Incidents of food poisoning caused by E. coli, botulinus, listeria and other bacteria fill the news today. Although once common only in small mom-and-pop-style eateries, many of today’s cases originate in popular chain restaurants.
If you have fallen victim to any of these or another type of food-borne virus or bacteria and a commercial food establishment is to blame, a personal injury lawsuit can help offset your medical bills and lost time at work.
You are well within your rights to seek legal compensation from restaurants, grocery stores, food manufacturers and distributors who caused your illness, because you have the reasonable expectation of safety and health when consuming commercial food products.
Strict Product Liability
An injury lawsuit for food poisoning is often based upon the legal construct of strict product liability. This legal rule says that manufacturers, sellers and distributors of products offered for public consumption are responsible for any injuries that result from those products.
In a strict liability food product case, you do not need to prove that anyone was negligent in making or distributing the product. You only need to prove that the product that was served at a restaurant or purchased at a store was contaminated, and that your illness was caused by the unsafe food.
Negligence and Poisoning
If strict or product liability does not apply in your case, you may be able to hold the restaurant or distributor liable under general negligence principles.
Using this as a basis for an injury lawsuit involves demonstrating to the court that the establishment had a duty to provide a safe environment and safe products. You also must prove that the seller, manufacturer or distributor did not meet this duty and failed to exercise reasonable care in making or handling the food that made you ill.
For instance, a restaurant may be found to be negligent if products are stored in an unsanitary way or if the kitchen is not up to current health and safety codes.
Breach of Warranties
Food products have minimum state standards, known as implied warranties, which are based on the reasonable expectations of the buyer. A personal injury lawsuit for food poisoning may involve a violation of these warranties or promises.
Consumers rely on the information found on product packaging, restaurant menus and in stores, and illness can result from misleading information or a breach of warranty.
For instance, if triple-washed salad greens have not actually been washed three times and you contract food poisoning from bacteria on the greens, you may be able to prove breach of warranty.
Food poisoning lawsuits can be complex, due the difficulties in proving that a product or food establishment is responsible for your illness. If you are considering filing an injury lawsuit, contact the experienced professional attorneys at Montgomery Dowdle in Boise, Idaho. We can assist you in understanding the process and gathering the necessary evidence to prevail in your food poisoning case.