Have you ever eaten at a restaurant, only to suffer from food poisoning that night and the next day? If so, you’re not alone. The CDC estimates that 48 million people a year get sick with a foodborne illness.
Sometimes food poisoning is more than a nuisance. Sometimes it can lead to a hospital stay or even death. If you’ve suffered from food poisoning, do you have a legal case? Here are some ways to know if you should file a food poisoning lawsuit.
What Can You Prove?
There are many reasons people get sick, and foodborne illness is only one of them. To have a successful food poisoning lawsuit, you’ll need to be able to prove the restaurant is responsible. For instance:
- The best cases regarding proof are when many people were affected at once. If you went to eat with a group of coworkers and several of you were ill afterward, you have a better chance of convincing the court that the restaurant was at fault.
- You may also have a strong case if there has been a recent food recall in your area, and you can prove that the restaurant was using affected food products.
You’ll also need a medical professional to show what pathogen was involved and to link it to the restaurant.
Damages from a Food Poisoning Lawsuit
Another factor in whether it’s worthwhile to file a lawsuit is what damages you suffered. Missing work for a day or two does constitute damages, but may not be enough to make a lawsuit worth your time and money. On the other hand, if you were hospitalized, your damages are substantially higher. The same is true if doctors discovered a dangerous pathogen like E. coli, salmonella, listeria, or others.
Bacterial microbes can be tested and have a DNA-like fingerprint. This can help prove that the pathogen you have is from the same source as others in your eating party.
What to Do if You’ve Had Food Poisoning
If you get sick after eating out, the first thing to do is contact others you were with at the meal. Find out if they were also ill. Also:
- If you have leftover food from the restaurant, save it. It may prove valuable in linking your illness to the restaurant.
- If the restaurant has had health violations in the past, the courts may consider the illness outbreak to be the result of gross negligence. If that’s the case, you may be eligible for both compensatory and punitive damages.
Let Us Help with Your Food Poisoning Lawsuit
If you determine that a food poisoning lawsuit is worth the time and effort, the next step is to contact a personal injury attorney. The professionals at Domnitz & Domnitz can help evaluate your case. We’ll make sure you understand the process you’ll be going through and walk you through each step.
If you’re ready to move forward with a case, contact us for a consultation today!