Food poisoning is very common, and sometimes even makes the news. There are viruses and bacteria that can cause food poisoning including E. Coli, Hepatitis, Listeria and Botulism. If a restaurant, grocery store, or food distributor can be blamed for food poisoning, customers may have the right to sue using common legal theories such as negligence or product liability.
If you or your family suffer personal injuries due to food poisoning, reach out to a personal injury lawyer such as the ones available at Davis & Brusca, LLC. They have personal injury experience that can help you win your case.
Potential Causes of Action for Food Poisoning
When it comes to food poisoning, the business selling the food may be liable for filing to store food safely, cook food properly, exercise care in preparing food, or perhaps have a defective product. If a client has a chance of winning, they will need to use some common theories used throughout the legal system.
General negligence principles state that a business has the duty to exercise reasonable care. Because a restaurant has specific regulations that help to set a safe environment and create safe products (in this instance meals), a negligence claim would bring up that the restaurant has not been keeping up to standard.
Some common restaurant safety regulations are:
- Sourcing. Restaurants cannot serve food that was prepared in somebody’s home kitchen. Beef that can be served undercooked (at request) must be sourced from approved processing plants and vendors.
- Temperatures. Food regulations govern the temperatures that food has to be cooked at. These regulations decide where food can be stored, how food can be made, and what temperature food must be presented to the customer at.
- Hand-washing. Employees must wash hands before preparing serving food and preparing food.
- Ice. Ice can be used for two distinct reasons. To keep items cooled and serve with beverages. Ice cannot be used for beverages if it’s been previously used to cool food.
- Meat. Meat that is served in restaurants so customers don’t become ill. Reject meat from vendors under circumstances that you aren’t sure about so you don’t break safety regulations.
The hardest part of negligence cases against stores or restaurants involving food poisoning is that you must prove the business caused it. This is hard because the business has to be investigated so that the plaintiff can prove unsafe food. They also need to prove that the business in question caused the poisoning and not another business.
For example, you could have eaten breakfast at home and it was bad—that would make you sick. The source would have to be isolated immediately, usually with the help of a physician.
Furthermore, you cannot just sue because you got food poisoning. There must be harm or injury. Becoming sick will satisfy the requirement, but there are different levels of illness, and it may not be worthwhile to sue for a mild case.