Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of going out to eat or grabbing carry-out on a busy night only to become ill later that night or the next morning. In most cases, any physical ill effects we experience will resolve themselves within a day or so. This may not be enough time, however, for the indignity and anger generated by having been served tainted food to go away. Can you sue a food manufacturer or restaurant for manufacturing or serving bad food?
The short answer is, yes. However, you are likely to face several unique problems in presenting and prevailing in your lawsuit so that it may not be worth it to pursue such a lawsuit.
Problem #1: Proving Damages
The first problem often encountered by plaintiffs who want to sue a food manufacturer or restaurant for tainted or unappetizing food is showing that they suffered any type of damage or loss as a result of the tainted food. In any personal injury case, proving the existence and extent of damages or harm to you as a result of the defendant’s negligence is required. Unfortunately, brief episodes of gastric distress – however unpleasant or painful – do not rise to the level of an “injury” or “loss.”
Suppose, however, that your particular episode of food poisoning was quite serious and required you to miss several days of work. In this case you would be able to show the existence and extent of damages more easily than if you simply had one bout of intestinal distress, so long as you can prove that your illness and the time you had to miss from work were connected to the tainted food and were not the result of some other cause. Without medical evaluation and tests, this proposition can be difficult to prove. For that reason, it is always important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Problem #2: Proving Causation
The defendant whom you are suing must have caused the foreign matter to be present in your food or been in control of the food such that it is reasonable and just to hold him or her responsible for your losses. Again, proving causation is not always as easy as it may first appear. For instance, suppose you purchased ground hamburger from a grocery store for a spring cookout and discovered dead bugs inside the patties. Assuming for a moment that you could prove every other element of your case, who is the proper defendant to sue? You know that somewhere between the feedlot and your plate bugs entered the burger patty; however, there are any number of people or entities who might be responsible. Through the course of your lawsuit, you need to not only show who is to blame, but also why other potential defendants are not to blame. You may also need to prove that the specific foreign substance actually caused your illness or symptoms.
The law firm of David R. Price, Jr., P.A.,is a South Carolina personal injury law firm that understands the indignation and anger that often accompany an incident causing injury or illness. David R. Price, Jr. is committed to helping you pursue valid claims for compensation and damages, and he is even more committed to looking out for his clients’ and potential clients’ best interests. He will tell you if in his professional opinion your case may not be worth pursuing and can in some cases suggest alternatives to litigation that might give you similar or even better results. Contact David R. Price, Jr., P.A. to discuss your personal injury case by calling, or contact his office online.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.