Food poisoning is one of life’s horrific little surprises. After a nice night out, you might have to deal with days of agony. You could miss a big meeting, have to call out to work and even spend some time in the emergency room. It’s only natural that you might believe someone needs to pay for your pain. In legal terms, you very well might want to bring a lawsuit. The question remains, though, whether you have any standing to do so. The answer, as you might surmise, is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.
A Qualified Yes
If you’re looking for a direct answer, you’ll find a qualified “yes” after looking around. Yes, food poisoning is actionable. It’s the vagueness of the act itself that makes the yes qualified, though, as you aren’t always able to collect even if you do believe you’ve gotten food poisoning from a given restaurant.
Know the Law
Before you start down this road, it’s important to look to the laws of your state—if there’s anything on the books that limits your ability to collect from a restaurant, you’ll be out of luck. This isn’t the case in most states, though—but it’s a good place to start.
To bring a suit for food poisoning, you have to start by showing that a harm occurred. In legal terms, this means you need to show that you suffered some kind of harm that has caused you some form of monetary damage. If you get a sick stomach and go to work the next day, there’s not going to be a chance for you to collect. If you’ve missed work or had to incur any medical expenses, though, you’re more likely to have a valid suit.
If you can show damages, you then have to show your illness came from the food (or environment) in that specific restaurant. This is incredibly hard to prove, and might involve expensive testing and legal assistance from Pritzker Law or a firm in your area. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go through with the process, of course, but it can be a major hurdle. The cost of testing can be rolled into the amount awarded you by the court, but be careful—you could end up footing the bill if your suit is spurious.
You might be able to sue for food poisoning, but that doesn’t always mean you should do so. Always consult a lawyer before you try to bring any sort of lawsuit. A good attorney will help you determine if you should move forward in your attempt to collect damages.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.