Wrongful Death From Food Poisoning: 5 Things To Know

What was your lunch yesterday? Oh, is it your favorite rib-eye steak with mushroom au jus and herbed marble potatoes on the side? Whatever it is, if you’re feeling sick because of it, that may be a sign of food poisoning. So, what is food poisoning?

Food poisoning occurs when someone has eaten food that is not safe for consumption as it may be expired or contaminated. Food contamination may be due to physical, biological, and chemical factors.

Common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, a food-borne illness could land you in a hospital, resulting in high medical costs. If this happens to you, you could file a claim against the restaurant, food supplier, or even the distributor.
In extreme cases, however, food poisoning could be fatal. Fortunately, wrongful death due to food poisoning is quite rare. But if this happens to your loved one, do you know what to do?
Here are some things you need to know about death due to food poisoning and what you should do. But if you require in-depth information, you may visit this recommended site.

1. When Is A Food Establishment Liable?

A restaurant or any food establishment may be held liable for wrongful death if all three elements are present:
  • Duty of Care: The restaurant owed the victim a duty of care in that it should provide its customers quality service without causing harm.
  • Negligence: If proper food safety guidelines were not observed, then the restaurant may be negligent.
  • Causation: There’s substantial evidence proving that the restaurant’s negligence is a prime factor in causing harm to the victim.
If the above elements could be established, then you may file a case for wrongful death.

2. What Are The Common Causes of Food-Borne Illnesses?

According to experts, these are the most common causes of food-borne illnesses anyone may get from contaminated food:
  • E. coli: a coliform usually found in fecal matter
  • Campylobacter: a bacterium that may be found in raw or undercooked poultry
  • Cryptosporidium: a parasite that could not be easily killed by heat
  • Salmonella: another bacterium that may be found in chicken and eggs
  • Botulism: caused by Clostridium botulinum, which is usually found in bulging canned goods
  • Shigellosis: caused by a bacterium called shigella that may be found in seafood
  • Staphylococcus aureus: a bacterium transmitted through coughing, sneezing, or hand contact
These are the possible causes of food poisoning. A medical professional may be able to determine the exact cause of food-borne illness through a series of tests.

3. Who Can File For A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In most states, only the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or estate administrator may file a wrongful death suit. Other relatives such as siblings, uncles, aunts, or grandparents do not have the legal right to file such a case.

4. What Are The Damages You Can Recover?

You may file for wrongful death damages and punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Damages

This category of damages includes the following:
  • Pre-death costs, also known as survival claims, such as medical treatment costs incurred due to illness
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Emotional anguish of surviving family
  • Loss of wages or financial contribution
  • Lost prospect of inheritance
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of companionship

Punitive Damages

Awarding punitive damages is rare when it comes to wrongful death due to food poisoning. However, if it’s proven that the establishment or its team member has blatantly violated food safety standards and regulations, this could result in punitive claims.
In principle, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant due to reckless or grossly negligent conduct. They are also intended to prevent others from committing similar acts.

5. What If The Restaurant Asks You To Sign Something?

If the restaurant owners want to apologize, then let them. But be wary if they ask you to sign any document. If this happens, you should immediately inform your lawyer about it. This may prevent you from recovering damages, so beware of it.

Final Words

There are no words to describe the pain caused by the wrongful death of a loved one. This could cause anyone to wallow in despair, instead of seeking legal ways to redress this horrible injustice.
The insights offered above could guide you if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation. It is not all about recovering damages but seeking justice for something that should not have happened in the first place, and ensuring that important lessons are learned to prevent wrongful death from food poisoning. 

Do You Need An Attorney?

If so, post a short summary of your legal needs to our site and let attorneys submit applications to fulfill those needs. No time wasted, no hassle, no confusion, no cost.

Posted - 12/07/2021