Can You Sue For Food Poisoning?

by Sarah Stasik
Elder male suffering stomach ache, sharp cramps in upper abdomen, indigestion

Food poisoning is a foodborne illness that occurs when you eat or drink items that aren't prepared correctly or are prepared with infected ingredients. The results of food poisoning can range from inconvenient and unpleasant gastric distress to serious complications that require hospitalization.

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The potential for serious injuries leads some people to wonder whether they can sue for food poisoning.

Can You Sue for Food Poisoning?

You can file a personal injury lawsuit for food poisoning. Whether the case is successful depends, in part, on your ability to prove that you did suffer from food poisoning, that you suffered damages due to those injuries and that someone else was at fault or negligent in creating the situation. A food poisoning lawyer can help you understand how strong your case is and what your steps to seeking compensation might look like.

Can You Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?

Yes, you can sue for food poisoning if you believe a restaurant caused it. Understanding how to sue a restaurant for food poisoning requires speaking to a food poisoning attorney.

Can You Sue a Grocery Store for Food Poisoning?

Likewise, you can sue a grocery store for food poisoning. In fact, you can sue any business or company that handles or prepares food or beverages that you ingested if you believe those items to be at fault for your food poisoning. It's important to note that bringing a lawsuit for food poisoning doesn't necessarily mean you'll win the case or receive any type of compensation.

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How Do You Win a Food Poisoning Case?

You'll need to take numerous steps to support a chance at a successful outcome with a food poisoning lawsuit. The first is a diagnosis of food poisoning. An official diagnosis typically comes after a medical professional takes a stool sample or other sample to verify the presence of something making you sick. Without this step, you may simply be basing your claim on the fact that you feel unwell, and that isn't a strong case.

Next, you'll need to build a case that a specific food — from a specific restaurant, grocery store or other business — made you sick. This is more difficult than proving you had some sort of food poisoning in the first place because you may not realize you're sick until hours or even a day or more later. You could have eaten other things since then, and it can be hard to pinpoint the origin of your illness.

How Do You Prove Food Poisoning From a Restaurant?

One way lawyers work to pinpoint food poisoning origin is through circumstantial evidence. If your attorney can build a large enough body of evidence, you may have a strong case.

An example of the type of evidence that can help prove that food poisoning came from a specific restaurant is the fact that other diners who ate there at the same time or who had the same dish also became sick. Attorneys may also subpoena evidence and witnesses. They might, for example, look at food storage records to determine if a case can be made that a restaurant wasn't storing ingredients at an appropriate temperature or call witnesses from a commercial kitchen to testify about how food was managed.

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How Much Money Can You Get for Food Poisoning?

Settlements in food poisoning lawsuits range widely. Some people are compensated a few thousand dollars to cover medical bills, for example, while others might end up with tens or hundreds of thousands in compensation.

The total amount of a settlement depends on factors such as how severe the injuries and losses were and the strength of the case that can be made against a specific business or party. For example, if someone suffers food poisoning that's so severe they're hospitalized for many days and can't work for months, they have more damages to claim than someone who experienced an overnight stay in the hospital and was out of work for a week.

One of the best ways to understand the type of compensation you might be able to seek after experiencing food poisoning is to talk to a lawyer who's experienced in food poisoning cases.

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