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Should You Try to Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?


Can you sue a restaurant for food poisoning? Sure. But should you? That is the real question. When you eat out at a restaurant, you expect the restaurant to meet certain standards, such as good service, good food, and a good time. So when you become very sick after eating at a restaurant, and you suspect the food had something to do with your illness, you may be upset, as you have every right to be. However, is your upset stomach good enough reason to file a lawsuit against the restaurant? It really depends. At The Pendas Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers suggest approaching food poisoning claims with caution, and to only file a claim if a) you can prove that the food made you sick, b) you can prove that the restaurant was negligence in their service to you, and c) that you sustained actual damages from your injuries (i.e. medical bills, lost wages, etc.).

Proving Food Poisoning

Proving food poisoning is very difficult, as there is the very real possibility that you just picked up a stomach bug. However, if you have a strong inclination that the restaurant’s food is what made you sick, and if you accrued costly medical bills and missed out on work as a result, talk with a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer. We can advise you on the evidence you need to in order to prove that the restaurant is liable for your sickness, and guide you on the best way to approach your claim.

One factor the restaurant’s insurance company and/or judge will look into is how much time passed between the meal and your illness. Was it minutes, hours, or days? The less time that passed, the better.

Another factor they will consider is physical evidence. Do you have leftovers for a lab to look at? Though even leftovers are not conclusive evidence (as they could have been tainted), they can further your overall case by backing up other evidence, such as stool samples, blood samples, or other bodily fluid samples. This brings us to our next point: if you suspect that you have food poisoning, it is important that you seek medical attention right away. A medical center will take the samples necessary to determine what the cause of your illness is, and may be able to provide the lab results that corroborate your claims, as well as the lab results from the leftovers.

While lab results would be helpful, the truth is that most people do not go to the doctor because of a case of food poisoning, and most insurance companies will not be willing to spend money on testing leftovers. The best (and free) evidence would be other individuals also affected by the contaminated food. If other patrons of the restaurant, or even others of your party, experienced the same symptoms shortly after eating their meal, you may have a successful claim. In instances where several people are poisoned by a food product, it might instigate a product recall, or at the very least a health agency warning on certain foods.

Is It Worth it to Sue for Food Poisoning?

Now back to the original question: should you file a claim for food poisoning? Even if you can prove that the restaurant’s food is what made you sick, and even if you spent a week running back and forth to the bathroom and missing work, it might not be worth your time to file a claim, as your damages will not amount to much more than lost wages.

On the other hand, if your illness resulted in hospitalization – such is the case with dangerous microbes like E. coli and salmonella – or if a younger or older person was hospitalized due to their weak immunities, it might be worth your time to contact a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer.

Contact a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer

At The Pendas Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers aim to help those injured by another person’s or entity’s negligence obtain compensation for their damages. If you or a loved one came down with food poisoning after eating at a restaurant, call our Jacksonville personal injury law firm at 888-LPENDAS right away. We can evaluate the evidence and help you determine whether or not it is worth it to pursue legal action.

The Pendas Law Firm also serves clients in the Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, Miami, Daytona, Bradenton, and West Palm Beach areas.



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  • “I'm very happy with this firm... Joel is an excellent attorney and Carolyn is an amazing paralegal, After been ditched from another law firm, Pendas took care of me and they won my case. I recommend them 100%...” - Jacksonville -

    Maria Pastor
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