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Can You Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?

Posted in Personal Injury,Product Liability on July 23, 2018

Food poisoning is extremely uncomfortable for anyone who has experienced it. If you get food poisoning after going out to eat, you may determine that the restaurant was responsible for your illness. When this is the case, you may be wondering if it’s possible to sue the restaurant for food poisoning.

Is a Lawsuit Possible?

When injury and illness result from another party’s actions, California law allows for victims to pursue rightful compensation from those responsible for their suffering. This means that if the restaurant’s food truly was responsible for your illness, then you may have grounds to file a claim.

Potential claims for food poisoning can include:

  • Product liability. In product liability claims, the restaurant is responsible for providing you with a proper product, which would be food free of bacteria or other illness-causing viruses.
  • Personal injury. These cases work on a basis of negligence – the restaurant’s negligent actions, such as serving spoiled food or not preparing items correctly, led to your illness.

When these circumstances occur, you may be eligible for compensation. However, pursuing a lawsuit over food poisoning may not always be the most worthwhile move.

Chances of Success

Personal injury cases and similar lawsuits require that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was responsible for their injuries, and the same rules apply to cases of food poisoning. While it may be easy for you to think your meal at the restaurant may have led to your illness, proving this in a court of law can be difficult.

The most critical piece of evidence – your meal – may already be gone. Even if you have leftovers, proving that you didn’t tamper with the food after taking it home can also be difficult. A restaurant may claim that you did not properly refrigerate your leftovers, which then led to your illness. There is also the chance your illness arose due to other circumstances besides your meal.

Proving that your meal caused your food poisoning can involve testing samples of your food and stool for matching bacteria. It is also easier to prove that a food resulted in sickness if several people who ate it fell similarly ill, such as a class action lawsuit due to mass food contamination. If you can confirm these factors, you will have a chance of a successful lawsuit, but it is not always a guarantee.

The Value of a Food Poisoning Case

Even when you have solid proof that the restaurant’s food caused your illness, going to court may not be a worthwhile endeavor. Even though you have suffered through food poisoning, the lack of intense medical bills may not amount to much in terms of damages. The time and cost of court may not be worth the potential payout.

However, situations that have incurred massive damages can result in larger compensation. For example, if your illness caused you to miss work for an extended time resulting in lost wages, you may have a stronger case. Food poisoning that involves more deadly bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella often requires hospitalization, which results in higher financial damages than cases where you simply needed to stay at home and rest to recover. Class action lawsuits that involve damages to many people also have a higher potential payout.

Determining the exact value of your food poisoning case can be tricky. If you are uncertain if your case is worthy of a claim, schedule a free consultation with an attorney in your area. An experienced Bakersfield personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have solid proof of liability and determine your potential compensation. If you wish to file a claim, you will need an attorney to represent you fully in court.