School Food Poisoning Lawsuit

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School cafeterias are responsible for ensuring their students receive food that is both nutritious and safe. If your child contracts food poisoning due to carelessness in their school’s cafeteria, you may be entitled to compensation through a school food poisoning lawsuit.

  • Parents can sue schools for food poisoning if it’s proven that the school’s negligence in handling food safety standards directly led to the illness.
  • Other liable parties in school food poisoning cases may include food suppliers, cafeteria staff, and third-party service providers, depending on where the negligence occurred.
  • Evidence crucial for a food poisoning lawsuit includes medical records, food samples, witness statements, and health department reports to prove the school’s negligence.

These cases involve complex legal issues and can be challenging to investigate. An experienced foodborne illness lawyer can assist in determining whether you have a viable case.

Read on to learn more about pursuing legal action when a school’s negligence causes your child to get sick. Keep Food Safe can connect you with an experienced attorney to address your questions and concerns.

Can I Sue a School if My Child Gets Food Poisoning?

Yes, it’s possible to sue a school for food poisoning under certain circumstances. For example, if the school cafeteria serves contaminated food that causes students to become ill with food poisoning, the school could be held liable for negligence.

To pursue a food poisoning lawsuit, you would typically need to demonstrate that the school failed to uphold its duty of care in providing safe and properly prepared food and that this negligence directly led to food poisoning. Negligence often arises when school cafeterias fail to abide by state and federal food safety standards.

For example, one prominent federal regulation is the Food Code prepared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This regulation is “a model for safeguarding public health and ensuring food is unadulterated and honestly presented when offered to the consumer.” Violations can give rise to negligence claims.

Does It Matter if the School Is Public or Private?

One important consideration when suing schools for food poisoning is the status of the defendant as a public or private entity. This is because claims against government entities are normally subject to separate deadlines. Further, public schools normally benefit from certain governmental immunities against civil lawsuits. The specific contours of these immunities vary by jurisdiction.

To make sure your case is filed before the correct deadline passes and that you comply with all legal and procedural requirements, you should consult with a food safety lawyer as soon as possible.

Who Else Can Be Held Liable for School Food Poisoning?

In addition to schools, other parties could also be held liable for food poisoning in cafeterias, including:

How Does Food Poisoning Occur at Schools?

Overall, food poisoning at schools typically occurs due to a combination of factors related to food handling, preparation, storage, and sanitation practices. Preventing such incidents requires strict adherence to food safety protocols and regular monitoring of compliance to ensure the safety of school meals. Common sources of food poisoning in schools include:

It can be very difficult to trace the source of food contamination due to the complexity of supply chains that deliver food from farms and manufacturers to cafeteria tables. Until an attorney or a state health agency tracks the source of food poisoning in your case, it may be difficult to rule out contamination caused by a food producer or distributor.

students eating in school cafeteria

Food Poisoning Outbreaks at Schools

“Food poisoning” is a generic term that includes any illness caused by foodborne pathogens. Symptoms of food poisoning typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and dehydration. Depending on the type of pathogen involved, symptoms may vary in severity and duration.

Common pathogens that lead to food poisoning, along with the ingredients that commonly spread them, include:

Some notable food poisoning outbreaks at schools in recent months and years include:

How To Prove Food Poisoning From a School

You will need strong evidence to prove that a school’s negligence led to food poisoning. Consulting an experienced food poisoning attorney is the best way to ensure no evidence is overlooked, that your case is filed on time, and that you know your full legal rights. Important evidence in a school food poisoning lawsuit may include:

What Compensation Can I Receive From a School Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

In a food poisoning lawsuit, compensation may cover various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, pain and suffering endured, and any long-term impacts on quality of life. In rarer cases, punitive damages may also be available if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.

In one notable case, 11 children contracted E. coli after eating tacos made with contaminated meat in the Finley School District in Kennewick, Washington. A jury awarded the children and their families $4.75 million in compensation. The appeals court ruled that, since the school “thawed, cooked, rinsed, drained, seasoned, and assembled taco filling from [the] frozen ground beef,” it was liable for feeding the children tainted food.

Contact Keep Food Safe for Legal Help Today

If you suspect your child contracted food poisoning from food served at school, you may be entitled to legal compensation. The sooner you consult a food poisoning attorney, the more time they will have to trace the source of your child’s illness and identify all liable parties. If you wait too long, you may lose your chance to secure compensation for medical bills and wages lost while you care for your child, as well as your child’s pain and suffering.

Keep Food Safe can connect you with an experienced attorney who can give you a good idea of how much your case may be worth. Reach out to us for help filing a school food poisoning lawsuit.

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