A guide to making a No Win No Fee e coli poisoning claim
E. coli (or Escherichia coli) is a type of bacteria that lives in the gut of healthy warm-blooded animals, including humans. Some strains, however, can cause severe intestinal infection if ingested.
In the worst reported outbreak in the UK, over 400 people were infected and 21 people died after attending a church lunch in Strathclyde. The infection was traced to contaminated meat from a local butcher with poor food hygiene standards.
Our network of solicitors do not currently have the capacity to take on holiday-related injury and sickness claims outside the UK. It is recommended that you contact a personal injury specialist solicitor to discuss your options as soon as possible, as some jurisdictions have limitation dates of less than the three year limit that is standard in the UK.
How does E. coli infection occur?
E. coli poisoning is often caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Compensation has been claimed in cases where staff negligence or an improper procedure has resulted in E. coli infection, including:
- Improper food handling, such as failing to wash hands completely before preparing food, or using the same utensils for preparing meat and salad vegetables.
- Improper food preparation, such as not cooking meat to the right temperature.
- Improper slaughtering processes, whereby poultry and meat products become contaminated with animal faeces.
- Poor sanitation which contaminates the water used for drinking or swimming.
E. coli can also spread from animal to person at farms and petting zoos and from person to person when an infected person fails to wash his or her hands after toilet visits or after handling raw meat.
The bacteria then spreads when that person touches someone or something else, like food.
Procedures should be in place to train staff appropriately to reduce the risk of spreading infection, and to warn members of the public of the risks at venues such as petting zoos.
A claim can potentially be made if a venue or employer has failed in their duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent infection.
Who is responsible for E. coli poisoning?
Special care should be taken by restaurants and retail outlets to ensure that food is handled hygienically and meat is cooked through. An employer who requires their staff to handle raw meat or food products should arrange for staff to receive appropriate and regular training.
Anyone who has fallen ill with E. coli poisoning after eating out or handling animals may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.
These claims hinge on the question of negligence. Evidence must be gathered to show that the establishment failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent E. coli contamination.
A specialist personal injury lawyer can examine the health and safety practices of the establishment in question and collect the evidence required to support the claim.
What if I caught E. coli poisoning on holiday?
Holidaymakers returning from developing holiday destinations such as Egypt, Turkey and the Dominican Republic occasionally report cases of E. coli poisoning. Under the Package Travel Regulations, the holiday package organiser may be held responsible if a guest falls ill after eating sub-standard food or drinking contaminated water.
A Claim may be brought if the holidaymaker can show that the contaminated food or water:
- came from the hotel they were staying in; or
- was consumed as part of an excursion or additional service provided by the package holiday organiser.
It can be hard to show the origin of E. coli poisoning. This is especially true if food is consumed from restaurants outside the hotel. The claim is easier to prove if other guests have fallen ill due to gastric illness. Getting the names and addresses of other guests affected by the illness could help a compensation claim.
The hotel staff should be notified so they can investigate the situation, and the holiday rep should be made aware of the problem.
Before filing an official complaint with the holiday company, legal advice should be sought from a quality personal injury solicitor who specialises in holiday illness compensation claims. In severe cases, the compensation for E. coli poisoning can be considerable and far greater than the value of vouchers and other ex gratia payments offered by the tour operator.
Making a no win - no fee E coli compensation claim
Typically a no win no fee contract ( called a Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a personal injury lawyer.
The CFA is the terms under which the solicitor is instructed by the client.
The agreement documents what the lawyers will do as well as how he will be rewarded if your legal case is successful.
If you use Quittance for your E coli claim there are no hidden charges , nothing to pay up-front and the peace of mind that you wont be out of pocket.
What to do next
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