​Can I Recover Compensation for Food Poisoning?

​Can I Recover Compensation for Food Poisoning?

​Can I Recover Compensation for Food Poisoning
​Can I Recover Compensation for Food Poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 48 million people become sick yearly from food poisoning. That is about one out of every six Americans. In addition, every year, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 pass away from this food-borne illness.

Yet, while food poisoning is relatively common, if you or a loved one got sick and endured life-changing damages because of it, you may be able to recover compensation for all the losses you sustained.

In the guide below, we will go over what you need to know about food poisoning, the legal claims that can result from it, and what types of compensation you may be entitled to if you suffered significant losses from this illness.

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What Exactly Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning, also referred to as a foodborne illness, is a widespread infection that tends to follow the consumption of spoiled, contaminated, or toxic water or food. Although the more common symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, these symptoms will vary depending on the type and source of the infection.

In some situations, food poisoning can even become life-threatening and result in severe symptoms:

  • Severe dehydration
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • High fever
  • Diarrhea lasting for three or more days
  • Bloody urine

Common Causes of Food Poisoning

Different foods carry different germs and bacteria that can cause serious illnesses.

While there are many different strains of bacteria that can result in food poisoning, this food-borne illness is often due to:

  • Salmonella: A bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Most people become infected through contaminated water or food.
  • E.Coli: A bacterial strain that affects most through contaminated water or food.
  • Hepatitis: The Hepatitis A virus often infects people through contaminated water and food, including raw shellfish like oysters.
  • Listeria: Listeria is a severe infection due to eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
  • Shigella: Shigella is a type of food poisoning that results from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
  • Norovirus: A highly infectious strain of food poisoning that causes more than half of all reported food-borne illnesses
  • Cyclospora: a protozoan parasite that reproduces in the human body and is transmitted through fecal contamination of food or water. 

For more information regarding these causes and what could have resulted in your food poisoning, consider discussing your situation with a knowledgeable food poisoning attorney.

These lawyers can walk you through these different sources, determine if one of them caused your illness, and help you go over the legal options that you may have.

Common Foods Associated with Food Poisoning

Although viruses and bacteria can contaminate almost any type of food, some foods are associated with food poisoning more often than others.

They include:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy products, such as milk and cheese
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Meats
  • Sprouts
  • Raw flour

However, if you got sick from a food not indicated on the above list, do not let this deter you from reaching out to an experienced food poisoning attorney. These lawyers can go over the viability of your claim, figure out the legal options you may have, and assist you in pursuing the monetary damages you are entitled to.

Serious Injuries Associated With Food Poisoning

As mentioned, symptoms of food poisoning can vary widely, with some infections becoming life-threatening.

However, in general, some of the more severe illnesses that can result from food poisoning include:

  • Meningitis
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure
  • Kidney damage
  • Arthritis
  • Brain damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Septic blood poisoning
  • Death

Depending on the circumstances of the infection, these health issues can last for days, weeks, and months. For others, they may never truly go away. What’s more, these severe cases may also require extensive hospitalization and long-term medications, which can impose significant financial hardship on victims suffering from food poisoning and their families.

For these reasons, if you endured substantial losses due to food poisoning, consider reaching out to an experienced food poisoning attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can review your situation, determine if you have a viable claim, and help you figure out what actions you should take to go after the financial damages you deserve.

Liability for Food Poisoning

Due to the nature of food poisoning, there can be numerous parties to blame for this foodborne illness, including:

  • Restaurants or other merchants that are responsible for preparing, manufacturing, serving, or selling the food
  • Companies that grew or produced the food
  • Grocery stores or other food distributors
  • Wholesalers
  • Supply companies
  • Transporters
  • Processors that prepared the food for consumption and sale

To determine which parties were responsible for your foodborne illness and who you can hold accountable for your damages and losses, consider discussing the matter with a knowledgeable food poisoning attorney. These lawyers can identify the potential defendants and assist you in holding those liable accountable for causing you harm.

If you are looking to pursue a lawsuit for food poisoning, your lawyer will probably file 

  • A strict liability claim
  • A negligence claim
  • A breach of warranty claim, and
  • State specific claims under food safety or consumer protection laws

Strict Liability

In a strict liability lawsuit, a food poisoning claimant need not show a lack of reasonable care–you don’t need to prove negligence. Instead, you need to show that the food that the store or restaurant served you was unreasonably dangerous and it caused your illness. In these lawsuits, causation is proven using microbiological methods used by public health authorities, like whole genome sequencing (WGS), akin to DNA fingerprinting, for the particular foodborne illness. 

Financial Damages You Can Pursue Following Food Poisoning

If you suffered from food poisoning, you may be able to pursue certain types of compensation. This compensation is usually broken down into the following two categories:

Economic Damages in a Food-Borne Illness Lawsuit

These damages reimburse a victim for their actual losses, such as:

  • Medical bills due to hospitalization, prescription medications, specialist visits, and other types of treatments
  • Lost income and business opportunities
  • Transportation assistance to get to medical appointments
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages in a Food-Borne Illness Lawsuit

Non-economic damages are payments intended to make a victim whole for certain intangible losses.

These hard-to-prove losses usually include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Decrease in the enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

When the food poisoning results in death, the deceased’s family members may also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to secure compensation for their losses. However, to determine which of these damages you may be able to go after, reach out to a skilled personal injury lawyer at soon as possible. These attorneys can review the facts of your case, determine which of these damages apply, and assist you in preparing the strongest case possible to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Should You Go to the Doctor for Food Poisoning?

Going to the hospital or a doctor not only provides critical help for your illness, but also your legal claim. Many types of food poisoning are considered “reportable illnesses,” which means that a positive test for these types of infection can prompt investigation from state- or federal-level public health officials. Investigations by public officials, paired with positive test results, help prove a legal claim. 

In some cases of food poisoning, this foodborne illness can lead to severe issues and symptoms requiring emergency intervention and even in-patient stay. Additionally, getting this treatment can record test results and symptoms in your records. These records can show the insurance company and the at-fault party the severity of a condition that required immediate medical attention.

On the other hand, failing to get your food poisoning checked out can make it harder to prove your case, as you may lack evidence to show the your symptoms and damages. This can hurt your chances of securing the money you need.

Time Limitations and Food Poisoning Lawsuits

The statute of limitations is a law that indicates how long individuals have to bring legal action following an alleged offense. If these individuals do not file their lawsuit within this time, the court can bar them from obtaining the money they need or pursuing further legal action.

When it comes to product liability claims, such as those involving food poisoning, the deadline to bring a suit will differ depending on each state’s rules. However, generally, individuals will have around two to four years to take legal action.

Yet, even though you may have years to file a lawsuit, never wait that long, as the longer you delay filing, the higher the chances that witnesses can no longer testify, evidence disappears, and memories of the incident can fade.

Do not run out of time to file your suit and prepare a solid legal case. Contact an experienced food poisoning attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyers can review the applicable state statutes, determine how much time you have to file your legal suit, and submit your case before time runs out.

Russell Nicolet
Russell Nicolet, Food Poisoning Lawyer

The stress involved in filing a legal claim is the last thing you should worry about as you recover from food poisoning. When you retain experienced legal counsel to advocate for you, you can relieve yourself of this burden and instead work with a knowledgeable team that can help you go after the maximum damages you deserve.

Once these attorneys are hired, they can not only determine if you have a valid legal case but they can also:

  • Go over your legal options and answer all the questions you have regarding this suit.
  • Investigate your food poisoning incident in detail and determine the extent of your damages and liability.
  • Go after the wrongful parties and hold them answerable for your losses and injuries.
  • Handle settlement negotiations with the other parties or the insurance company.
  • Fight for maximum financial recovery.

If you or a loved one suffered extensive medical bills and related costs due to food poisoning, pursuing legal action may be a valid option for you. Contact an experienced food poisoning attorney today for a free case evaluation and learn how these lawyers can help you with your claim.