Since the introduction of the hepatitis A vaccine in the mid-1990s the disease has seen a significant decline in the United States. But in recent years significant outbreaks have raised concerns that the disease is once again on the rise. An outbreak in San Diego recently caused 20 deaths and 592 cases. Several sources of hepatitis A have been identified, including the feces of infected persons, eating contaminated food imported from overseas, and drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis A is a serious illness that can take several months to resolve. Because it is a virus, antibiotics aren’t effective in treating it. Sufferers can endure a range of symptoms, from fever and fatigue to pain and even, in some cases, death. Preventing the disease’s spread requires a combination of strategies, including:
- Adequate personal hygiene.
- Compliance with water safety regulations, including chlorination standards for municipal water supplies.
- Properly cooking food.
- Sufficient cleaning of facilities like public toilets and other public spaces.
Contracting hepatitis A from a venue that has failed to take adequate care to keep its facilities clean could give rise to a personal injury lawsuit to help the patient cover the cost of treatment and other consequences of the disease. Places that are open to the public—restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and so forth—owe a special duty of care to their visitors to maintain their facilities in a manner that ensures that they are safe for use. Regulatory regimes, enforced by government agencies rather than individual civil lawsuits, further impose sanitation requirements that are designed to minimize the spread of communicable diseases. A key challenge for a plaintiff in a case like this is going to be the issue of evidence. An expert’s analysis likely will be necessary to trace the source of the disease to a specific place. The hepatitis A virus can survive for months outside the body, making it possible that direct evidence of the presence of the disease at a location can be recovered. In some cases, an outbreak involving multiple patients might be traced through their distinct stories to a single location. Potential plaintiffs can examine the facts of their case with their doctor and an attorney to determine if a case can be made. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in personal injury cases in the Las Vegas area. If you have contracted hepatitis A and would like to examine your legal options for pursuing compensation, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-384-1616 or through our contact page.