Chicago is known for its food, not for causing food poisoning. Unfortunately, people can and do get sick after eating in even the best local restaurants. If you have been affected by a severe case of food poisoning requiring medical intervention, consider the possibility of taking legal action.
What should I do if I think I have food poisoning?
Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you think that you have been the victim of food poisoning. Do not take your illness lightly. Food poisoning affects approximately 1 in 6 Americans every year. This results in approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the CDC. The most common causes of food borne illnesses stem from Salmonella, Toxoplasma, Listeria and Norovirus. Food poisoning symptoms can range from very mild to extremely severe and may even include death.
Common symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Diarrhea (which is especially serious if accompanied by blood)
- Muscle Aches
- Headache and fatigue
- Abdominal Pain and Cramps
- Blurred vision
Symptoms of food poisoning can show up within hours, days or even as long as one week after being infected. You might suspect that what you ate was somehow “off”. At the hospital, tests are run for food poisoning, followed by appropriate treatment. In severe cases, make sure that you are treated sooner rather than later to avoid complications, such as sepsis, or permanent damage to your organs. Medical treatments might include re-hydration with fluids, medications or surgery in the more extreme cases.
It is also important to try to remember everything that you ate leading up to your illness. Jot down what you remember and also make note of when you first noticed the symptoms, how long the symptoms lasted, when and where you ate, and so forth. This can be useful in your treatment and might also help in case you need to make a claim later for your food poisoning.
How can I prove that I ate contaminated food that led to food poisoning?
Save your receipt from the meal, if possible. If you still have some of the food that you suspect made you sick, save it but make sure that it is properly labeled to avoid contamination to anyone else that you live with. Tell your doctor what you ate and answer all questions honestly and as completely as you can during your medical appointment so that the circumstances surrounding your illness can be well documented. In attempting to prove that you got sick from the tainted food, your lawyer can also investigate the restaurant’s practices surrounding safe food handling, food temperatures, sanitation, etc. Remember, food poisoning is usually the result of food that has been improperly cooked, stored or handled.
Can I take Legal Action if I have food poisoning?
Yes, you can take legal action if you suffered from food poisoning or if a loved one died as the result. Not everyone who suspects food poisoning will benefit from legal action. If you were lucky enough to get better on your own without medical intervention, it is not going to be worth your time to sue the restaurant. If the illness was severe and you now have medical bills to deal with from the food poisoning, speaking with an attorney will help you decide if you want to take matters further. Legal action brings accountability to the restaurant or other responsible party. Hopefully it will cause the food establishment to re-examine any sub-par practices in place, while at the same time compensating you for the food poisoning.
It is very important to consult with an attorney before you speak to anyone from the restaurant’s insurance company, as insurance adjusters are highly trained to protect their insureds and deflect blame. They will try to convince you that it must have been something else that you ate or that it was somehow your fault, without even having a proper investigation conducted. All that the insurance company wants is for you to go away. You need to be well prepared or your case could also go right down the toilet.
Whether or not you end up taking legal action, you should report the incident to the county health department and to the restaurant, to hopefully avoid the same thing happening to someone else. Responsible restaurant owners will want to know if someone got sick after eating food prepared in their kitchens. This hopefully prompts the restaurant to launch their own internal investigations and if necessary, change their practices or switch food vendors.
If you or a loved one believe that you were the victim of serious food poisoning, give us a call. Schedule a complimentary strategy session to determine whether or not you may benefit from taking legal action. The consultation is entirely confidential. Talk to us and you will be in a better position to decide if you would like to take legal action against the restaurant.