There are many different forms and types of food poisoning.  Most are caused by bacteria originating in the food itself, not from poison such as arsenic actually being present in the food.  Some are spread from workers to consumers, and many are the result of improper handling, preparation, undercooking, or failure to dispose of expired products. 

Therefore, proving a personal injury claim based on food poisoning can involve several different parties, such as manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of food products.  With regards to restaurant food poisoning, liability may be traced to numerous persons, including the restaurant owner/manager, cooks, chefs, waiters, and other personnel. 

Some of the most common types of food poisoning include:

  • e. Coli:  Traceable to bacteria found in many meat and vegetable products.  Symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, and sometimes kidney failure
  • Salmonella: Mainly caused by foods of animal origin, such as poultry, eggs, and fish.  In particular, uncooked meat is a common source of salmonella
  • Listeriosis:  Caused by the listeria bacteria.  Listeria is found in water and some soils, and can become lodged in vegetable products
  • Noroviruses:  Responsible for the common “stomach flu”.  Different from bacterial poisoning as noroviruses are very contagious and do not respond to antibiotic treatment.  Usually caused by poor hygiene, i.e., unwashed hands or unsanitary conditions in restaurants

There are many other different types of food poisoning.  These can range from mild digestive irritation to severely debilitating injuries. 

What Types of Injuries are Associated with Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can lead to various symptoms.  Some symptoms are associated with a particular bacteria; for example, salmonella is often accompanied by abdominal cramping.  Some common symptoms and injuries resulting from food poisoning may include:

  • Digestive disorders such as:
    • Nausea
    • Upset Stomach/Cramps
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of fluids
  • Fever-like symptoms including:
    • Chills 
    • Headache
    • Joint/body pains
    • Muscle ache
    • Fatigue
  • More permanent injuries such as
    • Kidney failure
    • Blood disorders as the contaminant travels from the intestine to the blood stream
    • Reiter’s syndrome: pains in their joints, irritation of eyes, and painful urination

In some cases, prolonged or repeated food poisoning can be fatal.  Also, many people don’t know that food poisoning symptoms can be transferred to infants upon birth, if the mother was experiencing food-poisoning during pregnancy.  The contaminants often linger in the mother’s body for some time and are then transferred to the baby.

How do I Recover for Losses Associated with Food Poisoning?

As mentioned, part of the difficulty in filing a food poisoning claim is identifying who is liable for your injuries.  You may need to consider where you bought the food, where it was consumed, and your individual background of food allergies. 

There are two basic ways to recover for food poisoning.  If it resulted from consuming food at a restaurant or other establishment, it may be possible to sue based on a negligence theory.  Among other issues, you would need to prove that the restaurant chain breached their duty of care somehow and that the breach caused your injuries (for example, if an employee failed to cook meat thoroughly) 

Or, if the food was distributed through the commercial market, you may be able to file a products liability lawsuit.  Many cases of food poisoning involve defective products that were released into the market in mass quantities.  Food poisoning recalls are often the focus of defective products class action lawsuits

Do I Need a Lawyer for Food Poisoning Claims?

Food poisoning can be very dangerous, especially if they lead to prolonged or repeated occurrences of symptoms.  You should contact a physician immediately if you have been injured due to food poisoning.  If you have any legal concerns regarding food poisoning, a defective products lawyer in your area can provide you with advice and assistance in court.