Can You Sue for Food Poisoning? – Personal Injury Legal Blogs Posted by Michael John Tario

September is National Food Safety Education Month 2022, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Food safety is extremely important for avoiding cases of E-Coli and other food poisoning illnesses and we applaud the effort to educate about food safety.

What is food poisoning?

People get food poisoning by eating food that is contaminated with bacteria or viruses. Food may become contaminated at any stage of the process from the farm, during packaging, while traveling to the grocery store, while stored or cooked at a restaurant or because of improper food handling, storage, or cooking at a consumer’s own home.

If you or a loved one was sickened by food prepared in a restaurant or a contaminated product from the grocery store, you may be wondering: can you sue for food poisoning?

Can You Sue for Food Poisoning?

The simple answer is yes, it is possible to sue restaurants and other food suppliers for food poisoning such as e. coli, listeria, salmonella, and norovirus. A civil case for food poisoning is a type of personal injury claim.

A product liability lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim that can hold food processors accountable for negligent actions that lead to injuries. A product liability lawsuit may be the appropriate approach for seeking compensation for damages related to food poisoning, but you should always speak to a personal injury lawyer to discuss the best path forward.

Damages that may be recoverable in a tainted food products claim, include:

• Medical costs
• Hospital bills
• Lost income
• Pain and suffering
• Funeral and other expenses in a wrongful death situation

Challenges in food poisoning claims

Your personal injury lawyer will walk you through each step of your personal injury claim, identifying the liable party and gathering the evidence they need to secure full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

That said, there are some particular challenges that come with food poisoning claims:

1. Often, people don’t experience symptoms of food poisoning until two or more days after eating contaminated food, which can make it difficult to prove which food was actually the cause of the poisoning. Ideally, your case will be tied to a confirmed outbreak of foodborne illness where multiple people suffered from food poisoning from the same product or consumed/purchased at the same location.
2. The symptoms of food poisoning can be similar to those associated with the stomach flu, which can make identifying food poisoning more complicated.
3. Identifying the negligent party can be tricky, especially when the food was consumed at a restaurant and you don’t know the farmers and food processors who were responsible for the food in your meal.
4. A minor food poisoning illness may not be worth the time and the cost of a lawsuit. Always contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

What injuries may be caused by food poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 48 million Americans suffer from food poisoning each year. For most people who eat contaminated food, a range of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and fever come on suddenly and then resolve on their own within a week or so. Unfortunately, some people suffer very serious injuries from food poisoning that require hospitalization – pregnant women, the elderly, infants, children, and the immunocompromised are at higher risk. Each year, 128,000 people are hospitalized and an estimated 3,000 people are killed because of food poisoning.

Here are some tips of when to call a doctor for food poisoning:

Seek the help of a personal injury lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!