What Can You Do If You Get Food Poisoning?
The Law Of… Surviving Food Poisoning
Outbreaks of food poisoning, caused by bugs such as the potentially fatal E. coli, regularly appear in the news, with everything from inadequately cooked meat to unwashed salad produce being cited as a cause. Often, the reason for the outbreak is a result of third party negligence.
Personal Injury Claims Associate, Jonathan Thursby, looks at what you can do if you are struck down by a bout of food poisoning.
What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is caused by contamination of edible products, which can occur at any stage during production, processing or cooking.
It can be extremely debilitating and potentially fatal, with possible symptoms including bloody diarrhoea and painful stomach cramps. Hospitalisation can arise from more serious strains of food poisoning, such as E. coli, and it is recommended that all food is cooked properly, with produce that can be eaten raw, such as vegetables and fruit, washed thoroughly, before consuming.
Cases Of Food Poisoning Due To Negligence
Food poisoning cases in the UK are a needlessly regular occurrence and often the result of third party negligence. Notable cases include:
- A pub manager and her chef, who were jailed in 2015 after a Christmas dinner eaten at their establishment killed a mother-of-one and left a further 33 diners ill
- A line of fish products recalled due to a risk of infection by a toxin that causes botulism
- Celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal, temporarily closing 2 restaurants – one in 2009 and one in 2014 – due to norovirus contamination
- A norovirus outbreak on a P&O cruise liner in 2012, which laid low 500 passengers.
Making A Personal Injury Claim For Food Poisoning
In cases where the source of food poisoning can be identified, you are entitled to make a personal injury claim against the pub, restaurant, shop or person that provided the contaminated food.
Compensation rates vary depending upon the severity of the symptoms but you can expect between £770 and £3,300 for cases restricted to diarrhoea and stomach cramps. This can rise to £32,000 and upwards where permanent disability results.
For people suffering ongoing conditions as a result of food poisoning, such as IBS or incontinence, there can be associated psychiatric symptoms which can be claimed for, along with financial assistance for any recommended treatment or support.
Loss of earnings can also be factored into a final settlement.
Jonathan Thursby says:
"If you think you've been poisoned as a result of contaminated food, you should always contact your GP or another health professional to get a qualified assessment of your condition. A stool sample, collected as soon as possible, can be tested to obtain an accurate diagnosis."
"If you are still in possession of the product you believe to have caused the food poisoning, you should retain it as evidence and report it to both your local Environmental Health Department and to the establishment it was purchased from."
"Although you probably won't feel like it at the time, you should try and list everything you have eaten over the previous 48 hours and contact anybody you ate with to see if they have similar symptoms."
"This will help your case if your claim goes to court."