By Joanne Jeffries. Last Updated 21st September 2022. Welcome to our guide to Listeria outbreak claims. In this listeria hospital compensation claims guide, we look at how to make a hospital infection compensation claim for common infections in hospital. We also answer questions such as ‘how common is listeria in pregnancy?’ and ‘should I worry about listeria?’
Hospital Infection Claims Guide
You may have seen the details of a Listeria outbreak in hospitals around the country that was put down to pre-packaged food served in hospitals in England. According to reports, there were 5 people who had passed away after consuming salads and sandwiches that were pre-packaged and distributed in NHS hospitals. If you have suffered an illness, or have lost a loved one because of a Listeria hospital outbreak, this guide could offer assistance in making a claim for Listeria NHS compensation.
In this guide, we cover information about making personal injury claims for Listeria bacteria whether you were a patient in a hospital, or a visitor. We cover the different strains of Listeria, such as Appendix B listeria and Internalin B listeria, and treatment options. But most importantly, we cover some information on past Listeria cases UK 2018, and what you could do to make a claim.
Simply click on the relevant section below to learn more. If you have further questions about cases of Listeria in hospital sandwiches, then do not hesitate to call 0800 073 8801 for Accident Claims UK’s free, no-obligation advice.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Listeria Hospital Outbreak Compensation Claims
- What Is Listeria Bacteria?
- How Does Listeria Causes Listeriosis Illness
- What Are The Symptoms Of Listeriosis?
- How Pregnant Women May Be Affected By Listeriosis?
- Listeria Outbreak Caused By Pre Packaged Foods At NHS Hospitals
- How Common Is Listeria In Pregnancy?
- How Could Listeriosis Be Prevented?
- How To Make A Listeria Outbreak Compensation Claim
- What Types Of Compensation Could I Claim If I Was Affected By The Listeria Outbreak?
- Listeria Hospital Outbreak Illness Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Listeria Hospital Outbreak Compensation Claims
- Why Choose Accident Claims UK For A Listeria Outbreak Claim?
- Contact Accident Claims UK
Whether you first heard of the Listeria outbreak in 2018, or have only just heard about the Listeria deaths in hospital sandwiches scandal, if you’ve been affected by Listeria, it could leave you with ongoing symptoms, pain and suffering. In this Listeria hospital outbreak guide, we cover relevant information on Listeria that may be required if you are considering making a personal injury claim and answer questions such as:
- Where is the Listeria outbreak?
- Can you die of Listeria?
- How does food become infected with Listeria?
- What is the link between Listeria and frozen foods?
- How do I avoid Listeria during pregnancy
We also offer guidance on the claims process, including information about the personal injury claims time limit, what level of compensation you might receive in a successful personal injury claim, and how to go about getting a personal injury solicitor to handle a Listeria hospital outbreak claim for you.
Listeria is a type of bacteria and there are up to 2019, 20 identified organisms but there could be more. The one that generally causes Listeriosis, however, is Sigma B listeria monocytogenes which this guide focuses on.
Listeria bacteria are found on some foods which is how Listeriosis is commonly contracted. The bacteria could be present in many different types of food, but is more commonly known to affect:
- Milk that is unpasteurised
- Dairy products made with milk that is unpasteurised
- Cheeses (soft) such as brie and Camembert
- Pre-packaged pate, deli meats and sandwiches
Listeriosis is a relatively rare bacteria which could in certain cases, cause only mild symptoms. However, anyone with a weakened immune system and pregnant women, could be affected more severely by Listeriosis which could be why the recent Listeria hospital outbreak was so well publicised.
According to the government’s information on the recent Listeria hospital outbreak, they commonly see an average yearly tally of 166 cases of listeriosis throughout Wales and England. The average annual number for deaths caused by listeriosis between 2010 and 2016 stood at 46.
The symptoms of Listeriosis are generally known to include:
- Feeling/being sick
- Temperatures of 38 degrees C or higher
If your symptoms are mild, home treatment is an option. However, if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system, or you have a baby that you think may have contracted Listeriosis, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can.
Symptoms If Listeria Affects Your Nervous System
If you suffer severe symptoms such as sudden confusion, a severe headache, a stiff neck, or you cannot look at the light, or you suffer a seizure, you should seek immediate medical attention because in some cases, Listeriosis could affect your nervous system and could cause encephalitis or meningitis.
When pregnant you are often advised to avoid foods commonly linked to Listeria which are referred to as Listeria pregnancy foods. This includes soft cheeses, unpasteurised milk products etc. You might also be asked to avoid handling soil, or animal waste. You are more susceptible to contracting Listeriosis when pregnant, and it could have a detrimental effect on both your baby’s health and your own.
When you are pregnant, your immune system changes, and it is thought that defences are lowered to such an extent that you are 20 times more likely to contract Listeriosis during your pregnancy.
Listeriosis could have a very serious effect on your baby’s health and an infection could be passed to your baby while in the uterus, or during labour. This could lead to your baby suffering severe illness once born which includes sepsis, meningitis or encephalitis.
If you are affected by Listeriosis during pregnancy, it could in severe cases lead to miscarriage, early labour, or stillbirth.
However, Listeriosis in pregnancy is still considered quite rare, with up to 30 cases in the UK each year being reported. With early intervention and antibiotic treatment, it may not leave you, or your baby with permanent damage to your health. If, however, you have been affected by a Listeria hospital outbreak, and your health has suffered, you should get in touch with Accident Claims UK who would assess your case before providing a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor to act on your behalf.
The story concerning the Listeria outbreak in UK hospitals earlier this year, was revealed on the government’s website on June 7th 2019, although it was reported that the pre-packaged foods were withdrawn from 25th May 2019. It warned that the Food Standards Agency, Public Health England, Public Health Wales, Health Protection Scotland, and Food Standards Scotland, plus other local authorities, were in the process of investigating Listeria infections said to be caused by pre-packaged sandwiches.
The supplier of the sandwiches halted production, and the meat provider who tested positive for the strain of Listeria found to be affecting consumers also ceased production, as did their distributor. Salads and sandwiches linked to the Listeria hospital outbreak were immediately withdrawn from circulation.
Since the investigation began, more victims of the Listeria hospital outbreak were found, and it was revealed on 17th June 2019 that the hospitals below were affected by the outbreak:
- Aintree University NHS Foundation Trust
- Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- East Ken Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
According to Public Health England, the symptoms’ onset dates were between April 20th and June 2nd 2019. It is thought that all infected victims consumed the products prior to their withdrawal on May 25th 2019. There is no evidence that anyone outside of the hospital setting has developed symptoms linked to this Listeria hospital outbreak, and therefore consider the risk to the general public is low.
If you are wondering how common listeria is in pregnancy, we can look to a government report into listeriosis in England and Wales. This report was initially released in 2018 but updated on the 12th of March 2021. It summarises the characteristics and number of confirmed listeriosis cases in England and Wales back in 2018. The headline statistics include:
- 156 cases were reported in 2018 in England and Wales.
- Those in the age category of the over 80s had the most cases.
- Pregnancy-associated listeria made up around 17% of reported cases.
- A third of pregnancy-associated listeria cases resulted in a miscarriage or stillbirth
This provides an insight into the number of cases of a listeria infection in pregnancy in England and Wales in 2018. If you believe you have symptoms of listeria, whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to seek medical advice.
The Listeria Outbreak 2019
The Listeria outbreak 2019 that caused headlines in major news outlets was caused by pre-packaged foods served in UK hospitals. In June 2019, Public Health England revealed that there were 9 instances of reported Listeria following consumption of pre-packaged foods, and 5 people tragically passed away. The government’s latest update on the scandal, dated 1st August, revealed that another infected person had passed away, bringing the total of deaths to six.
When it comes to the total number of people affected by the Listeria hospital outbreak, PHE revealed that they have tested 34 samples related to listeria and no further cases have been attributed to the hospital outbreak.
Preventing Listeriosis hinges on good hygiene. However, the easiest way of preventing Listeriosis involves avoiding foods that could cause it. This is due to the fact that consumption of contaminated food is the most common cause of Listeriosis.
If you are pregnant, the most likely time for you to contract the infection is while you are in the last trimester. Therefore, you should avoid foods that could be higher-risk for listeria from then on. These might include:
- Mould ripened soft cheese
- Blue veined soft cheese
- Cooked shellfish
- Smoked fish
- Cooked and cured meats
- Pre-packaged foods
- Cut/sliced fruits
Tips on good hygiene could include:
- Washing hands prior to and after you prepare a meal
- Washing all cooking items, chopping boards, and food preparation surfaces thoroughly
- Keeping cooked and raw meats separate in your refrigerator, ensuring that raw foods are below cooked meats so the juices don’t drip
- Washing raw salads, fruits or vegetables before consuming
- Cooking/reheating foods completely, ensuring they are piping hot before consuming them
Listeria is not something you can see on your food, like mould, and it can also survive freezing, with it growing slowly at lower temperatures which is why outbreaks of Listeriosis could be associated with ready-to-eat chilled foods if they were stored at the wrong temperature, or for too long.
Other ways of preventing Listeriosis would include preventing infection from farm animals around the time you are about to give birth. Whether you work or take your children on farm visits, avoidance of these animals, especially during lambing season, (Jan-Apr) is advisable, as well as making sure you wash your hands and clothing once your visit/shift is over.
If you’ve were infected due to a Listeria hospital outbreak, or any other Listeria outbreak, such as the Listeria outbreak in Spain that was widely reported in the media in August 2001, you might wish to make Listeria outbreak claims for compensation. Should this be the case, there are specific steps you should follow to strengthen your case.
Firstly, you must be able to prove that the infection was due to the fault of someone else, whether the hospital, or the food provider, and that they had a duty to protect you from this sort of infection. It could be that you would need a personal injury solicitor to look into the specifics of your case in order to establish the liability. It might also be necessary for you to obtain a copy of your medical records relating to the illness, although you would more than likely have to also attend an appointment with an independent expert who would provide medical evidence in the form of a report to prove your illness and details of your prognosis.
If you lost a loved one due to an infection contracted during a Listeriosis hospital outbreak, and you are financially dependent on that person, you could be entitled to claim on their behalf. If so, you would need the relevant authority to do so. A personal injury lawyer would be able to help you with this.
Time limits and other factors
Next, you would need to establish you are within the personal injury claims time limit for claiming. Normally, it is 3 years from the incident, but if the infection is not discovered until later, the period could begin from the discovery date. There are exceptions to this, so do call if you need more advice on the time limit associated with your specific case.
After this, you should look at gathering evidence. You should take down a note of everything that happened to you, including the names of any treating physicians, as well as evidence of anyone who has witnessed what has happened to you – whether they saw you suffer symptoms, treated you for Listeriosis, or witnessed you being provided with food that might have caused the infection.
Next, and perhaps most importantly in our opinion, you need to seek help from someone with experience in personal injury law. You could claim on your own, but with little or no legal experience, you could miss something important out of the claim that could make a real difference to your compensation payout.
At Accident Claims UK, we advise claimants to use a solicitor who works on a No Win No Fee payment structure. We’ll explain more about this below.
Not only could you claim for the illness/infection itself and the symptoms you have experienced, which are awarded in general damages, you could also claim for special damages for your losses. These could include:
- Current/future losses of earnings
- Medical costs such as prescriptions/therapies
- Travel costs associated directly with your illness such as travel to medical appointments
- Care costs for someone who has looked after you if you were unable to look after yourself
If you lost a loved one because they contracted an infection in a Listeria hospital outbreak, you may be able to claim funeral costs, and even lost income if they were the main breadwinner within Listeria outbreak claims.
If you were wondering what amount of compensation you might be awarded in successful Listeria outbreak claims, the table below provides an idea of how much you could be awarded. Please keep in mind that you may have suffered other illnesses or symptoms in addition or instead of the injuries/damage indicated in the table.
|This should only cause minor symptoms that could be diahhroea, nausea or pain and clear up in just a few days with no long-term effects
|£910 to £3,950
|Might need hospital treatment may be required. Similar symptoms (but worse) than minor poisoning and could also include fever and fatigue.
|£3,950 to £9,540
|As above but also up to 4 weeks of ongoing cramps and vomiting,
|£9,540 to £19,200
|Could have long lasting effects affecting life quality and ability to work. Require long-term hospital treatment.
|£38,430 to £52,500
|Fear of impending loss of life
|£54,830 to £115,730
|£19,070 to £54,830
|£5,860 to £19,070
|£1,540 to £5,860
Please also note that these are only rough guidelines, and your specific payout may differ depending on your individual circumstances.
If you are considering making a Listeria hospital outbreak claim, we strongly advise you consider filing a No Win No Fee claim which means there would be no upfront fee to find. Instead, you would sign a contract with them – a Conditional Fee Agreement. This contract sets out a percentage that would be paid to the solicitor out of your settlement once your claim is settled.
Other benefits of filing a No Win No Fee claims would include a personal injury solicitor working hard to ensure you are awarded a fair level of compensation as this could benefit them as well as you. To find out more about No Win No Fee Claims, please contact a member of our team.
You may have a lot of questions that need answers if you are thinking about filing a personal injury claim. A solicitor with extensive experience in handling claims like yours could advise you on what options you may have, and provide support throughout. We pride ourselves on being able to provide claims solicitors to help take your case forward while offering essential legal advice which is free of charge.
For free advice, guidance and support, call 0800 073 8801 to be connected with one of our advisers. You’ll find us compassionate and friendly, yet completely professional, and we’ll hold your information in the strictest of confidence.
If you’d prefer to contact us via email, you can at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you could opt to fill out our contact form or use the live chat.
Could Listeria outbreak claims be made on behalf of a child?
If, for example, a child suffered Listeria due to someone else’s negligence, and they could be held liable for the illness, your child would not be able to claim for themselves until they turned 18 years old. However, as a parent of a child who has contracted Listeria, you could make Listeria outbreak claims on their behalf. When you make a claim on behalf of a child you would have to apply to be a litigation friend to them. This would mean you would have the authority to make some decisions on certain aspects of their case. Keeping their best interests in mind as all times, you could help decide on whether to accept a compensation settlement, or whether to fight through court.
Do you need a solicitor for a hospital infection compensation claim?
However, making these decisions alone could be tricky. This is why it could be a wise idea to have an experienced personal injury solicitor on your side. But how do you find such a solicitor? When you search for personal injury solicitor you will likely find that they all advertise as being authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Some of them may offer a no win no fee claims service, while others may not. A wise idea would be to take a look at previous reviews that have been left for the solicitor or law firm you’re considering using. You could also make a shortlist and call them to ask them questions about their success rate and claims they’ve handled before.
We would be happy to advise you on how to go about making Listeria outbreak claims on behalf of a child you’re responsible for. Our team could access your case for free, and give you the guidance and support you need to take your claim forward. We would also be happy to give free legal advice if you are claiming for a loved one who was passed away because of a listeria outbreak.
What evidence do I need to make a hospital infection compensation claim?
As well as helping claimants with listeria-related claims, we could also assist with other negligence claims for common infections in hospitals. In all cases, you would need to prove that a medically trained professional failed to provide you with the correct standard of care and caused you to sustain avoidable harm. To do so, you’d need evidence which could include:
- Medical evidence
- Investigation reports
- Documents showing the financial impact of your injury/illness
If you’d like to speak to us about evidencing a hospital infection compensation claim, simply call our team. We could talk you through the process of making a claim and what evidence you might need for a successful outcome.
Listeria update – GOV – Here you can see the latest updates to the investigation by the government.
Food.gov.uk – This is where you can find more information about Listeria investigations.
NHS – Listeriosis – The NHS page on Listeriosis
Misdiagnosis – If you’ve been misdiagnosed and it has made your condition worse, you could look at making a claim here.
Restaurant claims – If you’ve contract Listeriosis from a restaurant, then you might wish to read this page.
Wrongful death – You can look at how to claim on behalf of someone else here.
Here ends our guide to Listeria outbreak claims.