Can You Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning/Foodborne Illness?

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How Can I File a Restaurant Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

How Can I File a Restaurant Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

Nov 15, 2021

If you’ve ever experienced a bout of food poisoning, you’re more than likely aware of how difficult the symptoms can be and how long the recovery process can take. Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and more are all too common during food poisoning and various other types of foodborne illnesses.

When you fall ill with food poisoning as a result of negligence on the part of a restaurant, grocery store, of even a food delivery service, how can you file a lawsuit to recover financial compensation for any hospital or medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering?

Below we will review everything you need to know about your legal rights and options after food poisoning or foodborne illness involving negligence. We’ll also provide important information on how to file a civil claim with Dordulian Law Group in pursuit of a maximum financial damages award for your injury.

What is Food Poisoning or Foodborne Illness?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are five specific germs that are known to cause illnesses from food eaten in the United States. Those germs include:

  • Norovirus
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Campylobacter
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)

Additionally, the CDC have compiled a list including dozens of germs that, while not known to cause as many foodborne illnesses as those above, are much more likely to lead to hospitalization in the event of an infection. Some of those common foodborne illness or food poisoning-related germs include:

  • Amebiasis
  • Anisakiasis
  • Ascariasis (Intestinal roundworm infection)
  • Angiostrongyliasis (Rat lungworm)
  • Anthrax
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Botulism (Clostridium botulinum)
  • Brucellosis (Brucella infection)
  • Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter infection)
  • Cholera (Vibrio cholerae infection)
  • Ciguatera (fish poisoning)
  • Cronobacter
  • Clostridium botulinum (Botulism)
  • Cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidium infection)
  • Cyclospora (Cyclospora infection)
  • Cysticercosis
  • Cystoisosporiasis (formerly known as Isosporiasis)
  • Diphyllobothriasis (Diphyllobothrium infection)
  • E.coli
  • Giardiasis (Giardia infection)
  • Haverhill (Rat-bite fever)
  • Hepatitis A-Viral Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Listeriosis (Listeria infection)
  • Taeniasis
  • Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma infection)
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Trichinellosis/Trichinosis (Trichinella infection)
  • Viral gastroenteritis
  • Vibrio Illness (Vibriosis)
  • Yersinia (Yersinia enterocolitica infection)

While food poisoning can affect virtually anyone, some demographics are more susceptible than others to contracting such infections and viruses. Those who may be more at-risk for contracting a foodborne illness include:

  • The elderly
  • The immunocompromised
  • Young children
  • Those with underlying conditions (whether chronic or acute at the time of ingestion)

Common foodborne illness/food poisoning symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

Any of the above symptoms are recommended to be assessed as soon as possible by a medical professional. By receiving medical care for your foodborne illness injury, you have a greater likelihood of being able to recover financial compensation in the event of filing a civil lawsuit.

Some serious symptoms of foodborne illness should never be ignored and require immediate medical attention. Those may include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomiting blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

When is a Restaurant, Grocery Store, or Food Delivery Service Liable for Food Poisoning?

Simply acquiring an injury such as food poisoning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eligible for financial compensation through a civil claim. California law stipulates that negligence must be proven in order to recover financial damages in a personal injury civil lawsuit.

For injured victims, this may seem like an impossible task – how can I actually prove that the restaurant, grocery store, or food delivery service was negligent and therefore liable for my food poisoning?

First, it’s important to note that all businesses which provide food to customers have what’s known as a duty of care under personal injury law. This means that restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery services have a legal obligation to not serve harmful or contaminated food to customers.

Additionally, these businesses are responsible for the actions of their employees. If a cook or chef is ill and comes to work, he or she could contaminate countless meals being served to unsuspecting customers.

By hiring a personal injury lawyer from Dordulian Law Group (DLG) after your food poisoning incident, we will fight to prove negligence on the part of the responsible party and recover the financial compensation you deserve.

How Can I Prove Food Poisoning in a Civil Lawsuit?

California law provides injured victims of food poisoning with the opportunity to file civil claims under what are known as product liability laws. As a consumer, the food in restaurants, grocery stores, and containers delivered by delivery service workers must be free of any pathogens or bacteria that could cause it to be contaminated and therefore lead to infection.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of food poisoning, there are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible to ensure the illness is documented.
  • Report the illness to the restaurant/grocery store/food delivery service immediately.
  • Never sign any waiver or document supplied by the at-fault company before speaking to a lawyer.
  • Rather than attempting to investigate and prove negligence on your own, it is recommended that injured food poisoning victims arrange a free consultation with an experienced and qualified attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Law firms like DLG have access to investigators and resources that victims typically do not, and proving a foodborne illness claim can require extensive time and expertise.

While it may seem like liability for your food poisoning claim is a straightforward matter, the responsible party may not actually be the restaurant or grocery store where you procured the product. For example, depending on the circumstances, food suppliers (vegetables, fruits, meats, etc.) and even ingredient makers could ultimately be found to be responsible for your illness.

That’s one of many reasons why hiring a skilled and proven personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a foodborne illness can be so important.

Some common examples of food poisoning injury lawsuits (claims) may include:

  • A grocery store selling expired or contaminated food
  • A restaurant serving contaminated food
  • A restaurant serving food exposed to an employee’s illness
  • A restaurant, grocery store, or food delivery service selling food contaminated with a dangerous foreign object inside (plastic, glass, etc.)
  • A wholesale food supplier selling contaminated or expired food to a retailer/reseller

What Types of Damages May be Recoverable in a Restaurant Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

Food poisoning victims who are injured as a result of another party’s negligence or carelessness may be eligible to recover significant financial compensation for various losses. If you’ve been injured in a foodborne illness or restaurant food poisoning incident within the past two years, you may have a valid claim for a number of compensable damages.

Some common damages that may be recoverable after a food poisoning injury include:

Economic Damages:

  • Hospital or medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages:

In the event of a restaurant, grocery store, or food delivery service demonstrating a pattern of wanton disregard for the health and safety of others, punitive damages may also be sought in a food poisoning lawsuit. While rare, punitive damages are not capped in the state of California. DLG pursues punitive damages in all applicable cases.

DLG’s food poisoning/foodborne illness lawyers are available 24/7 for free consultations.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Handle My Food Poisoning Claim?

Proving negligence in a food poisoning lawsuit can be a challenging task requiring specific skills and a level of experience that can only be found with certain personal injury lawyers. At DLG, we have a great deal of experience successfully handling foodborne illness personal injury claims and helping injured victims like you recover the maximum financial compensation they deserve.

Before trying to prove your foodborne illness claim on your own, you might want to consider the findings of a recent study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The IRC’s data confirmed the following important details for injured food poisoning victims:

  • Claimants with private legal representation recovered settlements that were 40% higher.
  • The average insurance payout was actually 3.5 times higher for clients who had hired a private attorney than for those who represented themselves.
  • 85% of all financial compensation paid by insurance companies for bodily injuries was received by clients who had secured representation from a private personal injury attorney.

DLG is a top-rated and proven California personal injury firm led by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. With more than 25 years of experience and a 98% success record, Dordulian and his team have helped injured victims recover more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts.

For a free, discreet, and no obligation consultation, contact a member of our dedicated team today at 818-322-4056. There is never any fee until we recover maximum financial compensation for your food poisoning claim.

Go See Sam