No matter where you go in the U.S. and around the world, restaurants are a social and cultural staple in the communities in which they are located. Food is universal, and spending time with friends and family at a new restaurant or the old favorite can be a great way to bring people together. Unfortunately, not all culinary experiences are particularly enjoyable, and in fact, some meals can have serious consequences for both the consumer and the establishment.
Out of all the things that can go wrong in terms of a meal at a restaurant, food poisoning is easily the most common and probably the most undesirable. Some meals may have such an adverse effect on the diner that he or she may ask the question: “Can I sue this restaurant for food poisoning?” Let’s take a closer look at this question and what goes into it.
The Short Answer is, Yes.
If an individual is able to prove that they became sick due to food that was served by a particular restaurant, then yes, he or she can certainly come forward with a personal injury claim. Claimants should know, however, that they will be asked to prove all of the following elements:
- You have a confirmed diagnosis of food poisoning (and other resulting complications if applicable)
- The illness came as a result of food that was eaten there or came from another patron or employee who was also there
- Your sickness caused you to suffer quantifiable damages
In certain cases, there may be reason to suspect that an outbreak of some bacteria or pathogen has occurred if numerous people are affected by a single establishment. These cases are just as important if not more, and victims are eligible for compensation just the same.
Obtaining a Food Poisoning Diagnosis
In any personal injury case, the first step to take is to seek medical attention, and food poisoning cases are no different. Generally, the most effective method of proof is through the analysis of a stool sample. If tests reveal traces of pathogenic bacteria known to cause illness, then a food poisoning diagnosis is more or less confirmed. The most common examples include Salmonella and E. coli.
Oftentimes this testing must be done at special facilities, and the results are ultra-important pieces of evidence that must be preserved in the right hands. In order to ensure that the testing is done correctly and that the results are successfully obtained, we will again reiterate the importance of retaining legal help.
That brings us to another important point: be sure to save any leftovers that you may have from the meal in question. As you might imagine, actual food from the meal can be tested for pathogens–you never know, it might just be the crucial piece of evidence you need to move the case in your favor. In past cases, health experts have even used leftover food to help uncover larger outbreaks. If you have any food remaining from your meal, always hold onto it.
Most Common Pathogens Connected to Food Poisoning
In the event that you have already undergone testing or are considering it, here is a short list of the most common pathogens that are known to cause food poisoning and other serious illnesses:
- E. coli
- Clostridium botulinum
- Hepatitis A
A Few More Quick Tips to Keep in Mind
Filing a lawsuit can expedite the settlement process
Many popular restaurants receive threats and complaints on a constant basis, and a lot of them are just fluff from disgruntled customers. However, when you actually file a lawsuit, that tells them how serious you are, and that can cut a lot of the fat out of the suit process.
An attorney will be able to obtain the necessary information
We’d hate to sound repetitive, but in terms of arguing a food poisoning case, there is certain information and evidence that a lawyer will be able to recover which you may not. This includes business documents, health codes and inspection reports, employee interviews and records, and more.
An outbreak may have occurred
As mentioned above, there is always the possibility of an outbreak when talking about food poisoning from restaurants. In a way, if you are part of a group, this can help ensure that you will at least receive some compensation, as more claimants generally implies more fault.
PFGE and WGS tests are among the most effective
Bacteria have specific DNA sequences, just like all other organisms. If the bacteria that caused your illness is a DNA match to bacteria found in the restaurant, that is about the most effective evidence you can present. The DNA can be tested using what’s known as whole gene sequencing (WGS) or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) methods, both of which are very solid.
You’re still eligible for a suit if an employee was the root cause
Sometimes, an employee who is very sick will come to work anyway and contaminate large amounts of food, or they may tamper with the food in an egregious fashion (you can probably imagine what we mean). Food poisoning victims should not be deterred by this, as they are still 100 percent eligible for a claim.
Contact Food Poisoning Attorneys Now
If you or someone you know is currently suffering from the effects of food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses and wishes to pursue legal action, contact the trusted team of food poisoning attorneys from Van Law Firm today. We can help obtain the evidence needed to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait–call our location nearest you today.