Outbreaks of food poisoning regularly show up in the media, meaning it’s a fairly common issue faced by modern society. Busy lives and schedules cause average consumers to dine out or opt for takeout food on a consistent basis, which increases chances of contracting food borne illnesses. Filing a lawsuit against a restaurant or other food provider after an incident of food poisoning may seem like an open and shut case to many people, but getting sick after eating food that someone else has prepared is not an automatic lawsuit. Pinpointing the source of the illness poses significant challenges because of the usual time delay involved between consumption of the food and the onset of the sickness. Matters will be further complicated if you’ve eaten at several different places or purchased food items from more than one delicatessen or other type of takeout counter, especially if you are the only person in your circle who has fallen ill. Furthermore, it’s common to mistake food borne illnesses for bouts with seasonal stomach flu. Getting business owners to voluntarily provide you with information on whether other customers have fallen ill is almost impossible.
Successful food poisoning lawsuits frequently begin when several patrons of the same establishment are diagnosed by health care professionals as suffering from exposure to food borne pathogens. Food poisoning outbreaks are monitored by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which considers an outbreak to be an incident in which several or more consumers are made ill as a result of eating specific items in batches of contaminated food, such as packaged salad greens containing the e. coli bacteria or tainted ground beef in hamburgers or tacos.
If the CDC or other government agency has found a correlation between an food poisoning outbreak and a specific food you consumed at a particular time, you’ll have an easier time winning a food poisoning lawsuit against the establishment in question. The state in which the incident occurred also determines the type of lawsuit consumers can file in this instance. These cases are categorized as product liability claims, which revolve around the core idea that consumers have purchased a defective product that causes them harm. In this case, it would be that you bought food that make you sick. The majority of states have strict product liability laws, and this means that the plaintiffs do not necessarily have to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. being able to prove that the product was contaminated and that the plaintiff experienced a food borne illness as a result of eating it.
However, in states that don’t have strict product liability laws on the books, it may be necessary to prove negligent behavior on the part of the defendant in order for the plaintiff of a food poisoning lawsuit to prevail in court. Reasonable care statutes operate on the premise that the defendants did not exercise reasonable care to ensure that the product did not contain food borne pathogens at the point of purchase. This may be tricky in cases where plaintiffs bought food from a takeout counter because it could be argued that the consumer did not take proper care of the food item after it was bought. This is why these cases are strengthened considerably when they involve multiple plaintiffs who have all experienced similar symptoms and diagnoses.
In certain states, you may be able to sue based on a breach of warranty even if a warranty is not specifically stated vocally or in writing at the point of purchase. For instance, if you buy a carton of milk that has been pasteurized, an implied warranty exists that the product is safe to consume.
No matter what state the incident occurred in, you must be able to prove that the product in question was contaminated and that you experienced illness as a direct result of that contamination. If you suspect food poisoning, you should see a health care professional as soon as possible for the appropriate testing as well as report the case to the CDC and local health authorities. If an outbreak has been established by a government health agency, you may be able to be a part of a class action lawsuit against the parties that provided and/or manufactured the contaminated food.