Norovirus Lawyer

family dinner

Your norovirus case is likely the result of failed food safety practices by restaurants, grocers, and other entities. A norovirus lawsuit can be an appropriate measure for obtaining compensation for your damages and for holding businesses accountable for their misconduct. A norovirus lawyer can help by pursuing a legal claim on your behalf and defending your rights under governing food safety laws. 

Norovirus outbreaks lead to serious health consequences, sometimes including hospitalization and even death. The cause of these incidents often ties back to a failure to follow safety measures when handling food and drinks, needlessly exposing unsuspecting members of the public. 

Your illness could entitle you to compensation from responsible parties through a norovirus lawsuit. Learn more about the key issues in these cases and how a norovirus lawyer could help you fight for justice, accountability, and compensation. 

What is Norovirus?

Norovirus is a foodborne illness caused by the Norwalk virus, which has several different strains. It is often compared to the stomach flu because of overlapping symptoms, but norovirus is more serious, causing a large number of hospitalizations and deaths annually. Approximately 20 million people contract norovirus each year in the U.S. 

Norovirus is sometimes referred to as the “cruise ship virus” because of the media attention outbreaks receive. However, norovirus on cruise ships accounts for less than one percent of all cases. The risk of infection is much greater in other crowded spaces, such as health care facilities and restaurants, since it is harder to prevent a rapid spread of Norovirus

Norovirus usually spreads on perishable food, such as vegetables, fruits, and shellfish. Norovirus can also be found in contaminated drinking water. The most common and distinguishing symptoms of norovirus are severe vomiting and bloody stool. However, you may experience additional symptoms, such as:

Norovirus affects everyone differently based on their health condition and other factors. Worst-case outcomes are more common in vulnerable populations, including newborns, young children, the elderly, and anyone with an immuno-compromising condition. Again, norovirus can result in hospitalization and death.  

What Causes Norovirus Poisoning?

Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that requires minimal contact to cause an infection in the human body. It can be spread by:

Can You Sue for Norovirus?

Absolutely. Norovirus sources can be difficult to trace, which can make it hard to establish liability and sue for related damages. However, if someone’s careless, negligent, reckless, or intentional acts can be linked to your illness, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

Three factors are essential in evaluating the viability of a potential norovirus lawsuit. The first is the ability to prove the cause of your norovirus infection is traceable to the defendant, such as a restaurant that did not properly store or clean food before serving it to you. 

A second important factor is the extent and severity of your damages. Minor cases of norovirus may not result in damages significant enough to make a lawsuit worthwhile. For example, a case of norovirus resulting in only a brief period of discomfort will result in lower damages compared to a case that results in hospitalization. 

Finally, the federal government and each state have their own laws governing food safety. Your jurisdiction’s laws regarding tort liability will determine whether you have a viable norovirus lawsuit. 

How Can a Norovirus Lawyer Help?

A norovirus lawyer can determine the potential merits of your norovirus lawsuit. They can advance your claim by filing a claim in state or federal court. Another part of a norovirus lawyer’s job is to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of the facts in your case. This often includes getting access to corporate and health department documents that could shed light on the cause of your illness and provide evidence to substantiate your claim. 

Of course, working with a lawyer also means you will benefit from their expertise regarding the laws, regulations, and legal procedures that will come into play as a part of your norovirus lawsuit. This includes professional knowledge of: 

For claims originating outside the U.S. (e.g., norovirus on cruise ships), a norovirus attorney can also help you navigate the jurisdictional complexities involved in maritime cases or cases involving foreign law. 

Norovirus Outbreaks

In recent years, norovirus outbreaks have occurred throughout the country. For example, in 2022, 317 people became sick after a worker handled salad and other foods without gloves at an Illinois restaurant. In the same year,  contaminated raw oysters harvested in British Columbia led to numerous cases throughout the U.S. Another notable outbreak occurred in 2016 when fruit salad in Wisconsin led to 53 norovirus cases

Other examples include several pizza restaurants that infected multiple people, like Rock Wood Fired Pizza in 2021 in Seattle.

Who Is Liable in a Norovirus Lawsuit?

Multiple parties could be liable for your norovirus infection. Their failure to follow proper health and safety standards intended to reduce the risk of foodborne illness could make them responsible. When businesses or their employees do not uphold the duty of care owed to their customers and patrons, they could be held liable for norovirus-related damages. 

Among other entities, liable parties could include:

Why Is Norovirus So Common in Restaurants?

Restaurants often expose customers to norovirus for many reasons. For instance, they may not prioritize health and safety standards because of the associated labor and costs. Further, they may not provide adequate equipment to handle food safely and may not prioritize training employees. Employees could also be responsible if they continue to work after contracting norovirus, thereby exposing customers. 

How Much Is a Norovirus Lawsuit Worth?

The value of norovirus lawsuits varies from case to case depending on the extent and severity of the impact on each plaintiff’s well-being, as well as limits on damages in their jurisdiction. That said, victims of norovirus may receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, including medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, and lowered quality of life. 

Though it is difficult to predict and impossible to guarantee the ultimate value of each case, do not underestimate the monetary fallout of a norovirus outbreak. For example, in 2020, Chipotle was ordered to pay a $25 million fine after exposing customers to norovirus. 

How to Win a Norovirus Lawsuit?

To win a norovirus lawsuit, you may need to prove that the defendant was negligent when preparing or handling the food that exposed you to the virus. This requires proving that the defendant failed to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others by exposing them to contaminated food. 

Additionally, you may be able to recover compensation by alleging product liability or a breach of warranty. Product liability arises when manufacturers and distributors sell dangerous products to consumers. Breach of warranty arises when vendors violate express or implicit promises regarding their goods, such as that the food they sell is safe for consumption.

Evidence in a norovirus lawsuit might include leftovers from a restaurant, receipts from a grocery store, and medical records of symptoms experienced after the contact. It’s essential to have your doctor notify the local health department about your illness, which can aid your norovirus lawyer in accessing important corporate or health department records.

How Long Do You Have to File a Norovirus Lawsuit?

Norovirus outbreaks generally lead to claims for personal injury or wrongful death. The filing deadline to initiate these claims depends on the laws in the state where the exposure occurred. In most states, you only have a year or two to file. 

Remember, failure to comply with the correct deadline normally results in your case being dismissed in court. So, do not wait to take legal action. A norovirus lawyer can help determine the statute of limitations that governs your claim. 

Also, keep in mind that lawyers generally cannot access relevant corporate and health records to substantiate wrongdoing without filing a lawsuit first. Therefore, early consultation with a norovirus attorney will ensure that crucial evidence is preserved and the all-important filing deadline is not missed. 

Hiring a Norovirus Lawyer

Your norovirus lawyer will serve as your closest ally throughout the life of your norovirus lawsuit. Whether your case is based on the carelessness of a restaurant, grocer, or another food distributor, your attorney will defend your right to legal compensation for illnesses contracted at little to no fault of your own. 

Businesses that distribute food to the public are responsible for protecting consumers from norovirus and other deadly illnesses. Holding these parties accountable in lawsuits is important for protecting the community, promoting food safety, and raising awareness. Through a lawsuit, you can make a difference. 

Contact Keep Food Safe for help filing a Norovirus lawsuit.

rectangle image of food platter

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Scroll to Top