Whether eating out is an occasional treat or part of your daily routine, we expect a positive eating experience. Many restaurants make food safety a top priority, but sometimes mistakes occur.
As of November 19, 2015, 45 people reported E. coli infections after eating at a Chipotle location in one of six states (Oregon, Washington, California, Minnesota, Ohio, and New York), according to the CDC. 16 of these people were reported to be hospitalized.
What Actions did Chipotle Take to Remedy the Situation?
The effected Chipotle stores in Washington and Oregon, where the majority of the cases occurred, were shut down for investigation and have since reopened. During this investigation, it was determined that:
- None of the 2,500+ microbial tests yielded E. coli on any of Chipotle’s food, restaurant surfaces, or equipment.
- No employees fell ill from the incident.
- All ingredients were to be replaced in the closed restaurants and deep cleaning was to be performed.
An investigation is still underway to determine which specific food caused the outbreak.
Do I Have E. coli?
According to the FDA, people usually get sick from E. coli 3-4 days after swallowing the germ. Those infected will most likely develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, usually recovering within a week.
Some illnesses may last longer or be more severe and could result in kidney failure. If your symptoms do not improve, seek medical attention immediately.
Who is Responsible?
If you contract E. coli after eating at Chipotle—or any other restaurant—this is a case of product liability. The product in question posed a danger to consumers, and therefore did not meet the ordinary expectations of consumers as required by law. In this instance, product liability means that a restaurant or manufacturer is liable for serving unsafe food to consumers.
Responsibility for this defect, which caused illness, lies with all sellers in the distribution chain. This could include multiple parties, such as
- the product manufacturer
- a manufacturer of component parts
- a party that distributes the product
- the wholesaler
- or, the store that sold the product to the consumer.
A product liability lawyer can help determine who was at fault and how to proceed.
Can I Get Compensation?
If you became ill from E. coli after eating at Chipotle or another restaurant, you may be able to receive compensation. Product liability cases are quite complex and often require the assistance of experts, as many negligent parties may be at fault. To complicate matters further, there is no federal liability law, so claims are based on varying state laws. Ultimately, seeking the assistance of a product liability attorney is your best bet for obtaining the compensation you deserve. This compensation could include damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages in particularly severe cases
In any case, you shouldn’t bare the burden of paying hefty medical bills for an illness caused by an unsafe food product. The restaurant should ideally catch these mistakes before a person suffers the consequences of food sickness, but unfortunately this is not always the case. When it does happen, product liability lawyers are here to help.
The product liability lawyers at Finney Law Office, LLC are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. Our Missouri attorneys will work hand in hand with you to determine the best course of action for your particular situation. Let’s explore your options. Contact us today.