Restaurants owe a duty of care to their patrons; when a customer is sickened because of a contaminated food product, the company responsible for causing that illness may be made to pay to compensate the consumer. Damages in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit, such as one that may arise in this case, might include such things as hospital and medical bills, as well as money lost from an inability to work.
According to a recent report by MSNBC, government officials government health officials are investigating a growing outbreak of salmonella food poisoning possibly tied to restaurant sushi that may have sickened people across 19 states and the District of Columbia.
Salmonella is a form of bacteria generally found in cold- and warm-blooded animals. Infections usually arise following consumption of foods contaminated with the bacteria. Although all persons are at risk for developing salmonella poisoning, infants, the elderly, and adults with compromised or weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.
Salmonella contamination can arise from a number of sources, but commonly comes from such sources as infected food, poor kitchen hygiene, bodily fluids from sick individuals, and polluted water. Typical symptoms of Salmonella poisoning generally present in the form of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within six to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. In more serious cases, victims may develop symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting that can last up to a week.
To date, no deaths have yet been reported from this particular outbreak, but officials from the FDA have confirmed that the Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working jointly to determine the cause and the span of the outbreak. Although the FDA has not released the names of the restaurant or restaurants that distributed the infected food, reports suggest that the source of the disease was a ‘spicy tuna’ sushi roll.
Manufacturers of all types of consumer goods are responsible for ensuring that the products they distribute to the public are safe for human use. This is especially true when companies disseminate food. When injuries – or, as in this case, illnesses – arise from dangerous or infected products, the corporations or restaurants who manufacture or distribute the products may be held legally responsible for the injuries that result. Here, the restaurants serving the contaminated food would be liable.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report estimating that each year roughly 48 million people are sickened by a foodborne illness. Of those, 125,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 die after consuming contaminated foods purchased from retail stores or restaurants.
Victims of foodborne illnesses who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or death may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, if a manufacturer or distributer is responsible for the failure to contain the infection. Our Illinois personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling Illinois food poisoning cases, including a $4 million settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered from a foodborne illness, seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, an attorney may be able to apprise you of your rights under the law.