Feeling Ill After Eating Out? You May Be Able To Sue

23 January 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you have just dealt with food poisoning from eating out, you know how miserable it can be. For days or even weeks, you feel the worst you have ever felt. If you got the food poisoning when you were eating at a restaurant, you may be able to sue them for the illness. Here is what you should know about suing a restaurant for becoming ill after eating their food.

Find Out the Pathogen

The first thing you should do after you get ill is see a doctor. Not only to get urgent medical attention in case you are dealing with something more serious, but also to find out what pathogen it was that made you sick. Your doctor will be able to run tests to determine exactly what pathogen you have been exposed to. It may be salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, listeria, hepatitis A, or norovirus. All of these are foodborne pathogens you get from what you eat. If you can get a firm result about the pathogen that came from the food you ate at the restaurant, you have a very good chance at winning your lawsuit.

Get PFGE Testing

Another type of testing that can help you gather evidence is called PFGE testing, or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. This test is important because it looks at the genetic fingerprints of whatever bacteria you were exposed to. It can see that multiple people in the hospital at the same time got the same bacteria from the restaurant. If you know of other guests that also got ill, have all of them get this test performed. It provides solid evidence that everyone got sick from food served at that restaurant.

Sue For the Employee, Not the Food

There are many cases where it isn't the food being served on its own, but due to the fault of the server. Perhaps the person serving the food had an illness, which they then transmitted through the dishes to the customers. They may also transmit it through surfaces, such as sneezing, then touching the utensils or plates that the customer will use to eat their meals. While it is the fault of a single employee, the restaurant will be sued in this case. This is also another situation where getting witness testimonies from other customers who also got ill from that employee will come in handy for the lawsuit.

Save Your Leftovers

If you have any leftovers from the food that got you ill, save them. Those can be used as evidence. Keep them in your refrigerator just in case testing needs to be performed. If they are contaminated with any foodborne pathogens, it will show up during the testing phase.

If you think you have a case against the restaurant, contact a personal injury attorney. They will let you know what your next steps are.