Food Poisoning Lawsuit

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When manufacturers, packers, food preparers, and others don’t follow proper food safety standards, people who shop at grocery stores or eat at restaurants can get food poisoning. If you or a loved one experienced food poisoning that led to medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages, and you believe someone else is at fault, contact Keep Food Safe so we can connect you with a food poisoning lawyer to discuss your case.

Millions of people in the United States get food poisoning each year, and most cases are not severe. However, some cases result in long illnesses, hospitalization, or even death. Some food poisoning cases are due to food mishandling at home, but others are due to the poor handling of products by manufacturers, suppliers, food preparers, and others.

If you have food poisoning and need legal help to pursue damages, contact Keep Food Safe. We can connect you with a food poisoning lawyer who has experience navigating these complex cases. We will fight to get you full and fair compensation.

Can You Sue for Food Poisoning?

You can sue for food poisoning if you can show negligence on the part of another party that led to your illness. There must be harm associated with your sickness, such as hospital or doctor bills, that make up the damages you ask for.

Your attorney will have to show that the defendant acted negligently and that your foodborne illness and your damages were the result. They normally do this by proving the four elements of negligence, including:

  1. The defendant had a duty to protect you from harm.
  2. They breached that duty.
  3. That breach caused you harm.
  4. Your harm led to damages.

In proving the breach of duty, your food poisoning lawyer must show that specific actions or inactions led to the food contamination. During settlement negotiations or in court, they must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your food poisoning.

If your loved one dies from food poisoning, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most states, spouses and children of the deceased can file claims, as can the deceased’s estate. In some cases, parents and others who depended financially on the decedent can claim damages. No matter where the negligence happened, from a restaurant to a school cafeteria, if there is negligence, then there is a liable party.

Types of Food Poisoning You Can Sue For

You often hear about food poisoning cases involving E. Coli and salmonella, many other types of bacteria and viruses can also cause food poisoning. Some of the most common include:

These viruses and bacteria may result from poor food handling, contamination in water used to clean crops, unsanitary conditions in food processing plants, and several other factors. Ask your doctor to ensure that the germ that made you ill is part of your medical records. If you decide to sue, your foodborne illness attorney can use that information to help your case.

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Causes of Food Poisoning

The most common foods that can cause food poisoning are mishandled at some point in the supply chain to market or by food preparers. Raw vegetables, fruit, grains, or products made from them, such as leafy greens, sprouts, and flour, are often sources of food poisoning.

Raw and undercooked food from animals, such as meat, poultry, eggs, unpasteurized milk, and seafood, are also common causes of food poisoning. This includes frozen products or other prepared foods that contain these ingredients.

Any food can carry germs that cause food poisoning, as contamination can occur at any point in the food production chain. Cross-contamination can also lead to food poisoning, such as when someone cutting raw chicken uses the same cutting board for vegetables without properly washing it first.

Dangers of Food Poisoning

Most symptoms of food poisoning go away after a few days as your body purges itself of toxins. However, there are complications of food poisoning that result in long-term illnesses and that are sometimes fatal.

Food poisoning in pregnant women can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth. The bacteria listeria is particularly dangerous, as it can cause neurological damage and death in newborns.

Some foodborne bacteria and viruses lead to brain and nervous system damage. Campylobacter can cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which leads to muscle weakness and numbness.

Listeria and E. coli can lead to meningitis, a serious illness that causes inflammation of the protective layers around your spinal cord and brain. E. coli can also cause kidney damage or failure or lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome which affects the kidney’s blood vessels.

Some people with food poisoning develop chronic arthritis or joint damage. Salmonella and campylobacter bacteria are linked to these health problems.

Food poisoning can happen to anyone, but the elderly, pregnant women, children, and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk and face a higher risk of becoming very ill.

Negligence in Food Poisoning Cases

Several problems in the food production chain and during food preparation lead to food poisoning.

At least a dozen agencies implement more than 35 federal food safety standards to help ensure U.S. food system safety. States have their own standards that manufacturers and other food handlers must follow. Violations of these standards can be construed as negligence and provide you the grounds for a food poisoning lawsuit.

Food Poisoning Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

It is difficult to put a number on how much you can win in a food poisoning lawsuit as it depends on factors such as your past and future medical expenses, lost wages and future earnings, and pain and suffering. If your food poisoning lawsuit is for the wrongful death of a loved one, you can also get damages such as funeral expenses and loss of consortium.

The quality of your evidence also plays a significant role in determining how much you can collect in a food poisoning lawsuit. An experienced foodborne illness lawyer can help you gather medical records, manufacturer safety records, witness statements, expert testimony, and other evidence critical to your case.

A case involving medical care but not hospitalization may result in damages of a few thousand dollars. If you were briefly hospitalized, your expenses could lead to $10,000 or more in damages. Serious cases involving lengthy hospitalizations and long-term medical needs can sometimes lead to foodborne illness settlements of $100,000 to $1 million or more.

In 2016, Chipotle Mexican Grill agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount with almost 100 customers who got sick with E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella after eating their food. Customers have received settlements in the millions of dollars for food poisoning cases against other restaurants.

Some food poisoning cases are so egregious they result in criminal charges. Chipotle agreed to a $25 million fine and deferred prosecution at the federal level for unsafe practices. Kerry Inc., a food and ingredient manufacturing company, agreed to a $19.228 million federal fine after environmental tests detected salmonella 81 times in two years at an unsanitary facility in Illinois.

Filing Your Lawsuit on Time So You Can Collect Damages

It’s important to know the statute of limitations applicable to your case to have a chance for damages in a food poisoning lawsuit. This is the time you have to file your claim starting from when you became ill. If you do not file your lawsuit on time, you cannot collect damages regardless of the merits of your case.

Most states give you two or more years to file a claim, but Louisiana and Tennessee, for example, allow only one year. 

If you got food poisoning on a cruise ship, this can differ even more, and possibly even follow maritime law. Quickly consulting with a food poisoning lawyer is the best way to determine when you must file your claim and in which court.

Contact a Food Poisoning Lawyer

Food poisoning is a serious problem that affects as many as one in six Americans each year. When people become sick because corporations and their employees do not handle food properly, they have the right to file lawsuits for damages.

If you experienced food poisoning due to someone else’s negligence, contact us at Keep Food Safe. We’ll connect you with a lawyer who can explain your options for recovering compensation.

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