of the deceased’s companionship, pain and suffering of family members, and damages for emotional distress. We recommend you connect with a food poisoning lawyer to discuss the details of your potential case.

How do I find an E. coli Lawyer to file my E. coli Lawsuit?

You can fill out our form here to connect you with a qualified food poisoning attorney. You can also contact your state bar or do an online search of lawyers who specialize in food poisoning claims. You can ask friends and family if they know any lawyers who specialize in E. coli infections, or you can read reviews of lawyers online to learn which ones are highly recommended

Seek medical attention

If you have a fever over 102 degrees, bloody stool, or other severe symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately.

Legal Assistance

If you are a victim of food poisoning caused by someone else’s negligence you may be entitled to financial compensation through a food poisoning lawsuit.