Food borne illnesses cause approximately 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although it’s not uncommon for people to claim that something they ate at a restaurant gave them an upset stomach, this kind of allegation can be difficult to prove in court. However, if you have had to take time off work, are facing medical bills, or have any evidence supporting a personal injury claim, you certainly can take legal action. In fact, you may file claims against the food processor, distributor, or the grower, in addition to the restaurant itself.
Proving Your Case
The first step you need to take in a food poisoning case is to try to determine what specifically made you sick. If your doctor determines that you have food poisoning, he must find out which pathogen caused the illness. The most common are E. coli and Salmonella; however, other pathogens causing food poisoning include Campylobacter, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Norovius, Shigella and Vibrio. Additionally, if other people also got sick after eating at the same restaurant, DNA testing may be able to track the bacteria to a common source.
If your food poisoning was not caused by a pathogen, an allergic reaction must be ruled out; otherwise, the restaurant would not be liable. Next, you can get a toxicology screen to determine if you may have been exposed to chemicals such as pesticides or petroleum. Unfortunately, careless handling of food and accidental or deliberate contamination does occur.
Even if you are unsure about the exact cause of your illness, you may still have a valid claim. It is even possible that you could have gotten sick from a restaurant employee who was ill, rather than from contaminated food. In this case, the restaurant may be found guilty of negligence for failing to send a sick employee home, which is a requirement of most health and safety regulations.
Regardless of the cause of your food poisoning, you deserve to recover the damages that you suffered. Contact a Miami personal injury attorney at Graham Legal to gather evidence and determine your legal options today.