Food Poisoning Liability

foodpoisoningIf you have ever been a victim of food poisoning, there is a chance that you may have a case. However, it can be hard to tell if what you ate contributed to the illness since there is usually a time delay and something else could have caused it. But if a government health agency is linking a certain food to an outbreak of illness, a case may be easier to claim. Food poisoning falls under defective product liability since you could have been sold a defective product that injured you.

One big advantage to your claim is that due to many states’ strict product liability laws, you may be relieved of the burden of showing that the supplier was not careful in distributing the contaminated food product. You merely have to show that the food was contaminated and that is what caused you to become ill.

With strict product liability, you must have an argument that the supplier of the contaminated product acted negligently, failed to exercise reasonable care, in supplying the food that made you ill.

Many states have minimal standards on products, also known as “implied warranties”, and any contamination in your food that is involved in the case can constitute a violation to those implied warranties. For instance, bags of salad mix that claim to be “triple-washed”. This sets a certain standard for the product, however; the product is violating its implied warranty if someone were to become ill from the salad.

Even earlier this month, Chobani has been in the news for their yogurt carrying a certain mold that caused their yogurt to expire before the expiration date. When Chobani found out about their product defect from social media sources, they immediately had pulled their product off the shelves, not issuing a voluntary recall until September 4th. There have been several complaints that the mold has caused people to become sick but this particular mold does not cause the symptoms that people listed. Chobani’s experts claim the illnesses had to be from something else people consumed.

Proving that a particular food caused you to become sick can be the hardest part of your case. In order to win your claim you must:

  • Provide evidence that the food you ate was contaminated, and
  • The particular contamination made you sick

There are several actions you can take if you find yourself part of an outbreak of food poisoning. If there are a large number of victims that were affected, a class action lawsuit could be in order. In some cases, this lawsuit may already be in the works by the time you find out you had been poisoned too. By joining an existing class action lawsuit, you could have the advantage of joining a team of lawyers that has experience against big companies, little or no upfront costs and you will not have to be concerned about sorting out complex legal issues.

On the other hand, if you find yourself the victim of an outbreak of food poisoning and you find out there is not an already-existing class action lawsuit; you may want to try a free-initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer, such as the lawyers of Skousen, Gulbransen & Patience, PLC.