Food Poisoning: When You Can Sue (Basics and Tips)

Food Poisoning: When You Can Sue

Food poisoning is a common occurrence, with lots of cases popping up every year. For instance, the US reported an outbreak of salmonella infections linked to imported cucumber in 2015. It affected about 907 people in 40 states, and 204 among them were hospitalized while six people died.

Some foodborne illnesses can be catastrophic, and the affected victims can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, it will also depend on the illness’s circumstances, such as time taken before the illness’s onset after consuming a certain meal. Continue reading to learn when you can sue for food poisoning.

Legal Theories

There are various theories that victims can rely on while pursuing justice for the pain suffered due to food poisoning. One of the popular is strict product liability. This law only requires you to show that the food you consumed was contaminated and led to your illness. You don’t have to show that the supplier or manufacture was careless in making or distributing the contaminated product.

Another theory is the breach or warranties, which has been implemented by many states. It imposes a particular minimum standard on implied warranties. If the contaminated food product you consumed resulted from a breach of these warranties, you could sue the responsible party.

You can also sue a supplier or manufacturer if their negligence resulted in your illness. For instance, you can claim that a restaurant violated its duty of care to serve you food without proper preparation, hygiene or lack of proper storage.

Proving Your Claim

To successfully file a food poisoning lawsuit, you must prove that your illness resulted from consuming a particular food product. If there was some delay from eating the meal to when the symptoms showed up, it might limit your chances of getting compensated. Additionally, if you consumed other meals, it may be difficult to know which one made you sick.

To have solid proof, you can visit a medical expert to test your stool for food poisoning. If the test reveals that the food contained similar microbes found in the meal you consumed, it will strengthen your claim.

Further, if a government agency is involved in the investigations of a certain outbreak relating to your illness, it simplifies your case. Scientists involved in testing for the disease-causing microbes can provide vital evidence linking the food to your illness. For instance, in 2015, a certain meal served at Chipotle was linked to Norovirus and E.coli, which led to various restaurants’ closure. Some of the causes of these illnesses were as a result of the following:

  • Temperature control
  • Lack of handwashing
  • Contaminated produce
  • Sick employees involved in the food preparation

Filing a Food Poisoning Lawsuit

If you have grounds to prove that a particular food item or restaurant served you contaminated food, you can file a lawsuit. However, note that every state has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. Still, several legal standards apply around food safety, and you need to be fully familiar with the law.

As a result, you need an attorney to maximize the success of your product liability claim. A lawyer can explain how the defendant breached the implied state warranties that resulted in your illness. Based on the damages you incur, a legal expert will also ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.

Food-related illnesses result in an unpleasant experience, and it can easily disrupt your usual schedule. Notably, a CDC study revealed that almost 48 million people in the US suffer from food poisoning per year. If a certain food item from a food service company, restaurant or grocery store results in food poisoning, call a personal injury lawyer right now. They will help you with the legal procedures to ensure that you get compensated for economic and non-economic damages.

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