Anyone who’s ever had the stomach flu knows just how miserable it can be to get sick in this way. Often, when we get ill with a belly bug, we look for reasons why it happened. Where did we get sick and who gave it to us? Often, this raises the question of whether it was food poisoning, and then, if we got it from that new restaurant we tried last night.
Many wonder if they can sue the restaurant for damages based on their illness if they do get sick from eating out. In reality, the question is more one of whether it’s worth it to do so. Learn the complications over suing a restaurant for contracting a foodborne illness and why you should consult a personal injury attorney before filing suit.
About Foodborne Illness
The first thing to understand is that just because you got a stomach bug today, that doesn’t mean you ate tainted food last night. Many kinds of food poisoning can take days or even up to a week or more to manifest symptoms. Before this, they gestate in your body. This means it can be very hard to prove where you got sick unless you have a sample of the food you think made you ill, which can be tested.
Even then it can be tricky because the food in question might have grown bacteria while sitting in your car on the way home from the restaurant, or even on the table between being served and eaten.
The Proof Is in the Poison
The key factor in any civil lawsuit for personal injury is negligence. You’ll need to prove that someone was negligent at the restaurant and that this negligence is what caused you to get sick. This means you need to establish that:
- The restaurant had a duty to provide food that was safe to eat
- The restaurant failed in that duty by providing food that was tainted
- This tainted food was the direct cause of your illness
The first part of this is easy to prove—restaurants do have that very duty and responsibility. The second bit, however, isn’t so easy. Did the restaurant provide tainted food, and can you prove it? Did they have any indication that the food might have been tainted? Did they fail to keep it at the proper temperature? Can you show that an employee failed to wash their hands? Can you prove any other violation?
Many foodborne illnesses have the same symptoms as other flu bugs, so it can be tricky to prove, then, that you even have food poisoning.
Advice from a Personal Injury Attorney
Finally, since the lion’s share of food illness cases last only a few days and then end with recovery, it’s often not worth it to pursue a case. You need to prove significant harm for a personal injury case, and it can take a long time to do.
On the other hand, some cases of botulism, E. coli, serious salmonella and the like can have very severe and long-lasting consequences. In this case, you might want to consult a personal injury attorney like Robert White. If you think you have a case in West Texas, give us a call or complete our online contact form for a free consultation. Let us help you out today.