Food injury lawsuits are lawsuits that can be filed for various types of injuries caused by foods purchased and consumed by the plaintiff. These lawsuits could involve various parties, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Restaurant employees;
- Food suppliers and distributors;
- Food delivery companies;
- Stores that sell prepackaged food;
- Grocery store branches;
- Food manufacturing plants; and/or
- Private parties, such as food injuries which result from a house party.
Food illness injuries can sometimes result in a class action lawsuit. This is especially true when large segments of the population have been affected by a mass distribution of contaminated food. This can lead to a recall of the product, as well as extensive damages issued to the affected people.
What Are Some Common Types of Food Injuries?
There are many different types of food injuries that can affect people. Some examples of food injuries include but may not be limited to:
- Food poisoning as a result of contaminated, toxic, and/or expired food;
- Swallowing-related injuries due to foreign objects in food;
- Food allergy injuries — a common example of this can be in hospitals and nursing homes where a nurse or other person fails to observe food allergy requests; and
- Food infection injuries, which are similar to food poisoning but may involve more long-term symptoms that may appear later.
The majority of food injury claims are due to improperly handled food, as well as expired foods. It is imperative to take care that the foods you purchase and consume are not expired.
Additionally, you should ensure that they are sold to you by institutions that follow federal and state food health standards. Foods purchased online or from outside of the country may be subject to different standards.
Who Can I Sue in a Food Injury Claim?
If you experience a food injury, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against:
- The restaurant that served you the contaminated food;
- The food company or store that sold the food; and/or
- The manufacturing company that made the food.
The previously mentioned parties could face liability in food negligence cases. Similarly, there are several ways in which you may be harmed in a restaurant. An example of this would be if your food was improperly handled, which leads to food poisoning. The floor may be wet causing you to slip and fall, you could cut yourself on broken glass, or hot food or beverages may be dropped on you by a server. While restaurant injuries are slightly different in nature than food injuries, they are related and share similar legal theories such as negligence.
In addition to the above, restaurant owners are responsible for keeping the restaurant property safe for those who eat and drink there. They are also responsible for not causing injuries to those patrons.
An example of the duty of care owed by restaurants is the duty of properly cooking and handling food, in order to avoid undercooked or contaminated foods which could poison patrons. If you have been injured at a restaurant, or the restaurant otherwise caused you damages, you may be able to recover for your damages by filing a lawsuit against the restaurant.
What Are Some Legal Remedies for Food Injury Lawsuits?
Damages and remedies in food injury lawsuit settlements will vary based on several different factors. These factors may include:
- Jurisdictional variations;
- The circumstances of each specific food injury case;
- The number and type of parties involved in the lawsuit; and
- Whether or not the plaintiff somehow contributed to their own injuries.
Food injury lawsuits may result in legal remedies such as a monetary damages award. Generally speaking, the legal remedies will resemble those of negligence and/or personal injury claims. If you feel that you have suffered a food injury, you should maintain any evidence that might be used during the lawsuit.
This could include receipts, food packages, or other documents such as emails between you and the food’s manufacturer. As previously mentioned, legal remedies might also involve many other parties if there is a class action lawsuit.
Some examples of damages that you may recover from food injury lawsuit settlements include:
- Medical costs;
- Hospital bills;
- Lost wages;
- Future lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and/or
- Other related expenses.
If you wish to sue a restaurant specifically for negligence, you will need to gather evidence that tends to link the acts or omissions of the restaurant to your injuries. An example of this is how you should always try to obtain any incident report that was filled out as a result of your injury. Most restaurants have a procedure that requires them to fill out an incident report, documenting the details of the incident.
This document would also include a list of witnesses, and potentially witness statements. In a typical slip and fall incident, you would want to obtain the incident report of the slip and fall. You would also want to collect any witness statements that indicate that the hazard had been there for a while, but the restaurant took no action.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Food Injury Claim?
Hiring a food injury lawyer has many benefits, such as their awareness of any current class action lawsuits that you could join. You should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer for assistance in filing a lawsuit due to a food injury.
An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights, provide you with legal advice throughout the course of the proceedings, and represent you in court as needed.