Food Poisoning at a Catered Event: Who’s Liable?

By: Jory Lange

Food poisoning lawyerFood poisoning outbreaks occur in many different scenarios – from restaurants to packaged products eaten at home. But a common source of food poisoning outbreaks are catered events. Many weddings and holiday turkey dinners have been ruined by foodborne pathogens. Outbreaks like these leave those who have become sick to wonder: (1) who is liable for this; and (2) should I pursue a claim?

The Liability Story

When it comes to foodborne illness, liability can be tricky.  It all starts with finding the root source. Typically, a local health department or another federal agency (like the Centers for Disease Control) will start an investigation of the outbreak. They will often interview those who have become sick. They may test the food items for dangerous bacteria. In some cases, they may test food service workers to see if they were sick when handling the food. They may test the temperature of the food, interview the food service workers to see how the food was prepared, they may do traceback to see where the food came from, and they may communicate with other agencies to see if there are similar issues.

Depending on the findings, the root cause may be found.

When the root cause is found, that is when liability can be determined. If the root cause is a sick employee or improper food preparation methods, the caterer may be the one liable. If the investigation determines that there was a contaminated food item involved, from a food manufacturer for instance, there may be liability against that manufacturer.

As determining liability is complex and often requires a great deal of investigation, it is recommended that someone who has become ill from a catered event consult with a food safety attorney to determine if they have a claim and who is liable for their illness.

How to Keep Yourself Safe at a Catered Event

As common as outbreaks linked to catered events are, you may be leery of eating at one. But the good news is that there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

  1.     Hot foods should be hot and cold foods should be cold.

If you have ever attended a catered event, you may have noticed that hot foods are often placed in sternos over small flames to keep them warm. These contraptions keep hot foods at the proper warm temperatures to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. Likewise, cold foods are often served over ice or on top of a cold unit to keep them at their proper temperature.

When hot or cold foods feel lukewarm or room temperature, it is a good idea to avoid eating them. These foods may have already begun to grow harmful bacteria.

  1.     Do not eat food that has been left out longer than 2 hours.

Two hours inside (or one hour in warm weather) is the longest food should be left at room temperature. Any longer than this, harmful bacteria begin to grow.

  1.     Observe the people serving the food.

By looking at the food service workers, someone can usually tell if that person is sick. If someone serving you food is sick, it is best not to eat that food. Many outbreaks are started from a sick employee.

  1.     Avoid the usual suspects.

At any event, it is a good idea to steer clear of the usual items that lead to foodborne illness. These include:

  •      Raw oysters
  •      Items made with raw eggs – like some salad dressings or hollandaise sauce
  •      Raw sprouts
  •      Unpasteurized milk or dairy products
  •      Undercooked meats

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Make Food Safe for their insight into food poisoning claims.

Preliminary Steps to Filing an Insurance Claim

 

  1.      Determine the Extent of Damage.

An insured has a duty to investigate its loss before filing a claim. This investigation does not need to be overly detailed but should include a determination of where your property has suffered damage. For example, following a hail storm it should be determined whether the roof, gutters, downspouts, and even garage doors have been impacted. This is also a good opportunity to take photographs of the damage to be used as support later. It is important to accurately convey the scope of damage early so the insurance company does not approach your claim with the preconceived notion that the loss is insignificant.

  1.      Mitigate your Damages.

Insurance policies require an insured to mitigate their damages following a loss. Mitigation is the immediate repairs that are performed to reduce the severity of damage and prevent further damage from occurring. The proper level of mitigation is unique to each type of loss. A hail storm may require the tarping of a roof, a fire may require window boarding, and an interior pipe burst may require moisture mitigation. These are just a few examples of the immediate mitigation steps that should be taken but, as always, the proper contractors or professionals should be contacted to determine the extent of necessary work and to perform the mitigation.

  1.      Report your Claim.

The loss should be reported to your agent as soon as possible. You should report that you have suffered damage and provide the contact information for your public adjuster and/or attorney if you have retained one. If you do not have an agent, you will need to file the claim with your insurance company directly. Most of the major insurance companies allow claims to be filed online but each company should allow you to file by phone. If you are in possession of your policy the phone number to call in the event of a loss should be listed. The important thing is to get your claim on file as soon as you can.  Any delay may jeopardize your claim and potential result in a denial for late notice.

You should be cautious of any questions asked of you by your agent or the insurance company when reporting your claim. It is important to only say what you actually know about the damage and not try to guess the cause of damage. Questions asked while reporting a claim are often an attempt to lead the claim to an exclusion within the policy and your answers may result in a denial. All the insurance company needs to know is that damage has occurred to your covered property. It is their duty to investigate the loss further.

  1.      Follow up.

You should receive some form of contact from your insurance company within a few days of reporting your loss. If three days have passed and you have received nothing you should immediately follow up with your agent or insurance company to confirm that the claim has been filed.

  1.      Gather Support.

The most important characteristic you can have during your claim is to be proactive.  Do not wait for the insurance adjuster to unilaterally determine the extent of damage. You should begin organizing the proper documentation for your loss (i.e. maintenance records, financial records, receipts for mitigation repairs etc.). If repairs or replacement will be necessary, you should obtain a proposal or bid from a contractor of your choice. Finally, for insurance claims where you are unable to represent yourself, you should retain a public adjuster or attorney such as the Insurance Attorney Chicago IL locals trust.
Thanks to authors at Childress, Lous & Plunkett for insight into Insurance Law.

 

 

Challenges in Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Many wrongful deaths result from the negligence and thoughtlessness of another individual, business, or party. There are no two wrongful deaths that are exactly alike, and each has its own contingencies and challenges. Because each state has its own laws associated with wrongful death lawsuits, a case by case basis is associated with determining who can file a wrongful death claim. Often times, you must be a surviving spouse or child of the victim, a direct descendent or immediate family member of the victim or the parents of the deceased. In the event you have any personal questions, do not hesitate to contact a wrongful death lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on to ensure your case is getting the attention it deserves.

When to File

You are required to file your claim within two years of the victim’s death, and if you fail to do so you will most likely have a dismissed case. If the deceased survived the accident, but died later because of it, the survival statute of limitation that allows you to file for wrongful death anyway. You should make yourself mindful of your state’s laws surrounding wrongful death and the survival statute. You should contact an attorney so that they can further explain deadlines to file your claim. If evidence in a wrongful death case is not preserved correctly, it can be lost forever. Witnesses may lose memory of what occurred or the scene of the crime may change. It is advised that you do not wait more than a few months to file, even though it may be traumatizing and you may not be fully over the death of your loved one just yet. However, the most important thing that you can do after losing your loved one is contact an attorney for the purpose of investigating and keeping evidence in tact.

Proof

Proving a wrongful death can be extremely difficult. Because insurance companies and their defense attorneys will do whatever they can to avoid paying for a wrongful death, you must provide proof of wrongful death. You will need to show that the deceased passed as the direct result of negligence. You must also show that surviving members of the victim’s family or beneficiaries need compensation because of this.

Eligible Damages

Damages deemed to be economic are financial losses like financial support and income that the victim would have contributed if they had not been killed in an accident. Noneconomic damages are grief and sorrow, loss of companionship, and heartbreak. The rules of civil procedure and evidence are huge challenges involved in proving damages in a noneconomic damage case. You should definitely contact an experienced lawyer if you are considering pursuing a lawsuit against the business or individual that caused the wrongful death. They can help further assist you in court, in your claim, and make sure that you receive a fair compensation in the settlement.


Thank you to Kamper Estrada, LLP for providing their insight and authoring this piece on wrongful death challenges.

Why Lying can turn a Personal Injury case into a Nightmare

What exactly is personal injury?

What is the term “personal injury”? Most people would be quick to confirm that personal injury is any injury to one’s own body causing physical harm. According to Wikipedia.org  personal injury is defined as a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury (also known as tort law) is the “umbrella term” to describe some sort of loss (personally and to one’s self) However, there are many categories that fall under personal injury to include: car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, DWI accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, accidents while working as an employee or contractor, slip and falls, dog bites, assault and battery, defamation of character and medical malpractice. So as you can see from the various examples above, personal injury can arrive in any one of our lives out of the blue and at any time. Therefore, it is extremely important for all individuals to be aware of the different types of personal injury that exist, because you never know when your life can be turned upside down.

Calling the Defendant on their Bluff

Many time’s after we are injured by another in some type of way, we feel hopeless and defeated at that moment. In addition, we may experience pain (literally), frustration, confusion, and a sense that we are alone. Usually, the act itself that has invaded our personal space has us very uncomfortable and in a discombobulated state asking ourselves, what just happened. This is very common. As a matter of fact, it is so common that depending on the severity and swiftness of the injury, an individual may not even remember all of the details. Other times, an individual may remember very clearly what exactly happened, step by step.  Have you ever confronted an individual after they hurt you in some type of way, only to have that person simply deny all wrongdoing? Place the blame on you? Try to convince you that your injury was somehow your fault? Well if you have, then you are already a few steps ahead in understanding the fast pace world of personal injury!

Majority of the time in these types of cases, the Defendant denies all liability or in other words that they are at fault. Yes, yes I know, this is surprising right? You are wondering how could a restaurant deny that they are at fault for a customer falling on a wet spot that was left on the floor. Well, you should definitely regain your composure and be thankful that, that is where attorneys come in. Your attorney is working on your side for you, and will call the Defendants bluff. You have to remember that whomever it is that you hire to represent you, they are putting their business and their name on the line. This is something that you want to keep in mind when moving forward in a personal injury case.

Time to get your hands dirty

I find it so interesting at times that clients who hire an attorney to represent them on a personal injury claim, do not understand why they have to release so much of their personal information. I have had clients ask me: Why are they asking all of these questions about me? Why are they getting in my business? Why are they harassing me as if I am the one that did something wrong? It’s very important to understand that once you hire an attorney who then files a claim for you regarding your injuries, things can get ugly before they get prettier. If your case goes into litigation and a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, that’s when the gloves come off and the hands begin to get dirty. And I’m talking mud dirty. At this stage, pretty much anything goes. You are literally in a boxing ring with the Defendant and each are trying to prove that the other is not telling the truth.

Keep your case alive, and never lie

Do you remember when you were a child and your mother or father accused you some type of wrong doing and you did not want to get in trouble? Do you remember the fear that you had inside of you, while considering your punishment if you were to admit that they were right? Well that is kind of how personal injury cases are. It is imperative that you never lie about anything. We are all human, no one is perfect and everyone has something in their life that they are not proud of. However, in a personal injury case, if you are asked about something, it is best to be one hundred percent honest. In the discovery process, the Defendant’s attorney will try their best to discredit your testimony. Simply saying that you have never been arrested, when in fact you had an arrest three years ago is not a good look. Additionally, it will come out later and actually do your case much more harm than good. Telling the truth will show that you are credible and will at least give your attorney a fair fight on your behalf. Lying during a personal injury claim could also cause the value of your case to diminish sometimes to zero, simply from the act of not telling the truth. The Defendant’s attorney will run with the discovery that you did not tell the truth. If your case goes to trial, a jury can also consider your claim to not be trustworthy due to a simple lie that was discovered.

Bring in the money!

All personal injury claims are not the same. They vary in facts as much as the many colors you can create from a rainbow. No matter what type of personal injury claim that you may have, there is no argument that you should be reimbursed for everything that you lost. Peace of mind, interest in life activities, your physical and mental strength, and even finances. Your attorney wants to get you as much money as possible to bring you back to this balance. In order to bring you back to balance and to compensate you for all of your pain and suffering, your attorney depends on your credibility. Keep in mind, your attorney, like a trusted Arlington TX personal injury lawyer, would not have even accepted your case, if they did not believe in your case. So to ensure that your personal injury claim turns into a dream come true and not a nightmare, never lie about even the minor details on your claim.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into personal injury practice.

 

Defective Playground Equipment

So you’ve decided that you’ve been working out, it’s all good you are ready to show your daughter that you can swing on the newly placed Monkey Bars installed at the new playground on your, just as well as she does.  As you swing from bar to bar, you grab in the place where the next bar should be and as a personal injury lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on can tell stories of other clients experiencing this- it is literally not there.  Because it’s not there, in reaching for it, you fall to the ground chipping your tooth and causing blood to gush from your mouth.  Terrified by the sight of you and what appears to be a river of blood gushing from your mouth (at least that’s what it looks like to a 2 year old).  First things first, you should seek some sort of medical assistance. Whether it is visiting your primary care provider or heading to the emergency room, you have to survey the damages so you can figure out what just happened.

While you may be partially at faulty for deciding to show up a 2 year old, the dental damage done should not be your full responsibility or burden.  It is likely that at least one of the new items on the playground is defective. You will likely take temporary join in the fact that it was you injured and not a child, however, what’s the next step.  Consulting an attorney may be something to consider following an incident in a public place that was due to no negligence of yours. An attorney can assist you by ensuring you have seen a medical care professional, reviewing the facts of the case, and shedding some light on your options.

If you have recently felt the effects of personal injury due to defective equipment on the playground, you may be entitled to financial compensation for any wages loss or medical bills. While showing off is a bit childish and arrogant, it is more times than not, where kids are concerned, it is merely desiring to a see a smile on their faces.  Because you aren’t an attorney, you should reach out to someone who can assist you in determining if you have a claim to seek compensation for any inconvenience you were caused. While it is difficult to digest the injury itself, a skilled, trained attorney will do a good job assisting you with gaining clarity and figuring out the next step.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into finding an attorney.

 

Personal Injury – Water Ski

Water skiing is an exciting sport; but like all sports, as a personal injury attorney Dekalb County GA can attest,  it can be quite dangerous and risky.  With skiers travelling at speeds of up to 50 mph, they must be extremely aware of their surroundings, to include other boats, swimmers, and any obstacle, which can cause them to lose balance and crash into the water.  Any personal watercrafts provide a lot of fun on the lake, but they also pose significant risks for serious accidents and injuries.

Most accidents that include jet skis involve collisions with other watercraft. During accidents that involve jet skis, jet ski riders are frequently thrown into the water, knocked unconscious, and often run over by another watercraft.  In, a number of large cities, lawyers commonly see injuries including broken bones, head injuries and concussions, and brain trauma. Fatalities from jet ski accidents are most often caused by serious head trauma and drowning. Common causes of jet ski accidents include the vehicles being operated by inexperienced operators, drivers drinking or doing drugs which possible lead to speeding which contributes to poor perception and hazy judgment, drivers not paying attention to the water and boaters; the lack of safety equipment and malfunctioning equipment also contribute to water ski accidents.

If you or anyone you know has been involved in a water ski accident, you should contact an attorney to determine what your rights are as a victim.  Reaching out to an attorney could be the best decision you ever made. Although some of injuries are much worse than others, they should all be treated with care and guidance in order to assure that you are getting the financial compensation that you or your loved one deserves for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.  Even if your injury seems minor, small, or as though it will not have a lasting impact, it is always important to seek medical attention. Many vacationers who are injured don’t want to take away from their family or vacation in order to go to a doctor or medical provider. By waiting to seek medical treatment you will only bolster the insurance company’s argument that your injuries are not related to the accident, and decrease your chance of recovery. Without this initial medical documentation, you may lose the opportunity to recover compensation for your damages completely or at a minimum, recover less than what you are entitled to.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into finding an attorney.

 

Rear End Accidents

As a personal injury attorney Dekalb County GA rear end accident victims trust can attest, almost no one is expecting a rear end accident when they occur.

There is nothing more relaxing than driving to work  bobbing your head to the music you’re listening to as you think through the about the tasks you will have to complete that day.  When suddenly you hear the sound of crunching steel, and you realize that you have just been rear ended. In some cases, a rear-end accident leads to serious injuries in Georgia is the result of the carelessness of another driver.  For example, your fellow driver was trying to text and drive or engaging in distracted driving when he or she hit and injured you. The next steps you take are paramount.

Directly after the accident, checking on any driver or passenger involved in the accident right away is important, as someone, including you may be in need of emergency care. It is best to avoid moving another injured individual, unless it is necessary to do so, to keep him or her safe.  Another important first step at the collision scene is to contact police, who will file a report on the accident for you.  Police reports can assist victims by providing a detailed account of what happened, who was in the vehicles, and if anyone was cited for the accident.

The things you do at the scene of the accident are critical.  Your safety should be your main concern ensuring that you get to a hospital to determine if you have any wounds on the inside.   It is imperative that you get information including the telephone number, address, and name of the driver who rear-ended you, as well as the policy number and name of the driver’s insurance company.  Additional information that may be helpful to obtain includes statements from witnesses, along with their contact information. Photos of the accident scene might also be useful down the road so if you are able to, take a picture of your vehicle as well pictures of the other driver’s vehicle.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident and suffered an injury, you may be entitled to compensation for any inconvenience the accident may have caused.  You have the option of filing a personal injury claim against the driver who struck you or the driver who caused the accident. By choosing to speak with an attorney, you give yourself the opportunity to receive a monetary award to cover your medical bills and even the loss of wages if your accident-related injury kept you from working for a period of time.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into finding an attorney.

Can moving costs be considered in a personal injury settlement if I have to move because of my injury?

When you have been injured in an accident or incident that happened because of the negligence of another party or parties, the law says you are entitled to pursue damages against those responsible for the losses that you have suffered because of those injuries.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

The purpose of a personal injury claim is to make the victim “whole” again, the theory being that if not for the other party’s negligent action or behavior, the victim would not have been injured and would not have suffered losses.

There are many types of accidents/incidents where a victim can file a personal injury claim including vehicle accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and defective products injuries. The process of pursuing damages will depend on what type of accident occurred.

For example, if victim is injured in a car accident caused by another driver, they will likely file a claim against that driver’s insurance company. If the victim was injured in a slip and fall accident at a shopping mall, then the claim would likely be filed against the property owner’s insurance company, and so forth.

In many cases, the insurance company will try to settle the claim with the victim. If no agreement can be reached, the claim then becomes a personal injury lawsuit and is litigated in a civil court of law, with the final decision of liability and monetary award decided by a judge or jury.

The usual damages that are awarded to accident victims include medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish. However, there are also many accident claims/lawsuits where the victim has suffered permanent damage or disability, resulting in even more substantial losses that the victim is entitled to be compensated for.

An example of this type of compensation would be a victim who is left paralyzed and so their home requires major modifications in order for the victim to be able to function, such as wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, lowered counters, and other handicapped accessible renovations. Under many states’ tort law, the at-fault party could be held liable for these expenses.

But what happens if the victim lives in a home where those renovations are impossible? Maybe they do not own the property and the landlord does not want these types of renovations to be made. Or maybe they live on the second or third floor with only stairs to gain access to their home. If the victim is forced to move as a direct result of their injuries, then their personal injury attorney can pursue the costs needed for that move against the negligent party.

Another example where the at-fault party may be responsible for the victim’s moving expenses is in the case of a victim who has been sexually assaulted where they live and it has been proven that the property owner was negligent in security at the location, resulting in the assault. If the victim is too afraid to live at the location then the property owner can be held responsible for those moving expenses.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury cases can be complicated and require the legal expertise of a skilled and experienced attorney. If you have been injured in an incident that resulted because of the negligence of someone else, contact injury lawyers Charlottesville VA frequently relies on to find out what type of damages you may be able to seek. Call today.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C., for their insight into personal injury.

 

Determining Truck Accident Liability

A seasoned truck accident attorney understands that truck accident injury claims are often considered some of the most complex types of injury claims to negotiate and settle. The reason for this is because there is often more than one party who may be held liable for the truck accident.

Who is at Fault?

When you meet with an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY relies on, he or she will go over all the details of your accident with you, and determine which party or parties are responsible. The at-fault party could be one person or entity or multiple parties.

In the majority of truck accident cases we represent, the at-fault parties include:

  • Truck driver. In many truck crashes, the actions of the truck driver behind the wheel lead to the accident. The driver may have been speeding, engaged in distracted driving behaviors, or suffering from driver fatigue. The driver also may have been guilty of violating federal trucking regulations, such as not taking the required breaks.
  • Trucking company. In determining who is at fault, your attorney will also examine trucking company factors which may have contributed to the truck accident. Some of these factors include:
    • Was the truck driver the company employed well-trained and experienced?
    • Did the company do a thorough background check on the driver’s history, or did the driver have a history of being cited for dangerous driving issues?
    • Did the company regularly inspect the vehicle, and was it well maintained?
  • Freight or cargo company. Your attorney may also look at the role a freight company may have played in the crash, such as whether or not the load was secured properly and whether the truck over the legal limit.
  • Truck manufacturer. If the truck accident was due to a defective truck part, your attorney may file a claim against the manufacturer of that part.

An example scenario of when an attorney determines there are multiple at-fault parties could go as follows: Say a truck driver was in a hurry to meet his delivery schedule and was going over the speed limit. He drove up to a traffic slowdown, but was unable to stop in time because of the extra speed, and crashed into a vehicle. During the injury claim investigation, the victim’s attorney discovered that there was also a defect with the brake pads that should have been discovered during vehicle inspections, but the trucking company records reveal the vehicle was not inspected as often as it should have been. Thus, the defect was not discovered.

In this scenario, the attorney could name the truck driver, the trucking company, and the truck brake pad manufacturer all as contributors to the crash which caused the victim’s injuries.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Don’t hesitate to seek legal representation if you’ve been adversely affected by a truck accident. Contact a truck accident lawyer today.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon, Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt, LLC for their insight truck accident lawyer.

Personal Injury – Parking Lot Accidents

It is the duty of the shop owner or a contracted entity to ensure that their property is safe from dangerous conditions, to include poor property upkeep.  You may think that it is your duty alone to make sure you are safe, that is an incorrect assumption.  It is the job of the owner of the establishment to ensure that their premises are safe for patrons and employees.  The property owner can likely be held responsible for the actions of third party vendors, only an attorney, like a skilled Dekalb County car accident lawyer, can best determine what, if anything should happen.  In the event there are documented issues on a property and the property owner fails to take measures to adequately protect patrons, visitors, or other people who are allowed to be on the premises, the property owner may be held responsible for injuries sustained from falls or injuries that happen on their property.

        Property owners would be liable for a customer’s harm if they had acted negligently (i.e. failing to provide adequate security).  As a victim, you wonder how to prove that a property owner’s negligence contributed to your injuries. Initially, you may be required to show that a pattern of negligence that existed—as this should prompt a property owner to review their property.  If trip over debris that is left in the parking lot, for example, you could make a case for poor maintenance 1) a similar occurrence happened previously on the premises and 2) the property owner had failed to implement safety measures that would prevent future accidents.

Such measures may include any of the following:

  •      Improving their outdoor lighting
  •      Hiring additional security guards
  •      Installing outdoor security cameras
  •      Building a fence around the perimeter
  •      Creating new security protocols

In the event a friend or family member has been involved in an accident involving a cart corral, a parking wedge, or moist pavement not identified by a sign, you may need to speak with professional to find out what, if any leverage you may have in situation.  By consulting a professional, you are giving yourself an opportunity to find out your rights and to determine if you can get assistance with pain and suffering, loss wages, or medical bills.  Attorneys are likely familiar with any circumstance you have experienced and can better advise you on what the next step should be and assist you with attempting to figure out what monetary monies may be due to you.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into parking lot accidents.