Can I Sue a Restaurant if I Get Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, happens when victims eat foods contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and hazardous substances. Symptoms can begin within hours of ingesting the food and may include nausea, fever, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stool. Extreme cases of food poisoning can require hospitalization, but most cases usually resolve without treatment in a day or two. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
If you’ve experienced severe food poisoning and you believe it was caused by eating food from a particular restaurant, supermarket, farm, or other source, you should contact Atkins & Markoff to learn more about your legal options. If you’d like more information, keep reading to learn about how attorneys prove negligence, determine the level of harm inflicted, and assess the potential damages in a foodborne illness case.
Proving Restaurant Food Caused Your Illness Isn’t Easy
If you’ve experienced a food-related illness and you suspect restaurant or supermarket food caused it, you’ll need to prove the source of your sickness to receive compensation in a lawsuit. This can be difficult, especially if significant time has passed since you ate the food that made you sick.
The food provider and their insurance company will most likely hire a defense attorney, and that attorney’s first move will be to highlight any other factors that could have caused you to get sick. Potential factors may include other foods and beverages you consumed, alcohol consumption or the presence of illicit substances in your system, and other ways you might have become exposed to the illness.
In many cases, food poisoning victims save their leftovers in the hopes they’ll serve as indisputable evidence, but samples of leftover food rarely provide enough evidence for a successful lawsuit on their own. Even if a lab analysis proves the existence of harmful toxins in the leftover food, the defense can argue the food was tainted after it left the restaurant. They might suggest you failed to refrigerate the food quickly or properly, or that external toxins in your home contaminated the food.
The most effective evidence in a food poisoning lawsuit is multiple instances of the same illness among people who ate at the same restaurant or otherwise consumed the same food from the same source. For example, if you and your family shared a pizza at a restaurant and all became sick with similar symptoms within the same general timeframe, that should serve as a strong sign there was something wrong with the food.
Another indicator the restaurant or food manufacturer is to blame for your illness is if a recall or warning has been issued for the food products in question. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to research recent recalls and warnings and then cross-reference those products with the ingredients used in your food to determine potential negligence.
Do the Potential Damages Warrant a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
Most people experience food poisoning at some point in their lives. It’s uncomfortable and often leads to missed time at work, canceled vacations, and other complications. In severe cases, a foodborne illness can lead to substantial medical bills and legitimate health concerns. Still, regardless of how bad your symptoms became or how certain you are that a particular food caused your sickness, you should weigh the potential compensation for your illness before choosing whether to proceed with a lawsuit.
If you experienced food poisoning symptoms that kept you off your feet and out of work for a few days or less, you won’t be able to demonstrate much in the way of monetary losses, which means you probably won’t be able to recover significant compensation in a lawsuit. Even if you could convince a jury that you deserve a few thousand dollars in compensation, it won’t be enough to cover the costs associated with filing a lawsuit and taking your case to trial.
However, not all victims of food poisoning manage to recover in a few days and go back to life as usual. Young people, senior citizens, and victims with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable and may suffer life-altering medical complications or even die from exposure to foodborne illnesses. If you became hospitalized or lost a loved one due to a serious foodborne illness such as E. coli or salmonella, your damages might be significant. If this sounds like your situation, you should contact an experienced attorney for help and advice right away.
Contact Atkins & Markoff if You’ve Suffered Serious Food Poisoning in Oklahoma
Consumers have a reasonable expectation that the food they purchase is safe for consumption. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and contaminated food creates illnesses and fatalities every year. If you or someone you love has suffered because of a foodborne illness or food contamination, you may be eligible for compensation.
To get a free assessment of your case and learn about your legal options, call (405) 607-8757 or complete this brief form to schedule your no-risk initial consultation with an attorney from the Atkins & Markoff team.
Remember that statutes of limitations apply to all personal injury claims in Oklahoma and that proving negligence in a food poisoning case becomes more difficult with every day that passes, so please reach out right away to get help and learn more about your options.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.