Can I sue for food poisoning? The short answer is “yes”. The news is full of massive outbreaks of serious, sometimes fatal, cases of food poisoning. Proof of causation is not difficult when many get sick, but can be a problem if one person goes home and gets sick. Doctors don’t often culture to find the agent causing illness and restaurant patrons seldom preserve samples of the food for testing.
As a personal injury lawyer, I have handled a number of food poisoning cases. A short intense illness may not justify extensive compensation, however, permanent impairment is certainly a possibility. Often an important event, like a wedding, can be ruined and substantial damages awarded.
The best strategy is to avoid the illness. Some good strategies are:
1.) Avoid buffets, especially if they are not busy;
2.) Wash all produce, even if it says it is prewashed;
3.) Drink pasteurized milk only;
4.) Don’t eat raw meats or eggs;
5.) Order ground meat cooked well done;
6.) If it looks or smells “off” – don’t eat it; and
7.) Wash all meat and avoid cross contamination of foods during preparation.