Studies show up to 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the United States each year. Because of its prevalence, many people wonder if they can sue a restaurant, retailer or food manufacturer for food poisoning. And with headlines of food poisoning in popular restaurant chains like Chipotle and McDonalds, understanding your rights is essential if you’ve suffered from food poisoning.
What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning occurs when food that’s consumed contains bacteria or a virus. The bacteria can contaminate the food in a variety of different ways including:
- If the food is prepared by someone with unclean hands
- If the food is prepared with unclean cooking utensils
- If meat is undercooked
- If fish, oysters, or fruits are raw
- If foods aren’t stored at a proper temperature
Can You Sue for Food Poisoning: Proving Your Case
Food poisoning may be difficult to prove because it may be hard to trace to exactly what it was that caused you to become ill. To bring a successful claim, you must show that the food you ate was contaminated and that it was that same contaminated food that made you ill.
Much of the time it’s difficult to determine whether the food you ate was contaminated because it is hard to pinpoint what exactly made you sick. This is even more of a challenge if there has been a time delay between eating the food and exhibiting symptoms. However, if many other people have come down with food poisoning by eating the same contaminated food, your case could be easier to prove.
Liability for Food Poisoning
Not all personal injury cases arising from food poisoning are the same, and laws vary from state to state. Many cases fall under a "product liability" legal theory, making food poisoning cases similar to cases involving injury from a defective product. Other possibilities for liability include negligence and breach of warranty. For example, the restaurant could be liable for negligence if it didn’t provide a safe environment with safe food. In a breach of warranty case, there is usually the notion that a product will meet the expectations of an ordinary buyer. Clearly, an ordinary buyer would not expect his food to be contaminated and may then have a legal claim.
Attorneys for Food Poisoning
At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassion and empathy and want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.