In the United States, approximately 48 million people get sick from eating contaminated food each year. Unfortunately, over 120,000 of them get sick enough to be hospitalized and nearly 3,000 die. Contamination can occur at any time during the production and preparation of the food. If you become ill after eating food prepared at a restaurant or after eating a product contaminated before it was packaged, you may be able to seek compensation via a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are a few things you have to prove before you can win a personal injury claim.
You Ate Contaminated Food
This is often the hardest part of your case to prove, but it's essential to winning your case. In order to win, you must be able to prove you ate contaminated food. If several people become ill after eating a certain dish at a restaurant, it's much simpler to prove the food was contaminated. If you're the only one that got sick, however, you usually have to go to the doctor so they can identify what type of bacteria is involved. The contaminant must then be traced back to the restaurant.
You Got Sick from the Food
Secondly, you must prove you actually got sick from the food. This is often accomplished by visiting a doctor and getting a detailed report of your illness. It's also a good idea to have your doctor take a stool sample so they can identify the exact contaminant that made you sick. If you know the type of bacteria involved, such as hepatitis, listeria or norovirus, you can draw a direct link from your illness to the food. If you can't do this, the defense may argue you merely had a stomach virus and not food poisoning.
The Defendant Is at Fault
You must also prove the defendant is at fault. This can be done in one of three ways. First, you can prove the restaurant was negligent. Uncooked food, unsanitary conditions and unsafe food handling practices fall under negligence. Second, you can prove the restaurant served you defective or dangerous food. In this case, you may also be able to seek compensation from the food manufacturer or distributor. Third, you can seek damages by claiming the restaurant breached an implied warranty that the food was safe for consumption.
Personal injury cases involving food poisoning are sometimes difficult to prove. But with the help of a personal injury lawyer, like Cobble Jeffrey A Attorney, and if you can prove all of the three things above, you have a good chance at winning your case.