How Do I Know Whether I Have an E. Coli Claim?
A treating physician usually is the first point of contact for victims of food poisoning. He or she can confirm infection by E. coli bacteria and report it to public health officials. After that, health officials often contact an infected person. Simply having a confirmed E. coli infection makes it likely you have a food poisoning case in Oregon.
For instance, if a restaurant serves E. coli-contaminated food, it can be concluded the restaurant did not prepare the food properly. A restaurant is responsible for never serving contaminated food. Likewise, if a package of spinach leaves is contaminated with E. coli, the grower of the spinach most likely did not follow standard safety procedures to prevent contamination.
Under the law, whether purchased on a plate, in a jar, or in a package, a portion of food is a product. Contaminated food is a defective product. For health and safety reasons, the law prohibits sale of defective products to the public.
There may be a significant likelihood that you have a food poisoning case, but proving it can be difficult – it requires an extensive investigation. It is imperative that the source of the contamination be isolated. If the source cannot be determined, you might not be able to pursue your case. This is the equivalent of having your car stolen by a thief the police don’t ever catch.
To discuss your options and help you determine whether you have a case, our attorneys recommend talking with an experienced food poisoning lawyer if you have contracted E. coli poisoning.
What Should I Do if I Think I Have an E. Coli Case?
Focus on getting better first. With any illness, your top priority is your health. When you are able, record the following key facts for the days before your infection:
- What you ate
- When you ate it
- Where you ate it
- How it was prepared
If health officials have not already contacted you, you should call them. You can prompt an investigation and find out whether other recent E. coli poisonings are reported in your geographical area. We also recommend contacting an experienced Oregon E. coli attorney to ensure the preservation of evidence and the protection of your rights.
How Would an Investigation Work in My Case?
A set method exists for investigations of food poisoning outbreaks. An investigation usually goes as follows:
- Close together in time, some number of food poisoning reports arrive to public health officials from treating physicians in a community, or in a close grouping of communities.
- Noting the geographical grouping, officials obtain stool samples from the patients in the group.
- Laboratory scientists use the PFGE process on samples to isolate a single bacterial strain common to the cases
- Confirming that all the doctors’ reports concern the same strain of E. coli tends to indicate a single source for the outbreak.
- Interviewing each of the infected patients, investigators learn what and where those persons ate during the period before they fell ill.
- Comparing interview results, investigators often can spot a recurring elements: frequently interviewees will name the same store or farm, or the same purchased product. Then, that product or location on which accounts agree becomes a candidate for the source of the E. coli infections in the outbreak.
- With that, health inspectors promptly visit a named location or locations where a named food product was sold to a person who later fell ill. Quite often, inspectors will find traces of the very same E. coli strain isolated in the outbreak. Instead or additionally, they may find violations of federal regulations designed to keep restaurant patrons safe from infectious bacteria.
- On this basis, officials can conclude that that food-selling location was the source of the outbreak of E. coli poisonings. The owner of the food outlet can be named as a defendant in an E. coli poisoning case.
Please contact our attorneys at 877-928-9147 with any questions you have about your E. coli poisoning case. You submit your information in our Contact Form and we will respond to you.