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If I Get Food Poisoning, Can I File A Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury law covers a wide variety of accidents and situations where a person suffers an injury due to the careless, reckless, or negligent actions or inactions of another party. This includes becoming ill due to food poisoning; however, you must be able to prove that your food poisoning was caused by a bacteria such as Salmonella, Vibrio, E. coli, Norovirus, Hepatitis A, Cyclospora, Shigella, or Clostridium botulinum (botulism). Therefore, you must seek immediate medical care if you believe you have food poisoning.

If a medical professional diagnoses you with food poisoning, you should request further testing to determine if the illness is due to a specific pathogen. Because bacteria have elements that can identify a specific strain, if several people ate the same food and became ill, the testing can be used as evidence to prove that the food poisoning occurred at a specific restaurant.

If your attorney can prove that your food poisoning was caused by eating contaminated food, you may be able to sue the restaurant, food processor, food distributor, an employee, or a grower for damages. Damages that you may be entitled to receive if you can prove the contaminated food caused your illness include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Attorney’s fees and costs
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Transportation costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Compensation for mental suffering and physical pain
  • Funeral expenses, in the event of death

$11.4 Million Judgment in Food Poisoning Case

According to culinary news website Grub Street, a U.S. District judge ordered Old Country Buffet to pay a Cheyenne, Nebraska man $11.4 million in a food poisoning lawsuit from an incident that occurred in October 2010. Christopher Gage contracted salmonella after eating at an Old Country Buffet with his wife. The restaurant had been cited the day before for health-code violations but had not been shut down. After eating at the restaurant, Gage became ill with complications including sepsis, heart problems, and kidney failure.

In his ruling, the judge noted that Gage has suffered traumatic physical injuries in addition to the negative impact on his cognitive function and relationship with his family. He suffers daily pain and is unable to eat or drink without vomiting. The food poisoning has changed his life forever.

In another case according to Food Poison Journal, a class action lawsuit against a grower and several other defendants related to a Listeria outbreak that affected people in 28 states has been settled for an undisclosed amount. Multiple lawsuits were filed in 12 states against various defendants and on behalf of families who lost loved ones due to the food poisoning. Due to the complex nature of the lawsuit, it took over three and half years to reach a settlement.

Why do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney for a Food Poisoning Case?

Food poisoning cases are often complex and complicated personal injury cases that require an experienced attorney. State laws may differ with regard to the elements you must prove in order to recover damages. Proving fault in a food poisoning case requires the use of several different experts in the field of medicine, sanitation, microbiology, food safety, and agriculture.

An attorney with experience handling food poisoning cases will have a network of experts that he can use to investigate your case and prove fault. This is essential if you are to receive compensation for your losses. Because evidence in a food poisoning case can disappear quickly or be destroyed, it is vital that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you believe you have been the victim of food poisoning.

If you are one of a group of people who got sick from a single case of food poisoning, you may be asked to join a class action lawsuit. While there are some advantages of being in a class action lawsuit, you may want to consult your own counsel to discuss your case and the pros and cons of filing an individual case versus being a member in a class action lawsuit.

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