Homepage > How Do I Prove I Have Food Poisoning?
March 13, 2022
Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers
Getting food poisoning is an awful experience, and the desire to hold someone accountable is understandable. But food safety and injury cases are complex because there are many factors. You might know when you have food poisoning, but proving that a negligent restaurant is at fault can be challenging.
Learn how an attorney prepares a negligence case involving food poisoning and what damages you could recover.
Food poisoning cases are not the easiest type of personal injury to prove. However, when someone’s negligence or wrongdoing causes you or a loved one to suffer from a food-borne illness, you have the right to seek compensation.
To successfully recover damages from a negligent restaurant or food supplier, you must:
Most of us eat more than one meal a day and in different places. We might eat breakfast at home, join a friend for lunch at the corner diner, and meet for drinks and appetizers for happy hour.
The sheer variety of food and beverages consumed over 24 hours makes it imperative that you isolate and identify the contaminated food.
Food poisoning typically starts within a day of consuming contaminated food, but it can begin sooner. Learn the symptoms of food poisoning and write down how soon after your last meal they began.
Your notes should include the time of day and type of symptoms. Describing your symptoms, while unpleasant, strengthens your case that you suffered from food poisoning and not a stomach virus.
The more information you provide, the more credible your claim.
Retrace your meals from the previous 24 to 48 hours. Write down what you ate and where you were. If you recall that something tasted funny or off, include that in your food diary. This information helps document your case.
Food poisoning often affects more than one person. If you shared a meal with friends, call and ask how they feel.
Ask your local health department if others have called about a specific restaurant complaint. At the very least, you can register your illness for the official record.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls hundreds of defective or dangerous foods, beverages, medications, and supplements every year. Some recalls are voluntary, while others require a government mandate.
If you’re confident you’ve narrowed the contaminated food to a specific restaurant, look for a receipt, credit card statement, or other proof that you ate there.
See your doctor if you suspect food poisoning. Depending on the type of pathogen you consumed, you might need to take antibiotics or other medicine.
Getting medical care from your family physician, walk-in clinic, or emergency room provides documentation of your illness. A lab can test your blood, urine, or stool for evidence of bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants.
Ask your doctor if they’ll provide written confirmation of a food poisoning diagnosis.
Some health departments can test food samples for specific pathogens. You can bring any leftovers from the restaurant or ask someone to pick up an order.
Substances often tested for in food poisoning cases include:
You were sickened by contaminated food in a restaurant, but there is an entire distribution chain that shares responsibility for your illness. A food poisoning insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit might include the food supplier (bakery, slaughterhouse, or farm) and any associated suppliers, vendors, or distributors.
OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers understand the process and requirements to prove food poisoning in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. We have the skills and resources to help you recover the compensation you deserve.