Food poisoning can have serious consequences for victims. Those who have suffered serious harm from food poisoning should discuss the incident with an experienced Massachusetts attorney. At Sweeney Merrigan Law, we’ve seen how devastating negligence can be. When negligence occurs in the food industry, victims are helpless against it. If you or a loved one suffered because of food poisoning, you may be able to hold the negligent party responsible.
Many times when people begin feeling symptoms of food poisoning, they mistake it for a simple stomach bug. Here are some ways to determine whether you are experiencing food poisoning or a stomach bug.
The stomach bug is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines that is caused by a virus. Stomach bug symptoms will generally begin one to two days after you have been exposed. If you have a stomach bug you may experience diarrhea or constipation, fever, vomiting, nausea, intestinal cramps, joint stiffness, or weight loss. Usually, cases of the stomach bug will go away in a couple of days, but it is possible you may feel sick for as many as 10 days.
Food poisoning is a far more common ailment than the stomach bug. Approximately 1 in 6 people in the United States experience food poisoning every year. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. You will usually begin to show symptoms quickly – 2 to 6 hours after you have been exposed to it. Some of the symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, sweating, swelling of the eyes, difficulty breathing, and excessive thirst. Food poisoning symptoms rarely last more than 2 days after you have eaten the contaminated food. It can occur in anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, and elderly people.
The agony of food poisoning can be extreme. However, most of the time, the issue resolves itself within 24-48 hours. If this is the case, it’s unlikely that a lawsuit will be successful, because the plaintiff can’t show lasting harm. If, on the other hand, there is a death or hospitalization as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Of the 76 million people who experience food poisoning each year in the United States, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 die. If this has happened to a loved one and you want to file a lawsuit, there are two things you need to prove to the court: the food you or your loved one consumed was contaminated in some way, and that the contamination in the food was the cause of the food poisoning. The level of severity of your illness will be a large factor in whether it is worth filing a lawsuit and how much you could be compensated. It can be difficult to prove that the food is the reason for your illness, especially if significant time has passed since you ate it.
There are certain foods that are more likely to cause food poisoning. Contaminated produce causes 46% of illnesses and 23% of deaths. Meat and poultry that is contaminated or has not been cooked enough is responsible for 22% of illnesses and 29% of deaths. Dairy and eggs cause 20% of illnesses and 15% of deaths. The final food group that most commonly causes food poisoning is fish and shellfish, which is responsible for 6% of illnesses and 6% of deaths.
If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning due to another person’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated. Our attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law understand the Massachusetts laws about food poisoning, and can give you determined and caring representation. Contact Sweeney Merrigan Law if you want to pursue a food poisoning lawsuit in Massachusetts.