Despite attempts to educate restaurant workers and managers about the dangers of foodborne illness, food poisoning and disease outbreaks remain a constant threat. Our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers can hold restaurants and casinos responsible for incidences of food poisoning if the attorney can prove negligence in food handling or safety procedures.
The Cost Of Food Poisoning
The CDC estimates that at least 1 in 6 Americans will experience foodborne illness each year. Of the 48 million people who become ill, more than 128,000 will be hospitalized, and more than 3000 die as a result of their illness.
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The Costs (continued)
A further study by the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found foodborne illness costs Americans:
- $7 billion in medical expenses
- More than $3 billion in time lost from work and productivity
- Decreased quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Functional disability
Without injury lawyers in Las Vegas, victims of foodborne illness contracted at restaurants are left to bear the entire financial burden of their situation.
There are four foodborne illnesses that account for over 75 percent of all cases in the United States.
Often referred to as a stomach virus or a “24 hour flu”, norovirus infections are the most common type of food poisoning in Nevada. Patients with a norovirus infection typically suffer from:
- Stomach Pain
In most cases, symptoms only last for a day or two; however, dehydration is a serious concern. If the norovirus infection triggers dehydration, the victim may spend days in the hospital or require substantive medical care.
Norovirus outbreaks are almost always caused by a lack of proper food handling procedures and training in a restaurant. When a worker with an existing infection touches ready-to-eat foods, like apples or bananas, or does not wash their hands before touching raw food, the virus can be transferred to the victim.
Salmonella outbreaks are one of the most common reasons for FDA food recalls, both for consumers and restaurants. Salmonella attacks the digestive system, and can cause:
- Severe abdominal pain
It does not take long for the signs of Salmonella poisoning to show, and victims who contract the disease may spend a week or more away from work. Salmonella has the potential to become deadly if the infection enters the victim’s bloodstream. People with Salmonella poisoning may also develop long-term health problems, such as reactive arthritis and bowel issues.
Salmonella can taint food in a number of ways. Contamination of chicken feed can contaminate egg supplies, while dirty workspaces can cause contamination in restaurants and grocery stores. In the cases injury lawyers in Las Vegas take, Salmonella is usually caused by restaurants failing to adhere to federal guidelines for cooking temperatures and food preparation, in particular undercooking chicken and other poultry.
Listeria is a very serious infection that spreads quickly beyond the digestive system and affects the entire body of patients. Symptoms of the infection show after only a few hours, but they can remain active for weeks. Patients often suffer from:
- Muscle Pain
- Loss Of Balance
In pregnant women, Listeria is potentially life-threatening for the baby and may result in stillbirth or premature labor.
Listeria is usually caused by cross-contamination of raw meat to other foods. Restaurants contribute to a Listeria outbreak when employees use food preparation surfaces to handle raw meat and then cut fruits or vegetables without a thorough washing of the surface, or by storing produce in a place where thawing meat drips onto another food. Finally, Listeria infections can be caused by restaurants that fail to achieve the proper internal temperatures for the meat dishes.
The most serious of all foodborne illnesses is botulism. This neurotoxin acts the nervous system only hours after ingestion, and causes:
- Vision Problems
- Slurred Speech
- Dry Mouth
Patients with botulism may not experience symptoms for up to ten days, but once symptoms are present, the disease spreads quickly.
Botulism is the result of poor food storage that allows the bacteria to grow unnoticed. Aluminum cans with dents along their seams are the most common place to find botulism, though the CDC and the National Institutes of Health warn that the improper refrigeration of herb infused oils and pre-cooked potatoes are growing cause for alarm.
Making The Case
Injury lawyers in Las Vegas pursue personal injury claims against restaurants by demonstrating that management failed to enact or enforce local, state, and federally mandated food safety policies. Examples include:
- Failure to provide working freezers or refrigerators
- Lack of safety equipment
- Ineffective cleaning chemicals
- Missing food handler training/certifications
By showing the restaurant violated its duty of care to diners through a lack of safety controls, accident lawyers in Las Vegas can help victims pursue damages for their medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages caused by a food borne illness.