If you’ve ever experienced the misery of food poisoning, you’ll appreciate that it’s an utterly unpleasant occurrence with effects that can really drag on.
Food poisoning can be extremely difficult to prove, but if you’ve suffered as the result of another party’s negligence of failure to provide safe food products, you could be able to make a claim for compensation.
Here’s a look at the relevant factors for any claim for food poisoning.
Common causes of food poisoning
One of the difficulties with food poisoning is being able to determine the exact cause of the food poisoning which can be tricky if you’ve eaten at several different establishments, or used produce from them.
It can be easier to determine if you’re not the only person affected so if any of your fellow diners were similarly affected, it might be easier to join forces.
There are lots of different causes for food poisoning but some of the most common include:
- poor hygiene
- food not being properly cooked
- inappropriate storage of food products
What the law says
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 addresses the issue of food poisoning and specifically the obligations of any party who is selling food products.
Food producers, importers and providers can all be sued for providing food products which weren’t safe for human consumption. This includes shops, restaurants and supermarkets that choose to sell food under their own label.
The law stipulates that all food products being sold must not contain any form of bacteria which have the potential to cause food poisoning. Unlike in other areas of the law, you do not need to demonstrate negligence, simply that the following events took place:
- the food was unsafe for consumption because it contained harmful bacteria
- you were ill as a result of the consumption
- the illness was directly caused by the food products
Can I claim if I cooked it myself?
You might be under the impression that if you do the cooking yourself you won’t be able to make a claim for food poisoning, but if someone else was responsible for providing ingredients or supplies you could be entitled to compensation.
If a shop or supplier sold you products that were not fit for human consumption, and you became ill as a result, you may be eligible to claim compensation. This principle applies even if you were the person who cooked the food for consumption.
What to do next
If you think you have suffered food poisoning it’s essential to try and get some evidence to show what’s happened. Seeking medical attention in the first instance is vital; this can help to gather valuable information about your illness.
If you still have any portion of the food you believe caused your illness, don’t throw it away. Wrap it up and retain the packaging; make sure there’s no chance it can contaminate other food. Freezing it is a good idea as this will preserve it intact.
Keep all receipts for purchases or from the restaurant as they will be required in the event of a claim.
Call the local Environmental Health Department straight away; they are responsible for investigating any allegations of food poisoning.
Making a claim for food poisoning isn’t the easiest type of claim to prove so it’s essential to get expert legal advice as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you of the evidence you need and the likelihood of being able to pursue your case.