Hiring a caterer to prepare food for your guests is not a foolproof way to prevent food poisoning at an event. If your guests get food poisoning, you may have a legal claim against your caterer.
Food Poisoning Claim
Getting harmed by food poisoning is considered a personal injury.
Specifically, you may have a defective product liability claim against your caterer. Products liability comes in four theories:
- Strict products liability
- Breach of express warranty
- Breach of implied warranty
Each of these theories rely on the same premise: your caterer served defective food and your guests were injured as a result of the defect. Since the caterer did not do their job correctly, they are liable for the injuries.
In addition to the above claims, you may have a breach of contract claim against your caterer. Since your caterer did not deliver edible food, your caterer did not meet her contract requirements. Thus, you do not need to pay your caterer.
Time to File a Suit
If you would like to take legal action against your caterer, you should initiate the action as soon as possible. The longer you wait to file a claim against your caterer, the harder it will be for you to prove your case. Also, depending on your claim and the state where you would like to file suit, you may be required to bring a personal injury claim within a year or two of the occurrence.
Proving Your Claim
To win your case of food poisoning against your caterer, you must prove:
- The food you ate was contaminated
- The food made you sick
To do so, you may have to go to the hospital to get a stool sample test and/ or open an investigation with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The hard part is to make sure the tests and investigation happen quickly after your guests start to feel sick. If too much time has passed, it will be difficult to trace the source of the food poisoning.
Consulting a Lawyer
Due to the difficulty of finding the right claims and theories to use, a personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of taking legal action against a caterer. Also, a lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement such that you do not need to go court and proof that the caterer caused the sickness.