Imagine eating a delicious meal at your favorite café or restaurant, only to experience nausea, vomiting, cramping, stomach pain, and diarrhea a few hours later. While most of these symptoms might subside within a few days, food-related illnesses can lead to weakness, fever, tingling, dehydration, and even death. In fact, you will be surprised to know that approximately 48 million people suffer from food poisoning every year. This is about one in every six US citizens.
So, if you or someone you love has been a victim of food poisoning and has left you wondering, “Can you sue for food poisoning?” You have come to the right place. In this article, we teach you everything there is to know about filing a food poisoning lawsuit.
What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is an illness that is caused by eating contaminated, poorly prepared, raw, or undercooked food. Food poisoning can be extremely dangerous for some people, resulting in hospitalization and even death in severe cases. Caused by viruses, pathogens, and bacteria like Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Vibrio, and Salmonella, food poisoning can cause mild to severe symptoms, including muscle weakness, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, fever, infection, dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The symptoms of food poisoning usually start within 24 hours of eating the contaminated food and can take several days to develop. Even though the symptoms might vary depending on the type of food poisoning, in most cases, the healthcare provider will advise you to 4 to 7 days of complete rest to recover from the foodborne illness.
Can You Sue for Food Poisoning?
Yes, as a citizen of the United States, you have the right to sue the restaurant, food supplier, or anyone who is responsible for serving you contaminated food (bad food) that has resulted in sickness. Before we move on to the process of filing a food poisoning lawsuit, you must understand that there are primarily five scenarios that can lead to this condition:
1. The food was undercooked.
2. The food was contaminated or infected by the handlers.
3. The food was not properly stored or refrigerated.
4. The restaurant has unhygienic cooking and food serving practices.
5. The food that you were served was expired or made using expired ingredients.
Most food poisoning lawsuits are settled outside the court through negotiation between the defendant (party at fault) and the plaintiff (you). If the defendant isn’t cooperating or agreeing to give a fair amount of compensation, you can take the case to trial.
1. Proving the Food Poisoning Claim
The first step to filing a food poisoning claim is to collect evidence. In order to successfully sue the food provider, you must prove that:
● The restaurant or chef had a duty towards you.
● They failed to fulfill their duty.
● You have suffered harm due to the failure.
● You should be compensated for the damages.
Because several days have passed since you ate the contaminated food, and you probably didn’t bring home any leftovers, finding solid evidence can be tricky. In a food poisoning claim, tainted food is the most critical evidence. However, now that it is long gone, you must gather “circumstantial evidence.” For example, make sure to keep a record of all the medical bills and go back to the “scene of the crime” to find out if anyone else got sick.
2. Legal Arguments That You Should Know About
A facility or restaurant that prepares the food is responsible for every customer. Thus, you will need to prove that the responsible party (defendant) is legally liable to follow the state product liability laws and has failed to do so. Listed below are some situations in which the restaurant can be held responsible for the foodborne illness:
● The restaurant failed to establish safe food-handling policies.
● The restaurant failed to maintain safe food storage conditions.
● The chef and servers behaved carelessly, and the served food was already damaged or contaminated.
● The restaurant has violated state or federal safety and health standards.
Having a food poisoning attorney will help you determine whether you must file a negligence claim, a breach of a warranty claim, or a strict liability claim.
1. Negligence Claim: You must prove that the restaurant had a high duty of care toward you. However, they failed to do so by not following the food and health safety standards.
2. Breach of Warranty Claim: You must prove that the restaurant served you products that weren’t up to the warranty and had illness-causing bacteria.
3. Strict Liability Claim: You will not have to prove that the restaurant showed negligence towards you. Instead, you can simply win the case by proving that the food served to you was already “defective.”
3. Getting a Compensation for the Food Poisoning Lawsuit
Once you have successfully proved your case and the judge has decided in your favor, you will be compensated for the losses incurred due to the food poisoning. This includes maximum compensation for medical bills, lost workdays, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, disability, emotional distress, and suffering and pain.
However, in case your family member has passed away because of food poisoning. The surviving family member of the deceased has every right to make a claim for wrongful death damages. In either case, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced, trusted, and reliable food poisoning attorney to help you prove your case and get the compensation that you deserve.
Newland & Newland, LLP Has the Best Food Poisoning Attorney in Illinois
With the combined experience of some of the most reputed and experienced personal injury attorneys in Illinois, Newland & Newland, LLP can help you with all your food poisoning lawsuit needs. Over the years, our lawyers have helped hundreds of people in getting maximum compensation for mental anguish, lost wages, and medical bills they had to pay because of eating contaminated food.
So, whether you have contracted the illness from a nursing home, cruise ship, or restaurant, you should never have to incur expenses caused by someone else’s negligence. Contact us to schedule a free phone consultation right away.