Food poisoning outbreaks make national headlines often in the U.S. In 2015, for example, Chipotle received a high level of negative press after E.coli and norovirus food poisoning incidents were linked to several of its eateries. Hundreds of people came down with serious food poisoning in several states, and at least 40 Mexican restaurants were closed.
If you have gotten ill from food poisoning and suffered pain and injury in Georgia, you could wonder whether you have a personal injury case. Whether you do or not depends on the exact circumstances of your illness. For instance, a time delay between when you consumed a food and when you got sick could complicate things in determining which food caused the illness. But if a federal or state health agency has said a certain food item that you ate was part of a food poisoning outbreak, a personal injury claim could be easier.
What To Know About Food Poisoning Lawsuits
To have a chance at a successful food poisoning lawsuit, there are three elements to understand:
- The legal theories that can provide the basis for the claim
- How to prove a food poisoning case
- Which entities to sue.
Food Poisoning Theories of Liability
A food poisoning lawsuit generally is considered a defective product liability lawsuit. The concept here is that you were sold a defective food product that poisoned or injured you. The most frequent legal theories in these types of cases are:
- Strict product liability: Most states have strict product liability laws. These laws mean you do not have the burden of showing that the food manufacturer or supplier of a bad food product was not careful enough in making or distributing the food. You need to show only that the food item you consumed was somehow contaminated and that this contamination caused your food poisoning.
- Negligence: You could argue that the defendants in your food poisoning case acted in a negligent fashion in supplying or manufacturing the food that made you ill. To prove negligence, you need to show that the defendant was not sufficiently careful as they made or distributed the food that made you ill.
- Breach of warranty: Many states have minimum standards of all types of products, including foods, and any contamination of the food product in your case could be a violation of a warranty. Also, the food contamination could be a violation of an express guarantee by the processor of that food.
Proving Your Food Poisoning Claim
Proving a food poisoning claim is often the biggest challenge. The Mann Law Firm has ample experience in food poisoning cases and may be able to help you prove your claim. Generally, two things need to be proven to win a food poisoning lawsuit:
- The food you consumed was contaminated.
- The food contamination made you ill.
First, you need to show that the food consumed was contaminated. You and your attorney must prove the exact food product that caused your illness. If there is any time delay between when you ate the food and when you got food poisoning symptoms, it could be hard to determine the food that made you ill. An exception would be if many other people also got sick from eating the same food.
Showing a link between the food you consumed and food poisoning is easier in a case where a government health organization gets involved and traces the food poisoning outbreak to an exact source. Tests by scientists to figure out the exact microbes that were in the contaminated food is very important. It provides your case with solid scientific evidence that links the contaminated product to your food poisoning.
Second, you need to show that food contamination made you ill. The best way you can do this is to produce a stool sample and have it tested for various types of food poisoning. If you can prove that your stool sample has the microbes that caused the food poisoning, you will have a strong case.
Who May Be Liable for My Food Poisoning?
You should generally include all parties and entities involved in the chain of distribution of the food item. The chain of distribution usually involves the company that made the food, the retailer, and various suppliers, wholesalers and distributors.
Contact The Mann Law Firm Today About Your Food Poisoning Claim
If you believe you have suffered food poisoning, it is important to contact The Mann Law Firm immediately. The success of your claim depends on moving as quickly as possible after you became ill from eating a possibly contaminated food. Please contact our offices today for a complimentary legal consultation.
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