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Can I Sue A Restaurant For Food Poisoning?

Date15 Jul 2022

Food poisoning is an experience that can range from uncomfortable to debilitating and even, under certain circumstances, fatal. While not all food poisoning cases are legally actionable, some are without question. The primary factors that distinguish a legally actionable food poisoning case from one that is not legally actionable are the nature of somebody’s injuries and whether those injuries resulted in any financial losses.

When Is Food Poisoning Legally Actionable?

As experienced food poisoning lawyers – including those who practice at Cohen & Cohen – can explain, not all personal injury cases can result in damage awards. This is because certain legal criteria must be met before a judge or jury can award a plaintiff compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. If you’ve been poisoned by food served in a restaurant, you can potentially sue the restaurant for damages, but only if your case meets specific legal elements.

First, you’ll need to prove that the restaurant owed you a legal duty of care. This is generally not a difficult standard to prove in food poisoning cases because all establishments that serve food are legally bound to put certain safety measures in place that should, in theory, eliminate the risk of food poisoning provided that all manufactured goods are free of contamination. If you were poisoned due to a manufacturer’s contaminated goods, you wouldn’t necessarily be in a position to sue the restaurant that served them, unless it had reason to know that the goods were tainted or the goods only became tainted once they were mishandled by restaurant staff. Instead, you’d likely need to sue the manufacturer directly.

Second, you’ll need to prove that the restaurant or its staff behaved negligently, recklessly, or in ways that can be described as intentionally dangerous. By engaging in such conduct, the restaurant or its staff will have breached its duty of care under the law. Third, you’ll need to prove that your illness resulted directly from this unacceptable conduct. It can be difficult to prove that you were poisoned by a restaurant specifically, unless others were poisoned by the same restaurant at the same time.

Finally, you’ll need to prove that you incurred pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, or similar financial losses as a result of your poisoning. If you didn’t lose anything financially by being ill, neither a judge nor jury can award you compensation that will make up for what you have lost.

Proving Your Food Poisoning Case

You will want to do everything you can to document how you got sick and how sick you got. Bring medical records and any other evidence that can help to bolster your case to a consultation when you schedule one with an attorney. If you can’t prove your case, you won’t be awarded compensation.

Connect with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More

Holding restaurants accountable for food poisoning isn’t an easy task. Working with a lawyer who has experience with these kinds of cases specifically will better place you in a position to obtain the justice you deserve. 

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