Can Customers Sue For Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness contracted by eating food containing bacteria or viruses. Can customers sue for food poisoning?

Food poisoning caused by a product purchased from a business can result in a personal injury claim to cover related medical and hospital expenses, lost income, and other damages.

Food poisoning claims are most successful when there is documented contamination of food products, like a foodborne illness alert issued by a government agency. In those cases, food suppliers, restaurants, or other businesses may be subject to claims if they served food contaminated by e. coli, listeria, norovirus, or salmonella.

The most common type of contaminated food claim is a product liability lawsuit, which allows the recovery of damages. In some cases, numerous food poisoning cases may develop into a class-action case.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness contracted by eating food containing bacteria or viruses. How the food became contaminated can vary. It may have been from a farm, during packaging, when transported, at a restaurant, and even at someone’s home.

The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain, often similar to the stomach flu or other illnesses. That’s why it can be difficult to diagnose food poisoning as the cause. And it can be difficult to determine which food led to the illness.

Food poisoning can be mild with symptoms lasting a few days or severe with hospitalization required that can last longer and result in life-threatening conditions. Those most vulnerable to severe food poisoning symptoms are young children, pregnant women, seniors and people already suffering from an illness.

Any food can be contaminated by bacteria and viruses, but those typically associated with food poisoning include dairy products, meats, poultry, eggs, shellfish, and leafy green vegetables.

How are food poisoning lawsuits different from other personal injury claims?

Food poisoning cases are unique because they can be difficult to tie directly to the contaminated food. The symptoms may develop days after the contaminated food was eaten, making it hard to identify the source.

A food poisoning claim must prove that the party responsible is liable under state product liability laws. This can be difficult to do, even if you can easily prove the food was contaminated and that caused the illness. Food poisoning cases also aren’t always significant enough to justify filing a lawsuit. If the symptoms are mild and last only a few days, it may not warrant the cost and time needed to file a lawsuit.

However, one food poisoning case among numerous infections can be easier to pursue. When multiple people suffer from food obtained from the same place, it is easier to meet the conditions required for a successful and worthy case.

What health problems does food poisoning cause?

While most people infected with food poisoning suffer mild symptoms, some cases are more serious. An estimated 48 million people in the U.S. suffer food-borne illnesses each year and 128,000 of those require hospitalization, according to estimates from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, about 3,000 people die from food poisoning.

The more serious cases requiring hospitalization and those that lead to death are the most likely candidates for lawsuits.

How a lawyer can help your food poisoning claim

The most successful lawsuits over food poisoning are handled by lawyers with experience in these types of cases, like Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers. Because of the difficulty in establishing food poisoning cases, an experienced lawyer is the best option to properly identify the source of contamination and establish liability. There also are different state and federal standards that can apply to these cases, which a lawyer can help navigate.

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