Can you Sue a Takeaway for Food Poisoning?
Find out how much your personal injury claim may be worth
Eating food from a takeaway is often viewed as a nice treat; however, it is not uncommon for individuals to fall victim to food poisoning. This type of poisoning often arises from poor hygiene, contaminated food, lack of refrigeration or insufficient cooking.
If you have fallen ill following a takeaway meal, you may be wondering “can you sue a takeaway for food poisoning?” Due to the pain and suffering that food poisoning can cause, any victims of it should seek legal advice. From there, they can commence a food poisoning compensation claim and help to prevent any further cases of food poisoning from the takeaway.
Can you sue a takeaway for food poisoning? Breach of Contract
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987, a food supplier (the takeaway) has entered into a contract with the purchaser. This contract would state that the food needs to be of satisfactory quality. If it is not and it has led to food poisoning, the grounds for a claim are present.
What types of food poisoning can I claim for?
If you have suffered food poisoning caused by: Giardia, E. coli, Salmonella, Norovirus Shigella, Campylobacteria, Rotavirus or Cryptosporidium, you may be entitled to claim compensation for food poisoning.
The symptoms of food poisoning can vary depending on the type of food poisoning. However, common symptoms may include nausea and vomiting. In serious cases, food poisoning may lead to long term health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, peritonitis, or kidney failure.
If you have suffered any of the above due to a lack of food safety, and can prove it effectively, the takeaway will be held to strict liability.
What is ‘strict liability’?
In food poisoning claims, a defendant will be held liable if the claimant can prove that the food was defective (contaminated) and has thus caused illness. The court will not require fault, availability, or negligence to be established. Nevertheless, it is vital that the claimant highlights a causal link between the contamination and the poisoning.
For their defence, the defendant can attempt to prove that they were unaware of the contamination when the food was supplied. They also need to show that they would not have been able to access this knowledge.
How do I start my claim?
Firstly, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. It can be extremely helpful to make a comprehensive list of all of the food that you have consumed in the past 24 hours.
Then, it is imperative to inform the Environmental Health Department and Food Standards Agency. The receipts from the takeaway should be retained to provide evidence for the sale of goods. Furthermore, you should begin to gather witness statements to support your account.
It is important to proceed with these actions swiftly after the poisoning as the claims have a time limit of three years from the date that you were made ill. In cases where the poisoning is suffered by a child, there is no time limit until they reach their eighteenth birthday.
Once all of these steps have been completed, you should contact an experienced solicitor for advice.
What is the claims process?
The process for a food poisoning from a takeaway claim will fall into the category of personal injury claims.
Therefore, when you contact the solicitor, they will need to find out certain details, such as:
· The location, time, and date of the food poisoning
· The nature of the illness
· Details of any of the witnesses that have been sought so far
· Details of the takeaway (the defendant)
Subsequent to the establishment of this information, most firms will take the matter on, on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This agreement details that if you lose the claim, you are not liable to pay any fees. However, if you win, the solicitor will take a percentage of the damages as a success fee.
The solicitor will then contact the defendant to alert them of the claim.
Then, the defendant will have set amount of time to research the claim and decide their position on liability. Whilst the defendant completes these actions, your solicitor will continue to build you case.
If the defendant accepts liability, they will make an offer and negotiations will commence. In matters where the negotiations are effective, the matter will settle swiftly.
Though, in cases where the defendant denies liability, settlement may take longer. If negotiations are unsuccessful and ADR is attempted, court proceedings may be necessary.
If your matter does require action from the court, your solicitor will work on behalf of you, whilst guiding you through every step of the process.
Damages in Food Poisoning from Takeaway Claims
The damages in these matters are separated into two categories.
General Damages – This is the compensation for pain and suffering caused by the food poisoning. Therefore, it will vary depending on the severity of the illness caused. This figure will also reflect the loss of amenity caused by the food poisoning.
Special Damages – This figure relates to any financial losses which may have been suffered due to the poisoning. For example, if you have had to take time off work or will not be able to work in the future. It will also cover costs such as medical fees and care fees, so it is vital to retain receipts.
The JC Guidelines provide a breakdown for the damages that are likely to be awarded in food poisoning claims.
They state that for severe toxicosis the award can be from £30,630 to £41,860. If the illness has been serious, but the food poisoning brief, the award is likely to be £7,600 to £15,300.
In matters where the food poisoning has caused note-worthy discomfort, the award can range from £3,150 to £7,600. Finally, if the poisoning has caused a varying degree of symptoms such as cramps, the damage can be £730 to £3,150.
As these are general guidelines, they may not 100% accurate.
Why choose Beacon Law?
As personal injury specialists, our team can provide expert advice for individuals who want to commence a claim for food poisoning. Through our hard work, we deliver excellent results for our clients and recover excellent amounts of compensation.
This can be proved via our outstanding client testimonials and our regulation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 623347).
If you have grounds for a food poisoning claim and require advice on how to proceed, please contact us at 0330 1332 857.