ClickCease What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for Food Poisoning?

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for Food Poisoning?

Lawyers Specializing in Food Poisoning Claims

If you’re suffering as a victim of food poisoning, you will want to consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience with foodborne illness claims and product liability. They specialize in representing people who have suffered harm or illness due to the negligence of food producers, manufacturers, distributors, or restaurants. Food poisoning lawyers are knowledgeable about food safety regulations, improper food handling, and illness-causing bacteria. They are skilled at investigating, negotiating, and litigating cases involving food poisoning.

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A DC food poisoning lawyer can help individuals who have suffered foodborne illness or injury due to eating contaminated food navigate the legal process. They can file a personal injury claim, and work to seek fair compensation for victims’ losses including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

What Exactly Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by consuming food or beverages that are tainted by contaminants such as harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or mold. These contaminants can cause a range of food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and dehydration.

woman holding stomach after eating burgerIt can occur in multiple ways including when food is not cooked or stored properly, or when it comes into contact with contaminated surfaces, equipment, or even utensils. Some common sources of food poisoning include undercooked or raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, and contaminated fruits and vegetables.

Some serious cases of food poisoning, such as botulism poisoning, can be catastrophic, particularly for our youngest population, our eldest population, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems. In the more severe cases, ingesting contaminated food can lead to hospitalization, and in rare cases, it can be fatal.

An estimated 600 million people become ill and 420,000 people die every year from contaminated food. In the United States, approximately 48 million people become ill, 128,000 require hospitalization, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses.

Keep in mind, however, that many cases of food poisoning go unreported each year. Not everyone who experiences symptoms of food poisoning seeks medical attention or reports the illness to the appropriate authorities. Furthermore, some cases of food poisoning may be misdiagnosed or attributed to other illnesses, leading to underreported cases.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning?

Proving food poisoning can be difficult because the symptoms that present can be caused by a variety of factors, and it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the illness. Not all cases of food poisoning can definitively be proven.

Another component that makes proving food poisoning hard is the symptoms of food poisoning can vary widely among multiple parties and may not appear until hours or even days after ingesting contaminated food.

Five Signs of Severe Food Poisoning

Do you have any of these symptoms? Go see a doctor immediately:

  • Vomiting so often you can’t keep food down
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever higher than 102F
  • Diarrhea for more than three days

Confirmation of food poisoning can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Laboratory tests to identify the specific type of bacteria, virus, or other bugs responsible for the illness.
    Identification of the tainted food: If you can identify the food that made you ill, this can be critical in proving food poisoning. If possible, keep any leftover food and the packaging.
  • Calling your local health department to possibly link a case of food poisoning to a specific source, such as a restaurant or food manufacturer. More specifically, identifying a commonality such as the same place where multiple people ate and became ill, or the same food that multiple people ate and became ill.
  • Check the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any known outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
    Keep in mind that even if you’re able to positively prove that you have food poisoning, that doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily proven the source.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Food Poisoning?

You can sue for food poisoning against anyone responsible for serving or selling you contaminated food. If you believe that your food poisoning was caused by the negligence of a restaurant, food manufacturer, or other food providers, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages.

To bring about a food poisoning lawsuit under a negligence claim, you must be able to prove that the food provider breached their duty of care owed to you as their consumer. Additionally, you must be able to prove that this breached duty of care occurred because the food provider failed to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their products and that this breach was the direct cause of your illness.

The nature of food poisoning cases is challenging. It’s a process best undertaken with the help of an experienced attorney who is familiar with food safety, and causes of food poisoning, and has handled food contamination cases.

Is Food Poisoning a Criminal or Civil Case?

Depending on the circumstances, a food poisoning case can be both a criminal and a civil matter.

Food poisoning lawsuits are most commonly civil cases. A victim of food poisoning files a civil suit to recover compensation for damages such as medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and other related costs.

A criminal food poisoning lawsuit may be brought against a food manufacturer, restaurant owner, or another food provider if their actions or negligence led to the illness or death of their consumer. Criminal charges may also be filed against individuals who intentionally or recklessly tamper with food products or restaurants that knowingly serve contaminated food that causes illness to their customers.

What is the most common foodborne illness?

food poisoning close up e coliAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the top five germs that cause foodborne illnesses are as follows:


Norovirus is spread through contact with contaminated food or water, or by coming into contact with surfaces or objects that are contaminated with the virus. It is a highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It’s the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans.

  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain. Fever, headache, and body aches are also possible.
  • Common sources: Leafy greens, fresh fruits, shellfish (such as raw oysters), contaminated water, infected person, and touching surfaces that have the virus on them.
Salmonella (non-typhoidal)

Non-typhoidal Salmonella is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness worldwide. It’s a bacteria that can be found in a variety of animals, including poultry, livestock, and pets. Salmonella infections occur when a person consumes contaminated food or water or comes into contact with infected animals or their environment.

  • Symptoms: Diarrhea (can be bloody), fever, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Common sources: Raw or undercooked chicken, turkey, and other meats; eggs; unpasteurized (raw) milk and juice; raw fruits and vegetables, many animals, including backyard poultry, reptiles and amphibians, and rodents (pocket pets).
Clostridium perfringens

This bacterium is commonly found in the environment and the intestines of humans and animals. It produces spores that allow it to survive in harsh environments and remain viable for long periods.

  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, and stomach cramps that last for less than 24 hours. Vomiting and fever are not common.
  • Common sources: Meat, poultry, gravies, and other foods cooked in large batches and held at an unsafe temperature.

Campylobacter is a leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. Campylobacter bacteria are typically found in the intestinal tracts of animals, particularly in poultry. People can become infected with Campylobacter by consuming contaminated food or water, or by coming into contact with the feces of infected animals.

  • Symptoms: Diarrhea (often bloody), fever, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Common sources: Raw or undercooked poultry, raw (unpasteurized) milk, contaminated water, and pets (including cats and dogs).
Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria commonly found on the skin and mucous membranes of humans and animals.

  • Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea.
  • Common sources: Foods that are not cooked after handling, such as sliced meats, puddings, pastries, and sandwiches.

Foods that commonly cause food poisoning

  • Poultry: most commonly, chicken.
  • Vegetables and leafy greens: most commonly, spinach, lettuce, and kale.
  • Fish and shellfish: most commonly, raw fish, oysters, and other filter-feeding shellfish.
  • Rice: most commonly, rice that is cooked and left out at room temperature.
  • Deli meat: most commonly, ham, bacon, salami, and hot dogs.
  • Unpasteurized dairy: most commonly, milk and cheese.
  • Eggs: most commonly, unpasteurized, raw, or undercooked eggs.
  • Fruit: most commonly, berries and fruits that grow on the ground, like most melons.
  • Sprouts: most commonly, alfalfa and mung bean sprouts.

Regardless of whether one of the above foods causes food poisoning, the best way to avoid food poisoning at all is to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean and disinfected
  • Cook food thoroughly
  • Store food properly in the refrigerator or freezer and separate foods to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Use leftover food within two days and reheat it thoroughly before eating.
  • Use safe water to wash produce, and to make ice and beverages.
  • Be cautious with high-risk foods such as raw or undercooked food and unpasteurized products.
  • Check expiration dates on food products and discard any that are past their expiration date.

Is organic food less likely to cause food poisoning?

Organic foods aren’t necessarily “safer” than non-organic foods when it comes to food poisoning. Regardless of the type of food you’re eating, proper food handling and preparation techniques are crucial in preventing foodborne illness cases.

However, organic farming practices may reduce the risk of contamination compared to conventional farming methods.

There is no strong evidence that suggests organic food is better for you. That said, organic farming may be good for the environment and can reduce your exposure to pesticides. But, ultimately, eating more fruits and vegetables is more important for your health than choosing organic options.

Choose Regan Zambri Long as Your Food Poisoning Lawyer

Food Poisoning Lawyer Sal Zambri working at deskRegan Zambri Long’s personal injury attorneys are very knowledgeable about foodborne illness claims in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Food poisoning cases can be hard to prove, but our lawyers will investigate your case to prove the negligence of the restaurant, cafeteria, business, or another food provider that sold you contaminated food.

With Salvatore J. Zambri as the lead attorney, our team will be sure to advocate on your behalf to our greatest abilities. He has decades of civil trial experience in Washington area courts and has won millions of dollars on behalf of his clients in their personal injury cases.

Call Regan Zambri Long for your no-obligation, free consultation today. We are here to help you resolve your legal issue and to help you receive full and fair compensation in your personal injury lawsuit.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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