Food poisoning from a restaurant can occur when you eat something that causes you to have a bad reaction that results in severe stomach issues, vomiting and nausea.
But it is also caused by foreign items that are found in food, such as a rat baked into a fast-food burger that causes the person eating to suffer nausea and emotional distress.
Sadly, food poisoning can also lead to death if a person consumes food that contains an ingredient that triggers an allergy.
Food poisoning is usually caused by factors such as:
- Restaurant workers failing to follow sanitary protocols, such as properly and thoroughly washing their hands
- Food prepared with utensils, pots and pans that are not properly cleaned
- Undercooked meat, poultry or fish
- Food that is not cooked or stored at the right temperature
- Other unsafe or unsanitary food handling procedures
Food poisoning can occur several minutes after you consume tainted food, or it can occur hours or even several days later.
Doctors recommend that you drink a lot of water once you identify symptoms of food poisoning, because dehydration is a frequent consequence of this illness.
Food poisoning from a restaurant is legally actionable, but requires you to prove that the restaurant staff was negligent in their normal duty towards you as a patron, and that as a result you have been harmed.
The Challenge of a Claim When You Get Food Poisoning From a Restaurant
Once you’ve suffered from food poisoning at a restaurant, you may want to pursue a legal claim, especially if the poisoning caused you to miss work and to incur medical bills.
But winning this type of claim is challenging, because you have to be able to prove the direct connection between the food that you ate at that restaurant at that time and the adverse effects that the food caused. To do that, you have to prove that the food was tainted, and that there is no other reasonable explanation for your illness.
That’s why it is often much easier to file these claims when other patrons at the restaurant also suffered from food poisoning, because the evidence is much stronger in those instances.
If you believe that you have consumed contaminated food at a restaurant, here are a few things you should do.
- Contact your local public health department as soon as you can to let them know what happened and act quickly to help prevent others from being sickened by the same facility or restaurant. You can ask them if anyone else has complained about that restaurant. The public health department is charged with the responsibility for checking out reported unsanitary conditions at restaurants, or if people were sickened, to inspect the facility to see if proper procedures were followed.
- Try to make a food diary of everything you consumed within a 72-hour period of time from when you were sickened. This will help prove the cause of your potential illness, based on what types of foods you consumed.
- Get medical attention if you become sick for more than a few hours. Sometimes, minor food poisoning cases can clear up quite quickly, but other times, serious medical attention is needed. It is important that stool cultures and blood tests are done in the more serious cases to prove the specific cause and best possible treatment of a food borne illness.
In New Jersey, the Food and Drug Act (N.J.S.A.24:17-1) requires food served in a restaurant be safe for human consumption. Under modern Products Liability law, restaurants can be held civilly responsible to patrons who get sick as a result of food served unsafe for human consumption.
Call A Personal Injury Lawyer if You Think You Have a Case Against a Restaurant for Unsafe food.
Food poisoning can have lasting effects on your physical and mental well-being, which is why it’s so important for you to hire an experienced lawyer, such as the team at Rosner Law Offices, P.C., if you think you may have a claim for food poisoning from a restaurant. Call us today at 856-692-6500 to get a free consultation about the merits of your case.