Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

What to Do If You Get Sick From a Salmonella Outbreak?

A recent outbreak of salmonella linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal led to a recall of 1.3 million boxes, but it is widely believed that there are even more contaminated boxes out in the public. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made it very clear to consumers -- "Do not eat Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any 'best if used by' date." They tweeted it even more bluntly -- "Do not eat this cereal."

So it's clear that we shouldn't be eating nor feeding our loved ones Honey Smacks. But what isn't so clear is what to do if you get sick from a salmonella outbreak.

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacterial infection spread by ingesting something contaminated. It lasts for four to seven days, and includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Sometimes victims recover through home care and bed rest. Other times, hospitalization is required, most often for infants, elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

According to the CDC, salmonella is responsible for about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths a year, the majority of which are sourced from food. This year's prime culprits have been pre-cut melon, eggs, and romaine lettuce -- all perennial favorites on the Salmonella Outbreak Most Wanted List.

Who Pays for the Hospitalization Bills?

Most often, insurance companies cover some medical costs, but there are those annoying, and often exorbitantly high, portions of the bill that insurance won't cover. You can sue to recoup costs and other damages from salmonella poisoning, so long as you have evidence to prove a connection between your illness and the food product or the restaurant that served it to you. This is important because often times it is most efficient and effective to sue both parties at the same time. In some instances, verdicts and settlements can be in the millions of dollars, such as the case in which a boy's family sued Foster Farms for salmonella poisoning which lead to brain damage, resulting in a $1.9 million verdict.

Here are four key reason to file a lawsuit quickly if salmonella is suspected:

  • In order to discover all of the evidence, sometimes filing a lawsuit is the only effective means.
  • Be first in line to get any money available to claimants, since it is quite possible that money will run out.
  • Send a message to the companies that consumer safety comes before corporate profit.
  • You may be able to get a settlement faster if the opposition fears a large verdict in your favor.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a recent salmonella outbreak, contact a local products liability lawyer to decide if you have a claim, and if so, how best to move forward.

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