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Do I Have Legal Rights if I Get Food Poisoning at a Florida Restaurant?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2019 | Personal Injury Law |


Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified more than 250 foodborne ailments, many of which are caused by various bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Though the thought may make you squeamish, these statistics indicate that there’s a good chance you may suffer from one of them after eating at a Florida restaurant. A foodborne illness may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, painful stomach cramping, and other symptoms.

Once you obtain necessary medical care for food poisoning, including fluid replacement and antibiotics, you may be wondering about your legal rights. Medical treatment costs money, and lost wages if you were out of work during your recovery. Food poisoning cases are very unique in the legal field, and a Florida personal injury lawyer can explain why. An overview may also be helpful.

Causes of Food Contamination in Restaurants: Though the CDC data reveals the nature of the contaminants, the focus in a food poisoning case is how they got there. Some possibilities include:

  • Food preparation by an employee with unclean hands;
  • Dirty utensils or surfaces used to prepare food;
  • Undercooked meats;
  • Bad or rotten seafood, especially in Florida where fish, raw oysters, sushi, and other seafood is popular;
  • Improper handling of food in the shipping process;
  • Dangerous defects in manufacturing;
  • Storing food at an improper temperature;
  • Serving food that’s beyond its safe life, regardless of where it’s stored; and,
  • Many more.

Theories of Liability for Food Poisoning: There are three legal theories that may support a personal injury claim for a foodborne illness:

  1. Negligence: Many of the examples above involve misconduct in storing, preparing, and serving food. You may be entitled to recover compensation by showing that these actions constitute a failure to exercise reasonable care, which led to the contamination that caused your ailment.
  2. Strict Products Liability: It’s difficult to prove fault in some food poisoning cases, but you may have rights under a strict liability theory. You can obtain monetary damages if you can show the food you ate was unsafe, and the contamination caused your illness.
  3. Breach of Warranty: Florida imposes minimum standards on food products, holding a manufacturer, restaurant, or other party accountable under an implied warranty that the item is safe for consumption. In some situations, a food producer may even make an express warranty, such as “triple-washed” lettuce greens. The failure to live up to express or implied promises may constitute a breach of warranty, for which you could be entitled to compensation.

Talk to an Ocala, FL Personal Injury Attorney About Food Poisoning Claims

It’s upsetting to learn that misconduct could be the reason you suffered pain and other losses because of food poisoning, but you do have legal rights. At Piccin & Glynn, our Ocala personal injury lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury cases, so we can assist with claims based upon foodborne illnesses. Please call our Ocala, FL office at 352-558-8480 or go online to schedule a free consultation regarding your circumstances.