Some of the people who have suffered illness from consuming contaminated food opt to take legal action. Food poisoning lawsuits often appeal to product liability, a type of personal injury claim, to help victims receive compensation.
The amount to be awarded can add up to hundreds of thousands. However, it is difficult to estimate what to expect out of a specific case. This cannot be determined solely on precedent. The amount is tailored to the injuries and damages suffered by the victim.
Food products contaminated with infectious organisms or toxins can lead to illness in the consumer. The contamination can occur at any time during the production, processing, or serving. Some of the main symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
Food Poisoning Lawsuits
People who fall victim to food poisoning can receive compensation for their injuries. Some of the most popular food poisoning cases include the following outbreaks:
- Hepatitis A
How Much Can a Settlement be Worth?
It is difficult to estimate the compensation for food poisoning. The amount varies between cases and is tailored to the specific injuries of each victim. There are food poisoning lawsuits that led to hundreds of dollars worth in settlements. Precedents can offer some guidance regarding financial compensation, but do not guarantee a similar outcome.
When is a Food Poisoning Lawsuit Worth it?
Many people suffer from some degree of food poisoning, yet not all decide to sue. There are several reasons for this. People weigh the expected cost and benefit of a lawsuit carefully and choose the less costly path. Another reason is that the source of the problem can be difficult to pin down.
Especially if the reactions were only mild, people tend not to go any further than reporting symptoms at the local health authorities. For more severe cases, however, it can be worth it to pursue legal action. If you are uncertain about your legal prospect following a food poisoning, contact experienced food poisoning lawyers. They can offer valuable information that can help you decide on a course of action.
Another aspect that can pose difficulty is determining when the consumption of contaminated food occurred. Symptoms can start manifesting a couple of hours after exposure, or can take days. Also, the effects might last anywhere from a few hours to days.
Here are some of the main aspects that can determine a successful outcome for a food poisoning lawsuit:
Injury or Damages
You have a better chance at a significant settlement if you have incurred rather severe symptoms of food poisoning. If this led to hospitalization, make sure to keep all the medical documents. These will be a valuable addition to your case file. If the total cost of your medical treatment, lost wages, and other related expenses reach a significant amount, your case might move past small claims.
Identify the At-Fault Person
For a successful lawsuit, you need to have a culprit against whom to file the claim. Sometimes finding the source of contamination and the person responsible can prove a challenge, as we eat several times throughout the day, usually from different places. A lawyer can help you narrow down the field of suspects and hopefully identify the culprit.
What can be very helpful in these cases is if a provider is already involved in food poisoning lawsuits. This could be a good place to start. A specialized lawyer knows past and ongoing cases and can use this knowledge to the client’s advantage.
The Illness or Injury Is Linked to Defendant’s Actions
It is not enough to identify who is responsible for food poisoning, it must also be proven in court. This can be difficult, but an experienced lawyer can help gather the necessary evidence. Some of the conditions that are considered include:
- Inappropriate hygiene measures
- Serving undercooked food
- Serving or keeping food at the wrong temperatures
- Exposure to contaminated soil or water
Contact a Lawyer
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a provider, the first step is to contact a lawyer for a consultation. Upon reviewing the case, they can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
About the author:
Wilma Wiliams is a law school graduate and a part-time freelance blogger, focused on various legal topics such as personal injury, and bankruptcy. She’s passionate about educating the public on fighting for their rights, which is why she’s currently collaborating with Ask LLP: Lawyers for Justice, whilst actively sharing a part of her experience as a former lawyer.