Poisoning comes in many forms. You can suffer a sudden illness from infected food or become sick over years of exposure to tainted water, radiation or chemicals in the air. Although our food and environment are strictly regulated, unscrupulous manufacturers, government entities and others sometimes cut corners. Every year or so a major food poisoning scandal hits the headlines. When clients ask our lawyers can I sue if someone poisons me in Maryland? We tell them it’s certainly possible if not always straightforward.
Poisoning can be extremely serious and life-threatening. Baltimore personal injury lawyer Randolph Rice can help you gather evidence in these cases. Keep reading about the different types of poisoning and who you can sue for food, water, lead, or other bodily poisoning in Maryland.
Common Types of Poisoning
Food poisoning is one of the most common causes of illness from a tainted product. Many people have suffered the symptoms for food poisoning at some time in their lives but it’s not usually severe. It’s only worth suing if you suffer significant health impacts from food poisoning.
People who file lawsuits over food poisoning usually sue a restaurant, a store, a food manufacturer or a hotel. Food poisoning is typically a result of negligence and poor hygiene at one stage in the manufacturing process. Common causes of food poisoning include:
Salmonella bacteria are harmful and can be found in poultry or meat, dairy products and, vegetables, spices, water, and nuts. Symptoms include sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, chills, and fever. Salmonella can be fatal, particularly in elderly and young people.
Coli are bacteria that live in your intestines as well as in the intestines of animals. Although most types of E. coli are safe, some strains make you sick. E. coli can be found in beef contaminated with feces, unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water.
Listeria is a food-borne infection. Although many infected people don’t suffer severe symptoms, it can be deadly for pregnant women, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection may lead to miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, listeria infection can cause stillbirth, premature birth or potentially fatal infection in the baby post-birth, states the Mayo Clinic.
Campylobacter is a common bacterial infection that can linger for as long as two weeks. It can be caused by processed meat that’s not thoroughly cooked or contaminated milk, fruit or vegetables. It’s rarely fatal in healthy people.
Who Can I Sue for Food Poisoning in Maryland?
You may have grounds to sue one or more parties over food poisoning in Maryland. They include:
Growers and Packers
Food can be infected early in the process. One of the worst episodes of food poisoning in recent years occurred in 2011 when listeria in cantaloupes was linked to 33 deaths and many injuries. The infection was traced to a farm and packing plant in Colorado.
Poor hygiene in a production facility can cause infections. In 2009, 714 people fell ill with salmonella and nine died from eating peanut butter produced by Peanut Corporation of America. Numerous poisoning and product liability lawsuits were brought against the company and its former owner was imprisoned for 28 years.
A store that sells contaminated food can be sued by people who are poisoned.
Many fast-food chains and family-owned restaurants have been sued following food poisoning outbreaks. The deaths of four people and sickness in hundreds of others from meat contaminated with E.coli at Jack in the Box hamburgers in 1993 caused a massive panic, lawsuits, and the end of the fast-food chain. However, Taco Bell survived an E.coli outbreak that hospitalized 53 people in 2006.
Proving Fault in a Food Poisoning Lawsuit in Maryland
Most food poisoning complaints aren’t related to high-profile recalls or well-publicized outbreaks. Gathering evidence is a challenge. If you believe you suffered food poisoning from a Maryland restaurant it can be difficult to prove, especially if there has been a time lapse between your meal and the illness.
It can be difficult to prove a particular meal made you ill rather than another meal or a virus. Seek medical advice as soon as possible and try to find out the type of food poisoning you suffered and a likely source. Even in rare cases where you have some evidence that the food from the restaurant made you ill such as a sample in your fridge, you may struggle to make a case. If you test the food and it contains salmonella, the restaurant can claim the food became infected in your home.
Can I Sue I Am Poisoned Through the Water Supply in Maryland?
Concerns over poisoned water supplies gripped a handful of U.S. cities in recent years, most prominently in Flint, Michigan.
The crisis began in 2014 when the City of Flint switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. A lack of treatment meant lead from pipes leached into the water supply. Residents of Flint have filed class-action lawsuits claiming the lead harmed their children’s health. The contamination is also linked to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that caused at least 12 deaths.
In April 2019, a federal judge ruled residents of Flint could bring lawsuits against the federal government over the water crisis.
Your Rights for Suing for Toxic Exposure in Maryland
There are many forms of toxic exposure that can poison residents and workers. People can suffer chemical exposure from industry, chlorine leaks from railroad accidents, toxic dust, improper workplace protection, fires, and spills. You may have grounds to sue the liable party that caused harmful toxic exposure at work or in another place of business.
Can I Sue Someone for Lead Poisoning in Maryland?
Lead poisoning is a potent threat to children and pregnant women. Many older homes contain lead paint that is harmful to children who eat it. Local authorities and other housing entities have been sued over lead poisoning. According to Vox, as many as 1.2 million children in the United States suffer from lead poisoning that can harm intellectual development.
Court actions against paint manufacturers have failed but local authorities, property managers, and landlords have been held liable for lead paint poisoning in Maryland.
In 2016, a family from Baltimore won a $1.6 million verdict in a lead paint poisoning case for their son who was exposed to lead paint at the age of two. He has struggled academically since and is now 18, the Baltimore Sun reported. The verdict was awarded against the young man’s former landlords.
Talk to Our Baltimore Toxic Exposure Lawyer About Your Maryland Poison Injury Lawsuit
It’s not always obvious if you’ve been poisoned. You may suffer a range of symptoms. It can also be hard to pinpoint the source of your poisoning. If your symptoms persist and you suspect you were poisoned, call our Maryland personal injury attorney for a free consultation at 410-431-0911.