Restaurant dining out

Can I Sue If A Restaurant Makes Me Sick?

Can you really sue a restaurant that made you ill? The reality is that it is not quite as easy to sue a restaurant as you may think. Some scammers have “getting free meals” out of restaurants down to a science by bringing health hazards that could get the restaurant shut down by the department of health. But to actually sue a restaurant because you had been exposed to a disease is extremely difficult.

Most restaurants, before they can get to the point of making people sick, are shut down for the very health violations that can cause major diseases. But there are those restaurants that can sometimes get overwhelmed with customers for a night and allow safety and customer health to slide a little.

Can you sue a restaurant if you get sick after eating there? Remember that in a personal injury lawsuit, you have to prove that it was negligence that caused your illness. That is not always easy to prove.

The Conditions Surrounding Suing A RestaurantRestaurant dining out

It is not unusual for restaurants to have off nights when it comes to safe and sanitary conditions, and that could lead to food poisoning or some other type of food-related illness. If you think that the restaurant you ate at made you sick and you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, then you need to consider the fact that:

  • Your suit has to be filed before the statute of limitations runs out (in New York State that can mean anywhere from one to two years after the event – check with an attorney to get an exact time frame).
  • The burden of proof is on you to prove that it was the restaurant’s food that made you sick and not something else.
  • You have to prove that the restaurant served you food that was contaminated due to the restaurant’s processes and not before the food got to the restaurant.

A good example of the process of suing a restaurant comes from a Bronx, NY establishment called New Hawaii Sea Restaurant. The restaurant was accused of allowing the spread of Hepatitis A to its customers in September 2013 and the ensuing contamination caused several people to get sick. The victims filed a class action lawsuit against the restaurant and won with each victim being allowed to collect their portion of $200,000.

Burden Of Proof With This Type Of Lawsuit

The burden of proof is difficult in a personal injury case against a restaurant, that is why you should think about the situation before you actually move forward with your case.

  • Is the lawsuit really worth the investment of your time that it will take to see it through to the end?
  • Be sure you sue the right person. For example, suing the McDonald’s Corporation because you feel you got food poisoning from one of their franchises is not going to be a successful venture.
  • Was your resulting illness really worth a lawsuit? If there was permanent damage as a result of food poisoning, then you may want to pursue the case. But if all that happened was you were laid up in bed for a couple of days, then that lawsuit may not be worth it.

Other Types Of Food Related Lawsuits

The bottom line is that yes you can try to sue a restaurant over severe food poisoning, but there are other reasons to sue a restaurant that you should be aware of as well. If a restaurant uses peanuts or peanut oil in its recipes without warning the public and you have a peanut allergy, then that could be a legitimate lawsuit. If a dish is served in a way that causes hot liquids or food to spill on you leaving a permanent scar, then that is also a possible personal injury lawsuit.

Management issues can also cause problems that could result in a personal injury lawsuit against a restaurant. Sink hand washingWhen employees do not follow instructions when it comes to washing their hands and handling food, then any kind of disease those employees are carrying could be passed on to customers. When employees have open cuts or other obvious injuries and are still allowed to handle food, then that is bad management that could result in a lawsuit.

When you head out for a nice evening meal, the last thing on your mind is suing the restaurant because you got sick. But if you do get ill from eating at a restaurant, then you should never hesitate to protect your rights by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

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