Food poisoning can drastically change your life. Mild cases can sideline you for a few days, forcing you to miss time at work and suffer from some truly terrible symptoms. More serious cases can result in serious bodily injury or death.
If you got food poisoning after visiting a restaurant you may be entitled to compensation. The money you recover in a food poisoning lawsuit can help you to pay for costly medical bills, make up for lost wages, and compensate you for your distress. Hiring an attorney to handle your case will significantly increase the likelihood of maximizing the award you receive.
At Citywide Law Group, our experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have more than 17 years of legal experience. Since founding the firm, we have successfully helped thousands of accident victims just like you recover meaningful compensation for their injuries. When you decide to let us handle your case we will not stop until you receive the money you need and deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
How Common is Food Poisoning?
There are more than 250 identified foodborne illnesses. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are the most cited causes of food poisoning and foodborne diseases. How frequently do Americans suffer from food poisoning? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 48 million people suffer from a foodborne illness each year. While many of these cases are relatively minor, some are incredibly serious. The CDC reports that an average of 128,000 food poisoning victims end up in the hospital each year and another 3,000 die.
Food Poisoning Symptoms
Food poisoning can have a wide range of symptoms. Many times, you may only know that you have food poisoning when you exhibit a handful of the following symptoms:
- Stomach cramps,
- Chills, and
What Causes Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning and foodborne illnesses are most frequently caused when bacteria, viruses, or parasites are in the food we eat. E-coli, salmonella, listeria, and Staphylococcus are some of the most common causes of food poisoning in California.
Food may be contaminated when they are manufactured or harvested, or may become contaminated when they are prepared. Some foods are more likely to carry foodborne illnesses, and therefore cause food poisoning, than others.
For example, animal products, such as meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy are common vehicles for foodborne illnesses. Some vegetables have also been connected with outbreaks of foodborne illness. Leafy greens, including spinach and romaine lettuce, are generally the biggest culprits.
Why are foodborne illnesses contracted from the foods we eat? Food safety regulations exist to help prevent outbreaks of mass foodborne illnesses. Food preparation standards exist to help prevent individualized incidents of food poisoning. When these standards and regulations are not followed, consumers can contract serious and life-threatening illnesses.
Commonly cited causes of food poisoning include:
- Raw or undercooked meat;
- Cross-contamination on cooking surfaces;
- Poorly washed food;
- Failing to wash hands before handling food; and
- Failing to refrigerate foods before or after cooking.
Who is Liable for My Food Poisoning?
If you suffer food poisoning because of the food you eat you may be entitled to compensation. Food poisoning cases tend to fall into one of two categories: defective products and negligence.
If you purchased food from a store and contract food poisoning, you may argue that the company responsible for manufacturing, harvesting, and/or selling the food is strictly liable for a defective product.
Companies who put products on the market – including food – must adhere to strict guidelines and make sure that what ends up in consumers’ hands are safe. When food contains dangers that would not reasonably be expected by a consumer, a company may be liable for injuries that result.
What happens if you consume food at a restaurant and get sick? Restaurants are held to incredibly high standards and must use care when preparing food for their guests. Random inspections help to make sure that kitchen and food preparation areas are clean and that employees who handle food are properly trained. However, these inspections can only happen every so often.
Restaurants must self-police and make sure that the food they send out to consumers is prepared in a sanitary environment and cooked properly. If you can prove that the restaurant was negligent in the purchase, storage, or preparation of your food you may have a successful claim on your hands.
What Damages Can I Recover With a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
Food poisoning can be incredibly serious and expensive. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can allow you to recover much-needed compensation. In California, damages are divided into two different categories: economic and non-economic. Each classification is intended to compensate you for a different type of injury.
Economic Damages: Economic damages are awarded to compensate for the financial losses you have suffered (or expect to suffer) because of your food poisoning injury. These can include hospitalization, surgery, medicine, lost wages, and a reduced earning capacity.
Non-Economic Damages: Some injuries do not necessarily cause you to suffer financially. This does not mean that these injuries are any less serious. Non-economic damages exist to compensate you for subjective and hard-to-value harms. These can include pain and suffering, embarrassment, and loss of enjoyment of life.
When Can I File a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
Food poisoning is classified as a personal injury. In California, personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury-causing accident. If you suffer food poisoning and do not file a personal injury claim before the statute of limitations expires you will probably not be able to get the money you deserve.
What if I didn’t know the cause of my food poisoning until after the statute of limitations expired? Fortunately, California will allow the statute of limitations to be extended in certain situations. This includes times when there is a reasonable delay in the discovery of your injury (or its cause). In these situations, you will have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim.
Experienced Los Angeles Food Poisoning Attorneys
Have you contracted a foodborne illness? You may be entitled to compensation if the product was defective or prepared negligently. At the Citywide Law Group, our experienced Los Angeles food poisoning attorneys can help to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the benefits of filing a personal injury claim. We will review your case, determine potential liability, and answer the questions you have.