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Can you file a lawsuit if you get food poisoning?

In most cases, food poisoning would fall under issues of product liability, which means that individuals who suffer damages or injuries due to eating contaminated or bad food could file a lawsuit. Burden of proof requirements do exist, however, and in some cases, it can be difficult to prove that a specific company was liable in the injury.

A successful lawsuit in a food poisoning case usually depends on a few factors. First, the person must prove that he or she became sick and suffered damages due to eating a specific food. While it can be difficult to trace an illness back to a specific food, it is possible. Next, the person must show that the food was bad or contaminated or that there was a high likelihood that it was. Overall, the burden of proof is usually lightened if multiple people become ill and they all ate the same food or at the same place, because it makes it easier to prove that the food was the problem.

If you can tie a specific food experience to your illness, then you might be able to seek compensation for expenses associated with the illness. This might include medical expenses or lost wages because you missed work when you were sick. Your chances at recovery are likely greater if you can show negligence on the part of another party that contributed to the poor quality or dangerous nature of the food.

For example, when meat is not stored at a proper temperature, bacteria can grow in it and cause illness. Undercooked foods, foods that have been contaminated through improper storage and foods prepared with unclean utensils or in unsanitary environments are all possible causes for food poisoning. A legal professional understands how to investigate food poisoning issues and build a case for liability.

Source: FindLaw, "Food Poisoning and the Law," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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