At some point in our lives, most of us have had the unpleasant experience of getting sick from our food. What’s typically referred to as food poisoning occurs when we eat something tainted with a foodborne pathogen, usually resulting in a miserable day or more of vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms of food poisoning can range from annoying to life threatening. The cause can also vary — in some circumstances, it amounts to nothing more than an unfortunate accident, but others can be traced back to negligence by a restaurant or food manufacturer. If you’ve been affected by food poisoning, it may be possible to pursue a food poisoning lawsuit.
Suing a Restaurant
Say you eat at a restaurant and become violently ill with food poisoning, and wish to file a personal injury lawsuit. What’s next?
First, you’ll need to consult a doctor to determine exactly what made you ill. Food poisoning is generally caused by a bacteria such as E.coli, Listeria, Salmonella, or Shigella. Once they’ve narrowed down what sickened you, doctors can actually study the DNA of the bacteria to determine its geographic origin and compare it to bacteria that may have gotten other people sick. If other people also came down with food poisoning after eating from the same restaurant, and the genetic markers of the bacteria are the same, your case is likely to be strong. If you saved any leftovers from the meal that made you ill, these can also be used as evidence to strengthen your suit.
What a Food Poisoning Lawyer Will Do For You
Next, your lawyer will need to look more into the restaurant’s practices and determine the exact source of blame when suing for food poisoning. Perhaps it was a single employee who was sick and failed to exercise good hygiene. Or, the restaurant itself could be found to be negligent. If your food poisoning lawyer finds that the restaurant has a pattern of violating food safety regulations, the business could be found “grossly negligent” — meaning that you’d be eligible to receive punitive damages (money intended to punish the guilty party) in addition to compensatory damages (funds to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, etc).
Suing a Food Manufacturer for Food Poisoning
Food poisoning doesn’t always occur as a result of eating out. People can sometimes fall ill as a result of packaged food purchased from a grocery store, too.
Food products are strictly regulated, and huge batches of any product will be recalled if it’s determined that there is any potential for making people sick — whether it’s contaminated with bacteria or perhaps contains a potential allergen that’s not properly labeled. But despite the preventative efforts of food recalls, people may consume the product before the recall is issued, or simply miss the news of the recall and consume it anyway.
It’s a good idea to check the news for recent food recalls and stay on the safe side, but if you’ve gotten sick from a food product, you may have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit.