Can You Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning in Pennsylvania?
If you have ever eaten at a restaurant and later felt severe discomfort, it is possible you experienced symptoms of food poisoning. Signs and symptoms of food poisoning can vary from person to person and can even depend on the type of food a person consumed. Food poisoning cases should be handled swiftly because some evidence you may need for your case obviously cannot be preserved for trial. If you or a family member was a victim of food poisoning, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer. At The Reiff Law Firm, we will work tirelessly to help you pursue your food poisoning claim. Our lawyers are here to explain whether you can sue a restaurant for food poisoning in Pennsylvania.
Types of Food Poisoning You Can Sue For in PA
Food poisoning is an illness caused by consuming food that is contaminated with infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These contaminants can affect food during the production process or because it was cooked incorrectly. The type of food poisoning a person can contract will usually depend on the kind of food they consumed.
Campylobacteriosis is one type of foodborne illness that is commonly caused by eating meat and poultry contaminated with animal feces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, campylobacteriosis affects approximately 1.3 million people per year. The signs and symptoms of campylobacteriosis include severe diarrhea, fevers, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. While this infection can clear up within two to five days, individuals with weakened immune systems face a higher risk of the infection reaching their bloodstream and causing a fatal illness. Fatal cases of food poisoning can also open a restaurant to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Hepatitis A is another illness that can be contracted by consuming raw produce and shellfish that was in contact with contaminated water. This illness can also be contracted if a food-handler afflicted with Hepatitis A negligently prepares your food. Hepatitis A is a virus that causes a person’s liver to become inflamed; it is also highly contagious. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice, fevers, dark urine, vomiting, and joint pain. These symptoms and others can last for a few weeks or several months. Extreme cases of Hepatitis A can even cause death.
Giardia lamblia is a diarrheal illness commonly caused by drinking water contaminated with feces. The symptoms of giardiasis may not appear until a week later, making it more difficult for an individual to prove a restaurant was responsible for their illness.
There are many other types of foodborne illnesses that are not listed above, such as salmonella and E. coli. If you need to know more about the various types of food poisoning, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
How to Prepare for a Food Poisoning Lawsuit
Food poisoning is an actionable offense in Pennsylvania, and a restaurant can be liable for your injuries if you can prove they were the cause of your foodborne illness. The CDC estimates that 48 million people annually in the U.S. contract some form of food poisoning, and approximately 128,000 of those people must be hospitalized. These stats also show that about 3,000 people will die from food poisoning each year. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of food poisoning so that you may seek necessary medical treatment and properly preserve your lawsuit.
If you eat food at a restaurant and begin to feel ill, you should seek medical attention immediately. If possible, you should also take steps to gather evidence that will show that your food was contaminated.
One of the first things you should do is document the time and date your symptoms began. Keep all receipts from the establishment that prove when you were there and what food you ordered. If you still have leftovers from the restaurant, keep it as evidence. You may be able to send the food to a lab so that they can examine it for contaminants. If the tests come back positive, you have a solid piece of evidence to aid your case.
Next, you should consult with your doctor to determine whether your illness was caused by negligently prepared food. Ruling out other illnesses is important so that the restaurant cannot diminish your claim by alleging you received the foodborne illness from some other source. It may also help to speak with other diners who were present at the restaurant the same day you became sick. It is possible others may have contracted the same illness you did.
Additionally, you should check for any food recalls in your area. The restaurant you dined at may have negligently used ingredients that were recently recalled when preparing your meal.
Work with Our Personal Injury Attorneys to Build Your Food Poisoning Claim
If you or a family member contracted a foodborne illness at a restaurant, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. With over 40 years of personal injury experience, the attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm are ready to help you discover evidence and form strategies for your food poisoning lawsuit. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (215) 246-9000.