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Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers

It is not uncommon for people to come down with food poisoning. There are many different types of bacteria and viruses that could cause food poisoning such as norovirus, hepatitis, E. coli, listeria, botulism, and shigella, to name a few. When food distributors including grocery stores or restaurants act negligently, their guests and customers may have the right to hold them accountable for their actions.

However, if you hope to recover compensation for your damages caused by food poisoning, your attorney will need to be able to show that someone else’s negligence or misconduct was the cause of your injury or illness. Here are three of the most common theories of liability in food poisoning cases and how to maximize the compensation you are awarded.

Common Types of Liability in Food Poisoning Cases

The most important responsibility your food poisoning lawyer will have is establishing liability. There are three common ways in which food poisoning can occur. These include negligence, strict product liability, and breach of warranty.


Restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses that serve or sell food have a duty to exercise reasonable care. This means they must maintain safe premises, safe products, and take steps against preventable dangers. When any of these establishments breach the standard of care, they could be held accountable.

Criteria for Establishing Negligence

A good example of negligence in a food poisoning case could be a restaurant that fails to maintain safe and sanitary kitchen practices, thereby putting the food at risk for cross-contamination.  For your claim to be successful, your attorney will need to prove that the four following elements of negligence have been met:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

This means your attorney will need to show that the restaurant, grocery store, or other food business owed you a duty of care, breached that duty of care, thereby causing you damages. Your attorney will need to isolate the source of your food poisoning with assistance from your physician to identify the contaminated food and its source.

Although simply becoming sick from the food you ate may be enough to prove liability, if your life has not been significantly affected by your food poisoning, it may not be worth your time to pursue a claim. For this reason, it is important to go over your damages in detail with your attorney to determine whether it will be worth your while to move forward with your food poisoning claim.

Strict Product Liability

Strict product liability means that if defective or dangerous food caused your food poisoning, you may not be required to show a lack of reasonable care as you would normally in a strict product liability case. It may be enough to show that the food served or sold was dangerous or defective in some way.

Product liability cases differ from personal injury claims in that nearly anyone involved in the chain of distribution of the product in question (in this case, the food product) can be held accountable for your damages.

Breach of Warranty

Buyers have a reasonable expectation that the food they purchase will not be contaminated. This can be considered an implied warranty. A breach of this warranty means those responsible for the production, manufacture, and distribution of the contaminated food items can be compelled to compensate you for your suffering.

What Damages Could You Recover After Suffering Food Poisoning?

To determine whether bringing forward a food poisoning claim is going to produce a favorable outcome in your case, your attorney will need to closely examine all the ways your life has been affected by your food poisoning illness. Some of the different damages you may be able to recover as part of your food poisoning claim include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Co-pays
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Emotional distress

Get Help from a Food Poisoning Lawyer Today

When businesses fail to handle food properly, they could be held accountable when consumers or guests consume the items and come down with food poisoning.

If your life has been significantly affected by food poisoning and you believe a restaurant, grocery store, or another third party could be responsible, reach out to a food poisoning lawyer at OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers. Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today when you fill out our online contact form or call our office at (888) 828-7087.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks


A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant


A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia


A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash