INSTRUCTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE SUFFERED FROM FOOD POISONING By following a few important steps, you can help medical and legal professionals assist you better when you have suffered from food poisoning. Alternatively, you may find that you need to assist a family member who has contracted a foodborne illness and is unable to follow the advice given here without your help. The important thing is to protect your health and your legal rights, or those of your loved ones.
Regarding Your Health:
- See your doctor.
If you feel that your physical symptoms are related to the consumption of food, whether from a restaurant or in your or someone else’s home, you should visit your doctor. Of course, if you are experiencing severe symptoms you should consult a doctor or visit an emergency room immediately.
- Report food poisoning to your county health department.
By reporting your illness to your county health department, you are helping them identify and investigate an outbreak and prevent others from becoming ill. Their investigation can bring an outbreak to a halt and help determine what went wrong.
- Have a stool sample taken.
Be sure that your doctor, or the hospital where you are receiving treatment, takes a stool sample to identify the foodborne pathogen responsible for your symptoms. Additional testing called PFGE can determine if the pathogen that caused your illness is the same strain that has caused a particular outbreak of foodborne illness. PFGE provides a DNA “fingerprint” of the pathogen. It is a powerful epidemiologic tool that can link individual victims (or a food product) to a specific outbreak.
- Follow your doctor’s advice.
Your health is your doctor’s primary concern. By following your doctor’s advice, you not only show your commitment to your well-being, but you also make it possible for your doctor to develop a record of your condition. Do not miss doctor’s appointments. Do not fail to inform your doctor about your symptoms. Always be honest with your doctor; if you cannot remember something, say so.
- Keep food samples.
Refrigerate suspected food (either prepared meal or ingredients) in a bag or plastic container and label “Danger: Do Not Eat.” A food sample may not be necessary to prove that you have suffered from food poisoning (especially if a stool sample has been taken), but it may be helpful nonetheless. Contact your county board of health and let them know that you have a sample of the suspect food. They can do the necessary testing.
- Keep track of your records.
If you consult a law firm, your attorney may ask you for contact information for all of your doctors, as well as for information regarding any hospital stays and medical bills. If you feel that you have contracted food poisoning at a restaurant, your attorney may also ask for the receipt from your meal. Remember not to throw any documentation away.
Regarding Your Case:
- Talk to your attorney.
Your attorney is the best person to represent you. It is important that you do not talk to anyone else who asks you for a written or oral statement without first speaking to your attorney.
- Keep yourself informed.
Keep up-to-date on the status of your case. If you have questions about the timeline of your case, possible outcomes, your role in the ongoing process or any other aspect of your case, do not hesitate to ask your attorney.
- Know your rights.
Your attorney can help you understand what compensation may be due you as a result of food poisoning. While each case is different, individuals who have suffered from foodborne illnesses have been compensated for their medical expenses, for pain and suffering, and for lost wages, for example.
If you or a family member has suffered from food poisoning, and you have a question about your legal rights, you can request a free case evaluation from our firm by clicking on free case evaluation. You may also contact us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.