All too often we hear about people becoming sick from bacteria outbreaks from contaminated food. The most recent outbreak can be linked to Chipotle, the very popular fast-casual Mexican grill. Between this past October and December over 200 people fell ill from E.coli poisoning after eating at the restaurant chain. While this may not seem like a lot of people, foodborne diseases can still be very dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control reported that between 2009 and 2010, there were 1,526 outbreaks of foodborne diseases report in the United States. From these outbreaks, 29,444 people reported symptoms, which resulted in 1,184 people being hospitalized and 23 people died. So while we may think a stomach bug from food poisoning may be no big deal, it could actually end up costing you a lot.
You may be wondering what you should do if you eat contaminated food. Below you will find some simple steps to help you cover some of the important aspects of these situations.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Food poisoning can have serious and persistent symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. But, it can also cause other serious health issues like brain and nerve damage and arthritis. As soon as you notice symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Because there are different courses of treatment depending on what type of pathogen you have been exposed to, it is important to have a doctor test your blood or stool to identify and diagnose your illness. Testing is of paramount importance if you think you will be seeking legal action. Have these tests done as soon as possible in order to get an accurate snapshot of what his happening inside or your body. If possible, save any leftovers of the contaminated food for testing as well, this could help link your symptoms and the party responsible for your illness.
Document, Document, Document
It is imperative that you make a journal of everything you consumed in the days before you were exposed to the pathogen that made you sick. If possible, include all food and drink that, to the extent you can accurately remember, you consumed three to five days before you noticed symptoms. It is also important to document the symptoms your experience throughout your spell of illness. Keeping a journal with a high level of detail will help you down the road, especially if you are called to testify at trial.
Report Your Illness
Once your doctor confirms that you do have food poisoning and you are able to narrow down where you were exposed to the pathogen, it is in your best interest to contact the Health Department and the restaurant or store you purchased the food from. If necessary, escalate your complaint to the store or restaurant’s corporate office in order to make an official and proper complaint.
Contact An Attorney
Last, but not least, it is important to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in Philadelphia for an assessment of your legal rights to give you proper guidance on your available options.