Can I Sue for Shigellosis Food Poisoning?
Yes, if your case of shigellosis can be linked to a restaurant or other business. Most of our cases have involved illness from food served at national chain restaurants. Sprouts are the most high risk food for this illness, and sandwiches and subs served with sprouts and other fresh vegetables have been the source of many outbreaks.
Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Maybe not. In some of our cases, the company that sold the unsafe food settles before a lawsuit is filed. This is can happen when the evidence against the company is extremely strong. When our lawyers get a case, they first send a “demand letter” to every company they think is legally responsible. This letter outlines the facts and law involved in the case, and it asks the company to pay a specific amount of money. This is the first step in the negotiating process. In most cases our lawyers meet with company lawyers several times before a settlement is reached.
If negotiations fail, we file a lawsuit.
What is Shigellosis?
Shigellosis is an acute bacterial infection of the lining of the intestines caused by Shigella bacteria. In the United States, S. sonnei is the most common Shigella bacteria. Other strains include S. flexneri and S. dysenteria. S. gastroenteritis and S. enteritis.
The bacteria is released from the intestines into the infected persons stools, which is why stools are tested for the presence of Shigella when diagnosing shigellosis. When an infected person does not wash his or her hands adequately, contaminated stool can then contaminate food, water or the hands of another person.
Outbreaks of this illness are associated with poor sanitation, contaminated food and water, and crowded living conditions. There are about 18,000 cases of shigellosis per year in the United States. The condition is most commonly seen in day care centers, but outbreaks have been associated with restaurants, including a recent shigellosis outbreak associated with a Subway restaurant in Lombard, Illinois.
What are the Symptoms?
Getting just a little bit of the Shigella bacteria into your mouth is enough to cause symptoms.
Symptoms of shigellosis usually develop about 1 to 7 days (average 3 days) after you come in contact with the bacteria. Symptoms include:
- Acute (sudden) abdominal pain or cramping
- fever, which may cause seizures
- Blood, mucus, or pus in stool
- Crampy rectal pain (tenemus)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Watery diarrhea
What are the Complications and Can I Get Money for Them?
If you have sufficient evidence to sue and you have or had a complication, you should discuss with your lawyer whether you can get money them. We have won multi-millions for clients with severe complications.
Complications of shigellosis may include:
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
- Neurological problems, including fever-induced seizures and encephalopathy
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a severe illness that can result in death. This is very rare with shigellosis patients. Our lawyers are some of the few in the United States who have won money for clients in HUS lawsuits involving personal injury and wrongful death.
Complications of HUS include the following:
- Hemolytic anemia and associated blood complications;
- Abnormal kidney function;
- Kidney failure (renal failure) that may require a kidney transplant (renal transplant) – illness accompanying kidney failure is called uremia (develops when urea and other waste products are retained in the blood);
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Respiratory disease syndrome;
- Heart problems, including myocardial infarction, cardio myopathy, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure;
- Cortical blindness, caused by damage to the visual area in the brain’s occipital cortex;
- Thrombocytopenia; and
- Death (legally, this would give rise to a wrongful death claim).
Our Shigella outbreak lawyers generally sue out these cases as individual lawsuits because we have found that our clients get more money this way instead of as part of a class action suit. These lawsuits are generally against a restaurant. Contact us if you have a diagnosis.