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Food Poisoning Lawsuits

We often hear news of disturbing stories about foodborne illness. Whether due to contaminated romaine lettuce or mild food poisoning, foodborne illnesses can make people very, very sick. Foodborne illness has affected even major national brands such as Chipotle, who are still working to rebuild their reputation following a norovirus outbreak. While mild food poisoning can cause stomach issues and a couple of missed days at work, a severe foodborne illness can lead to a long hospital stay, and at worst, even death. If you have been exposed to a severe illness due to poorly handled food or a national outbreak, our personal injury attorneys can determine if you have a case.

Note that you should report your case of food poisoning by contacting your state health department immediately. By doing so, you are putting the state government on alert of a possible breakout of food borne illness that could affect hundreds or thousands of Americans. Also, note that as time passes, it is difficult to prove that a specific food caused a particular illness. If your illness is connected with a greater national outbreak, such as norovirus, E.coli from produce or meat, or salmonella, it is likely that your chances for bringing a viable claim are greater. If you decide to pursue legal action and your circumstances warrant litigation, our personal injury attorneys will determine if your case falls under certain tort claim categories.

If you are interested in bringing a claim against a grocery store or restaurant for food poisoning, there are different types of lawsuits which can be brought. First, your food poisoning claim could be a breach of warranty. Most consumer products, such as food purchased at a grocery store or restaurant have an implied warranty attached to them. An implied warranty of merchantability is a warranty that states the goods provided to a customer will be up to the standard that is expected. In these cases, a restaurant patron or grocery store customer would expect fresh, fully-cooked, bacteria-free food. Also, an express warranty may be breached. An express warranty is one that can be stated clearly by a defendant. For example, in the food industry, companies and businesses may claim that a product is “free of antibiotics” or “made with real whole grains.” In these cases, if these claims are made, and an individual gets sick based on a contradiction of these claims, they can be held liable.

Another food poisoning claim that could be brought is a strict products liability claim. While it is often very difficult to determine whether or not the food actually caused the illness, a plaintiff must show that it did, in order to succeed on a strict products liability claim. We encourage clients who are interested in pursuing a food poisoning lawsuit to report their injuries as soon as possible, since it is very difficult to show the correlation between an illness and a specific food. In the Commonwealth, a restaurant, market, grocery store, food truck, or any other establishment that sells food could be liable for strict products liability just for selling food that caused customers to fall ill.

Lastly, probably the most common claim brought in a food poisoning lawsuit is negligence. In a negligence suit, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, breached that duty, and as a cause of that breach, the plaintiff damages. In these situations, businesses have a duty to exercise reasonable care to make sure their work spaces are clean and the food is not contaminated. To show that a restaurant or food business was negligent, investigations are generally performed to show that a specific food from a restaurant caused the food poisoning illness.

In many of these cases, our personal injury attorneys can attempt to negotiate a successful settlement for lost wages, medical bills or pain and suffering claim, so that it is not necessary to enter a courtroom. If the case goes to trial and more serious medical issues or death occur, a plaintiff can pursue damages in a wrongful death lawsuit and claim compensation for loss of consortium.

To get a thorough understanding of what your options are in a food poisoning lawsuit, you should contact an attorney immediately. If you have any questions about negligence matters, personal injury law, tort law, intentional torts, damages, or other legal incidents, please contact our offices. You may schedule a free consultation with an experienced professional today. Call 978-225-9030 during business hours or complete a contact form online, and one of our experienced personal injury attorneys will get back to you.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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