Contaminated Food Can Cause Serious Illness and Wrongful Death


March 17, 2011

Most Atlanta and Georgia residents have had the unpleasant experience of purchasing a food product or menu item from a local store or restaurant and suffering mild gastrointestinal distress. Incidents of foodborne illness are common, with over 76 million cases of food poisoning annually. Unfortunately, a foodborne illness often means more than minor distress that quickly subsides. Over 325,000 people per year suffer a foodborne illness serious enough to require hospitalization.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that there are at least 5,000 fatalities from foodborne illnesses per year, with some sources estimating that the actual number is closer to 9,000 deaths per year.

If you suffer serious illness caused by an unsafe food product because of contamination by a pathogen or presence of a foreign substance like glass, you may be entitled to seek recovery for your loss including medical expenses, loss of income, compensation for permanent disability and for pain and suffering. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys will pursue the best possible outcome in your case. We employ our best efforts on behalf of our clients as part of our ongoing goal to clearly establish our law firm as the top personal injury law firm in Atlanta and throughout the entire state of Georgia.

Food that is spoiled, contaminated or contains vermin parts, broken glass or foreign objects can be dangerous to a person’s health and well being and can cause serious injury or illness. Some common foodborne illnesses include but are not limited to the following:

  • E-coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Toxoplasmosis

Most food-processing companies and restaurants adhere to healthy sanitation procedures, but when this does not happen, unsuspecting customers can wind up consuming contaminated food or beverages. The food we eat can become contaminated from many sources throughout the production chain including the following:

  • Harmful microbes from animals
  • Vegetables that are sprayed with contaminated liquids
  • Food improperly stored or prepared
  • Food handlers with poor hygiene habits

In cases of minor intestinal distress, the cost of litigation often exceeds any damages likely to be awarded for a foodborne illness. However, many pathogens can cause serious illness which requires extended medical care, prolonged periods of disability and even wrongful death. Salmonella in particular has a high rate of fatalities and is the leading cause of foodborne fatalities. Along with Salmonella, E-coli, Listeria and Toxoplasmosis account for 85% of all food-related fatalities in the U.S.

If you suffer a serious foodborne illness, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Experts suggest requesting that your doctor conduct testing to identify the foodborne pathogen that caused your illness before antibiotics are administered. The administration of antibiotics may mask the pathogen so that it cannot be specifically identified. It is also a good idea to contact the health department, which may have received similar complaints. A health department can conduct an investigation, which may help trace the pathogen back to its food-based source. Any remaining portion of the food that may have caused the illness should also be preserved so that it can be tested for the pathogen that caused your illness.

It is unwise to attempt to litigate a food poisoning claim without the help and insight of an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer. Foodborne cases pose particularly challenging issues of causation, which can make them difficult to pursue. Many pathogens have an incubation period that can make it difficult to prove the source of the contaminated food product. At Montlick and Associates, we have been representing those who suffer personal injury or wrongful death throughout Georgia for over 25 years. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious foodborne illness, contact us to learn how our attorneys can help.

The Atlanta personal injury lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.