Can You Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can happen anywhere including a school cafeteria, local restaurant, or fast food chain. It is a common occurrence that’s hard to predict. According to the CDC, 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness each year in the United States. Many of these cases result in hospitalization, with some even becoming fatal.

Food poisoning

The scenario is all too common. You are going out for a casual meal with your family or friends. It may be a new restaurant that you are trying, or your favorite restaurant that you have had many times before. It’s not always easy to see or taste when food can make you sick. You could finish an entire entrée without knowing that anything was wrong with it. Then, hours later, it hits you.

Common Symptoms of Foodborne Illness

The most common symptoms of food poisoning are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

These symptoms often take hours, and in some cases days, to develop. Unexpected fevers reaching over 102 degrees and any combination of upset stomach and nausea should be monitored. If these occur, think back to if any recent food could have triggered it.

Lawsuits for Food Poisoning in Massachusetts

Food contamination can happen any time including when the food is produced, distributed, or prepared. Because of this, lawsuits can be tricky when it comes to foodborne illness. For example, you shouldn’t try to sue a restaurant if the food was contaminated before distribution because it is likely something that they were unaware of and could not have prevented.

If you think that the food was contaminated due to negligence from the local restaurant, school cafeteria, or fast food restaurant that you dined at, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you determine whether you have enough evidence for a strong case.

You should also contact your local board of health to report the incident, so they can track reports directed at specific restaurants in the area. This can help prevent further people from getting sick if it was due to the restaurant’s negligence.

Massachusetts Foodborne Illness Investigations

If you report an incident with foodborne illness from a restaurant, the Food and Protection Program will document this incident and conduct proper investigations if needed. Restaurants who are not following code requirements for health and safety could be at fault for a foodborne illness if the negligence could have directly impacted your incident.

All restaurants must follow health and food regulations daily, with regular inspections from the Massachusetts Health Division. If a restaurant has several reported incidents of food poisoning, they may be subject to an investigation from the MDPH Epidemology Program, which could lead to laboratory analyses to determine the causes of these clusters of incidents.

Personal Injury Cases for Foreign Objects in Food

Aside from bacterial food poisoning cases, another case is when a harmful foreign object is left in food. This could be anything from shards of glass to pieces of utensils. A common incident of foreign objects is when a restaurant serves a customer a drink in a chipped or broken glass. They may not notice that the glass is broken at first, especially when it is just a small crack or chip. However, even the smallest fragment of glass could cause serious injury to whoever consumes it.

What Determines Compensation for Food Poisoning

Food poisoning compensation includes medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In serious cases, foodborne illness could result in seeking medical attention. 128,000 people in the U.S. per year are hospitalized from foodborne illness.

To get the best possible chance at receiving compensation for your pain and suffering, contact an experienced attorney to help you determine whether you have enough evidence to support your claim. Evidence can include anything from pictures of the restaurant and food to witness statements and medical records.



The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only. Bonville & Howard assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents of the blog.

In no event shall Bonville & Howard be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence, or other tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of this blog or the contents of this blog. Bonville & Howard reserves the right to make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents of this blog at any time without prior notice.