You may have a listeriosis food poisoning claim if you were sickened after you ate food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a dangerous pathogen that can cause brain damage, organ failure and wrongful death. If you have a claim, you can sue for compensation. Because of the severity of this illness, these cases can result in multi-million-dollar settlements. We have obtained settlements of over $2 million for a number of our clients.
Listeriosis Food Poisoning Compensation
The first step to getting compensation for listeriosis is to find the source of the illness. This is generally a food product contaminated with L. monocytogenes bacteria, and in most cases the product was purchased at a retail store (grocery store or mega retailer like Walmart, Target or Costco). In some cases (particularly with sprouts), the product was purchased by a restaurant and used for menu items, like sandwiches or salads.
If you or your doctor contacted your local health department (which should be done), health officials will interview the person in your family who is sick, if possible, and any other family members who know what and where the person ate in the month before becoming sick. You can see a sample questionnaire. If there is an outbreak of illnesses, all of this data is analyzed to find connections. For example, if most of the people sickened ate a deli sandwich using meat processed in the same plant, that is evidence that the meat is the source of the illnesses.
Once there is evidence pointing to the source of the listeriosis, traceback investigations need to be done (at least in most cases) to find out where the food item came from, where it was grown and processed. This is important both for food safety reasons and to determine all of the businesses legally responsible for the illness.
The third step is taking legal action. In most cases, our Listeria lawyers sending a demand letter to the companies legally responsible for the illness. There may be some negotiating, and in some cases, there is a quick settlement. In some cases, a lawsuit has to be filed. This is where you sue for compensation. The negotiations continue, and there are usually mediation sessions. Many of our cases settle right before trial, but we always assume there will be a trial and prepare accordingly. Doing anything less would not be good for our clients.
How an Outbreak Investigation Can Affect Your Claim
In most cases, it will be extremely difficult to get compensation for listeriosis unless your case is part of an outbreak of illnesses linked to a food product.
When a doctor has a positive diagnoses, a sample of the bacterium that made you sick should be sent to the local or state health department for DNA testing and analysis. In some cases, the CDC laboratories do the work. Results from these tests are entered into a national database maintained by the CDC called PulseNet. This database is constantly monitored to determine if there is an outbreak of illnesses, which means 2 or more people sickened by genetically similar pathogens.
When an outbreak is detected, health officials investigate to determine the source of the infections. The CDC has published helpful information on the agency’s website: “Timeline for Linking a Case of Listeria Infection to an Outbreak.”
If your illness is confirmed as part of an outbreak and the source of that outbreak is found, the evidence uncovered by the CDC can generally be obtained by your lawyer and used in your lawsuit against the companies responsible for the contamination and sale of the contaminated food. Call us at 1-888-377-8900 or fill out our free online consultation form.