Although there are hundreds of government regulations designed to make food safe to consume, about 4 million people in Canada still contract food-borne illnesses each year. Sometimes those illnesses are caused by food storage and preparation in the home, but a good percentage are also due to the consumption of tainted food served in restaurants. While you can sue for damages sustained from eating contaminated food in these establishments, proving your case can be challenging. Here's what you need to do to prevail in court.
Determine the Source of the Contaminated Food
There are a few reasons why laying blame on a restaurant for food poisoning is difficult. First, people consume a variety of foods and drinks during the day, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what it was that caused the illness. The donuts you had for breakfast are as likely a suspect as the steak you had for dinner at your favorite restaurant.
This ties into the second issue: timing. There are approximately 30 food-borne pathogens and not all of them cause the same symptoms or strike at the same time. Some pathogens cause immediate illness. Others incubate in the body for awhile before inducing sickness. For instance, it can take up to two days before a person starts showing signs of salmonella poisoning.
If you suspect your illness is caused by food poisoning, make a list of everything you ate within the last few days. You'll also want to follow up with anyone who ate at the same restaurant to determine if they fell ill too. It's easier to prove the restaurant is the source if more than one person is affected.
Identify the Pathogen
When you start feeling sick, it's essential that you see your doctor right away. Tell your healthcare provider that you suspect you have food poisoning. The doctor will take a stool sample and have it tested for known pathogens. This is a critical piece of evidence that can be used to prove your claim. This is particularly true if other people who were also sickened by food at the restaurant test positive for the same pathogen.
Establish Your Damages
While you may have a solid case against a restaurant for food poisoning, you still need to establish that you were sufficiently injured by the incident to warrant being awarded damages. Suffering from gastrointestinal distress for one day may not be enough to convince a judge to rule in your favor or may, instead, result in a judgment too small to justify the cost of going to court.
On the other hand, if you were hospitalized and missed time from work, then you may have a viable case for damages. It's best to connect with a personal injury attorney such as ICBC Lawyers Yearwood & Company who can provide the guidance necessary to make the best decisions for your case.Share
30 December 2014
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