Two people have died from bacterial illnesses after reportedly eating cheese contaminated with listeria.
The cheese came from Vulto Creamery, and the infection resulted in six other people being hospitalized across the United States. Such listeria infections in cheese are relatively common, and in February, Sargento Foods, Inc. recalled some of its cheese products because of the possibility of contamination. Other foods commonly subject to listeria recalls include hot dogs, lunch meats and smoked seafood.
Listeriosis, the condition that results from a listeria infection, is a serious disease that is especially dangerous for newborns, pregnant women and anyone who has a weakened or vulnerable immune system. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1,600 people contract listeriosis every year—and of those, approximately 260 die.
Taking legal action after contracting listeriosis
Seeking compensation after contracting a foodborne illness can be a challenging process. You must be able to prove, for example, that the defendant either knew or should have known about the condition of the food, and that the party in question was liable for the resulting illness.
The difficult part of these lawsuits is that the symptoms of listeriosis can appear anywhere between three to 70 days after first becoming infected—although it most commonly arises within the first three weeks. During this time, the bacteria spreads to different systems of the body, including the heart, nervous system and eyes. Depending on the parts of the body most affected, what is actually listeriosis could look like any number of other conditions, making it difficult to trace the source of the problem.
Blood tests are the most reliable means of determining if an individual is suffering from listeriosis. Without prompt treatment, there is a chance the illness will result in death.
If you decide to take legal action after contracting listeriosis, you have several potential routes you can take with your case. You could sue for negligence if you can prove that the manufacturer or seller of the infected product breached its duty of care to you, the customer. You could also sue for violation of an implied warranty, which promises the product is safe to use for its intended purpose (eating, in the case of food). Or, you may file a strict liability claim, arguing that the product was unreasonably dangerous.
In any case, you will need to determine the party that was legally responsible. If a company issued a product recall, that will send you in the right direction. From there, your personal injury attorney will investigate to determine at which point in the process the food was infected. This will, in turn, allow you to determine whether to seek damages from the retailer, manufacturer, supplier or another party involved.
For further information on your best options after suffering a foodborne illness, meet with a dedicated New York personal injury attorney at Robinson & Yablon. You may be able to seek monetary compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages and other damages you’ve sustained.