Food Poisoning Compensation Claims
The truth is that food poisoning can be extremely uncomfortable in even its mildest form, where sickness and diarrhoea last for only a few days. At the other end of the spectrum, it can cause very serious long-term illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In worst- case scenarios, food poisoning can cause death.
With an estimated 2.4 million cases of food poisoning every year, it is far from being an uncommon illness.
Food poisoning is something that should be capable of being prevented. It comes down to maintaining good food hygiene standards. That’s why if you have suffered from food poisoning that was caused by eating food from a café, restaurant, shop, hotel, pub or other food outlets, then you have every right to make a No Win No Fee personal injury compensation claim (and you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so!)
At Mooneerams solicitors in Cardiff, we have been helping people to make successful food poisoning claims for many years. Call us on 029 2048 37615 if you think you may have a possible food poisoning claim and would like advice from of our experienced personal injury solicitors.
What is food poisoning and how is it caused?
Food poisoning is caused by eating food which has been contaminated by germs or toxins, such as bacteria, viruses or parasites. As a result, the lining of the intestines gets poisoned.
The cause of food poisoning is almost always poor food hygiene standards, such as:
- Food not being cooked or reheated properly (or being re-heated when it shouldn’t be)
- Food not being stored correctly
- Mixing raw and cooked meat together
- Food being handled by people who haven’t washed their hands properly – chefs, kitchen staff etc
- Eating food that is past its ‘sell-by date’
- Food that has been left out for too long
- Dirty food preparation area
It may not be obvious that the food is poisoned whilst it is being eaten. It can take anything from 6 to 48 hours for the symptoms of food poisoning to manifest themselves (which is why it can sometimes be difficult to trace the cause of the illness).
The symptoms of food poisoning can be a mixture of some of the following:
- feeling sick
- cramps pains in the stomach
- a high temperature of 38C or above
- dry mouth
- feeling generally unwell
The types of bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause food poisoning include:
How Serious is food poisoning?
Most instances of food poisoning will usually clear up within a few days to a week from when symptoms start. However, poisoning through e.coli (bacteria found in the intestines of animals) and listeria (bacteria that grows in cold temperatures, such as in the fridge) can be serious. In 2019, five people died after eating sandwiches which contained listeria. The sandwiches had been purchased form the in-house shops contained in two NHS Hospitals.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a serious gastrointestinal disorder and it can be caused by food poisoning. For those who already suffer from this long-term stomach illness, food poisoning can exacerbate existing IBS.
How do I make a food poisoning compensation claim?
If you have suffered food poisoning and you have been made ill as a result, then you may be able to make a food poisoning claim. You can bring a claim for food poisoning compensation against a restaurant, pub, coffee shop, café, sandwich shop, deli, burger van owner – in fact from any establishment that provided you with food that turns out to have been contaminated and which made you ill after you ate it.
As mentioned previously, because the effects of food poisoning don’t always start to make you feel ill for some time after you have eaten the bad food, it may seem difficult to identify the source of the contamination. It’s a good idea to write down all the potential places that you have been and what you have eaten – when and where.
Visit your GP to get tested as to the cause of the food poisoning by providing a stool specimen, if necessary. By visiting your doctor, you will also be getting it documented that you went to see your GP for treatment. Details of what illness was diagnosed and any treatment that was provided can later be made available upon request by your solicitor.
If you think you know where you ate the food that made you ill and you went to the establishment with other people at the time, check to see if any of them have become ill, too. If they did, ensure you have all their contact details. Social media may be helpful in making enquiry as to whether anyone else was ill as a result of visiting the eatery or shop that you believe provided you with contaminated food, on the date in question.
The most important step that you can take is to contact a specialist personal injury solicitor and one that has already previously successfully made food poisoning claims on behalf of clients.
At Mooneerams solicitors we are expert personal injury claim solicitors. We have recovered thousands of pounds in compensation on behalf of clients who have suffered food poisoning.
If you have suffered food poisoning and are thinking of making a claim for compensation, why not call us now on 029 2048 3625.
You will be able to speak to a solicitor who will discuss your potential food poisoning claim with you and give you legal advice on whether you have a reasonable chance of recovering compensation if you make a claim.
This call will be entirely free and if we think you have reasonable prospects of making a successful claim and you decide you’d like us to help you make a claim, then in most cases, we’ll be able to take your claim on using a No Win, No Fee agreement. That means that if the claim isn’t successful, you won’t have anything to pay.
How do I prove someone is to blame for causing me to have food poisoning?
If you decide you’d like Mooneerams to act for you in pursuing a food poisoning claim on your behalf, then we’ll make contact with the establishment that you believe was responsible for your food poisoning.
Once we have been able to confirm that you got food poisoning at a particular venue, be that restaurant, pub, café, shop or whoever, by eating contaminated food that they provided to you, then your claim can be proved in one of the following ways:
- By proving that the owners of the restaurant (or other type of food retailer) were negligent. In other words, the restaurant owners owed to you a duty of care to provide you with food that would not make you ill. By serving you food that was contaminated in some way, they were in breach of that duty of care and have been negligent.
- By using the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA). By being able to establish the particular food outlet as the source of the contaminated food that you ate, then due to what is known as ‘strict liability’ under the terms of the CPA, the restaurant owners will be liable to you if you take out a food poisoning compensation claim against them.
What can I claim Food Poisoning compensation for?
You will be able to claim damages (compensation) for the pain and suffering you experience whilst you are ill.
You will also be able to recover compensation for any strictly financial losses that you have incurred, such as:
- Loss of earnings
- Medical treatment expenses (keep your receipts)
- Travel expenses
What if I have a food allergy reaction?
Some people have allergies that are set off by eating certain types of food. The most common allergies of this kind are to:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
Before you buy food, whether that be from a restaurant, café or shop etc, you must be provided with clear information as to any possible allergenic products within that food. This is a requirement of various food regulations, the breach of which can render the vendor of the food liable to face penalties under both civil and criminal law.
In a nutshell, if you were to buy and eat food which triggered an allergic reaction and you had not been clearly informed beforehand that the food contained items to which you were allergic, then you may well be able to make a claim for compensation.
Can I still make a claim for food poisoning that happened whilst on holiday abroad?
Yes, you can. If you become ill through eating contaminated food whilst on a package holiday, then you can still make a holiday sickness claim for food poisoning compensation.
To be able to make a holiday sickness claim through Mooneerams solicitors, you must have become ill whilst on a package holiday. By ‘package holiday’ we mean that the accommodation and flights were booked together as a ‘package.’
How long have I got to make a claim for food poisoning?
In general, you have up to 3 years from the date that you ate the contaminated food that caused your illness, within which to make a claim.
In some cases, you might have slightly longer in which to start your claim. That would be if you only became aware some weeks later, that your gastric illness, was as a result of food poisoning – for instance, if you only received a diagnosis from a doctor sometime after the event. In that case, the time limit for making a claim would be within 3 years of ‘knowing’ that you had food poisoning i.e. the date your doctor informed you of the diagnosis.
It’s best to start a claim as soon as possible. For one, the matter is still fresh in your mind, any witnesses and the other side’s as well e.g. the restaurant, café or other food retail outlet, that was responsible for your food poisoning. Also, claims that have to be rushed because the end of the 3-year period (known as ‘limitation’), run the risk of mistakes being made. Get your claim in as early as possible!
You can contact Mooneerams by phone on 029 2048 3615, by email at [email protected] or by leaving your details in the contact form on this page, so that we can call you.