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Can restaurant customers sue for food poisoning?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Personal Injury, Premises Liability

A delicious meal, a pleasing ambiance and attentive service all contribute to a memorable dining experience. However, contracting food poisoning after eating at a restaurant can also make it unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Beyond causing discomfort, food tainted by bacteria can put you in the hospital or threaten your life.

As a customer, you trust restaurants and their staff to serve food that is clean and safe. If it is clear that the establishment did not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of patrons, you may hold them liable.

The toll of food poisoning

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food poisoning sends over 100,000 individuals to the hospital and tragically claims about 3,000 lives every year. If you consume food contaminated by harmful bacteria or viruses, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever

These symptoms can be concerning if you have a compromised immune system. For infants, children, older adults and individuals with preexisting health issues, food poisoning can be especially risky. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, weakness, high fever and other conditions.

For those already managing an illness, the lost fluids from food poisoning may not be easily replaceable. Severe dehydration could result in organ damage, disease, or in extreme cases, be fatal.

If you are experiencing lasting symptoms, hospitalization may be necessary.

Pursuing compensation from those responsible

Experiencing food poisoning after dining out may result from negligence by the restaurant owner or its staff. A restaurant may be negligent if it disregards safe food handling protocols, fails to store food properly or violates health codes.

If you’ve contracted food poisoning, filing a claim may allow you to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If the incident led to the unfortunate death of a loved one, you may file a wrongful death claim. An experienced lawyer can inform you of your rights and guide you on what steps to take.