It has happened to everyone at some point: you go to a questionable sushi bar, or you order a mystery meal in a foreign country, and a few hours later you discover that your stomach does not agree with your food choices. In the best case scenario, you’ll feel sick for a few hours and wake up the next day feeling fine.
But in other cases, food poisoning can cause an amalgam of health issues that require extensive medical care. Severe bacterial infections may require hospitalization, and for those with weakened immune systems, these infections may even be fatal.
Whether you’re eating out at a restaurant or cooking food in your own home, it is possible to get food poisoning due to bacterial contamination. If this illness causes severe harm, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit and collect financial damages. Here’s a look at some common questions about food poisoning lawsuits:
How does food poisoning happen?
Food poisoning can happen when food is improperly stored, prepared, or packaged. Bacteria and viruses can contaminate food at any point before it is consumed.
Farmers and food manufacturers typically have modern methods of reducing or eliminating bacteria from foods. Nevertheless, contamination may still occur if equipment isn’t cleaned properly before coming into contact with food products. Restaurants, grocery stores, and other dining establishments are often required to abide by additional safety regulations to ensure that food is stored and prepared properly.
Some of the more common bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning include E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. Although less common, food poisoning cases might also include Hepatitis, Clostridium botulinum (which causes botulism), Shigella, and norovirus.
How do you know if you have a food poisoning personal injury case?
It’s difficult to state with certainty what justifies a lawsuit, because every personal injury case involves many factors that make it unique. There are three primary causes of action that claimants might assert when accusing a company of causing food poisoning:
- Negligence: Stating that the business failed to exercise reasonable care while handling food, and that this failure directly caused a customer to fall ill.
- Strict products liability: There is no requirement to prove a lack of reasonable care, but the claimant must be able to prove that a contaminated food product directly caused the illness.
- Breach of warranty: Businesses might be held accountable for a breach of warranty (particularly large food manufacturers or distributors). This cause of action states that the company sold a product that did not meet a standard level of quality.
Proving that another business was responsible for the food contamination is one of the most important parts of a successful food poisoning claim. It can be difficult for a claimant to prove exactly which business was responsible for the contamination, which is why several cases of a bacterial infection or virus might occur before authorities can determine the common link.
If you have suffered from a serious illness related to food poisoning, you might be entitled to financial damages. This money can help recover losses from medical bills, time off from work, and other out-of-pocket expenses. To determine whether or not your situation may call for a lawsuit, speak with a personal injury lawyer today.