If you suffer from food poisoning after eating a meal, you could be entitled to claim compensation. But how do you prove who was to blame and how you suffered? Well, that’s what we’ll look at in this article on food poisoning compensation claims. We’ll show you when you could be compensated, who you could claim against and how the claims process works.
We can help if you are thinking of starting a claim. Our team will review your claim for free and then explain your chances of success. Where your case appears strong enough, we could ask one of our personal injury solicitors to start your claim. They’ll make your claim less stressful if they accept you as a client because they’ll work on a No Win, No Fee basis. As a result, you’ll only pay for your solicitor’s work if you’re compensated. Furthermore, they won’t ask to be paid in advance.
Want to know more about your options right away? If so, why not call us on 0800 652 1345 today. Alternatively, please keep reading to learn how food poisoning claims work.
Common causes of food poisoning
You can contract food poisoning if something you’ve eaten has been contaminated by certain germs or infections. Common causes of food poisoning are when food is:
- Left out in the open for too long.
- Not cooked at the right temperature.
- Handled by somebody who failed to wash their hands.
- Not reheated correctly.
- Handled by somebody who is ill.
- Eaten after its ‘use by’ date.
- Is not stored properly i.e. it has not been frozen or chilled to the correct temperature.
All food businesses must adhere to food safety standards when preparing, handling, cooking and selling food. If they fail to do so, and you suffered food poisoning as a result, you could be entitled to compensation.
It’s important to note that food poisoning claims are not the same as allergic reaction claims or food intolerance claims. As such, we won’t focus on these scenarios in this article but could help you to claim in some cases so please feel free to contact us.
Symptoms of food poisoning
According to this NHS article, the most common symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Nausea (feeling sick).
- Vomiting (being sick).
- Stomach ache and cramps.
- A fever – where your body’s temperature is above 38C.
- Being generally unwell i.e. aches, pains, chills and tiredness.
These symptoms of food poisoning can start at any point but will usually be seen after a day or two of eating the food. In some cases, food poisoning can pass within a matter of days or weeks. However, more serious cases can result in a period of hospitalisation. Even if your initial symptoms recede, you could suffer ongoing digestive problems for many months or years to come.
Infections that cause food poisoning
There are several types of infection that can lead to food poisoning compensation claims. Some are more common than others. The list includes:
- Escherichia Coli (E. coli).
Some forms of E. coli do not cause humans any problems. However, some can lead to serious illnesses. The most common strain linked to food poisoning is E. coli 0157.
If you’re infected by campylobacter, you’re likely to make a swift recovery. However, the elderly and children under 5-years old could suffer more serious symptoms because of a weaker immune system.
- Listeria Monocytogenes (Listeria).
Food poisoning caused by listeria is quite rare. However, it can cause serious or even fatal symptoms in vulnerable groups like pregnant women, unborn babies, newborn babies and people with weakened immune systems. Foods that are ready to eat such as pate, cured meats, smoked fish, blue-veined cheeses and pre-prepared sandwiches are more likely than other foods to carry the infection.
This infection affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella food poisoning is most likely to occur through undercooking or cross-contamination. The bacteria are most likely to be found in eggs, undercooked poultry, raw meat and unpasteurised milk.
This condition is often referred to as the winter vomiting bug. While it’s mainly spread by contact with somebody who’s already contaminated, it can be spread by food as well.
Food poisoning claims could be possible if you’ve suffered because of any of the above.
Can I claim food poisoning compensation?
To claim compensation for most personal injuries, you need to show that the defendant that caused your suffering was negligent in some way. That’s not the case in food poisoning claims. Instead, the criteria you’ll need to prove to make a successful claim are that:
- The food you ate wasn’t safe; and
- You suffered from food poisoning; and
- It was the unsafe food that caused your illness.
Importantly, there is a strict liability rule relating to food poisoning compensation claims within the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Essentially, so long as you can prove that a business supplied unsafe food that made you ill, you should expect to be compensated. Proving what food made you ill is something we’ll look at as we continue.
Do you think you’re entitled to compensation for food poisoning? If so, please feel free to call and discuss your options.
How much compensation could I claim for food poisoning?
When you make claim for food poisoning compensation, you’ll have to fully justify how much you’re claiming for. First and foremost, your claim will focus on the fact that you’ve been made ill through no fault of your own. Any compensation that’s paid could also help to recover any costs or expenses you’ve incurred because of your illness too. Food poisoning compensation varies from case to case but could include payment for:
- The suffering and pain you had to endure.
- Any impact on your social life and hobbies (loss of amenity).
- Any impact on your family life.
- Earnings lost because of your illness.
- Any psychological harm.
- Care and medical costs.
It’s important to factor in all elements of your suffering as you can only make a single claim. As such, if your food poisoning claim is processed by our solicitors, everything will be reviewed fully by so that they can try and win the highest amount of compensation possible for you.
How to prove food poisoning
If you do decide to take action, you will need to prove what food poisoned you, who sold it to you and how it affected you. As such, you should try to obtain as much proof as possible. This could include:
- Receipts. To help prove where you purchased the food that made you ill, keep hold of the receipt. This could be from a supermarket, fast food outlet, restaurant, pub or café.
- Food samples. Where possible, you should preserve a sample of the food in case it needs testing later on. To do this, place it in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it.
- Medical evidence. The notes from your GP or the medical professional who treated you could help to explain a) your symptoms and b) the extent of your suffering.
- Witness information. To help clarify how you suffered, your solicitor might ask any witnesses to provide a statement.
- A diary. Finally, you may wish to diarise how you suffered because of food poisoning. It could help you to remember when you couldn’t work or participate in family and social events because of your illness.
If you contact us for a claim consultation, they’ll review your claim for free to establish whether you have enough evidence to proceed. If they believe you do, they could connect you with one of our No Win, No Fee personal injury lawyers.
Steps to take following food poisoning
There are some important steps to take if you believe you’re suffering from food poisoning and can help in proving your claim:
- Seek medical assistance. You may wish to call NHS 111 in the first instance. If necessary, they may advise you to visit a GP or minor injuries unit for treatment.
- Do not go to work or school. You should stay at home for 48 hours so that you don’t affect others. It’s worth checking what policies apply at your school or workplace.
- Write down everything you’ve eaten. Try to list everything you’ve consumed in the past 24 hours.
- Inform the environmental health department in your area. They will keep a record of all reports and may investigate. Their report could be useful if it confirms that dangerous bacteria were found or unsafe hygiene practices were being followed.
Food poisoning claims time limits
Personal injury claims, including those relating to food poisoning, have a 3-year limitation period. This will commence from either:
- The date you ate the unsafe food; or
- From when your illness was diagnosed.
To establish who was responsible for your illness, your solicitor will need to gather evidence and medical reports. We’d suggest strongly that you begin your claim for food poisoning compensation sooner rather than later. This will also make it easier for you to recall all of the facts relating to the claim.
If a child is made ill by food poisoning, the 3-year time limit does not apply. Parents, guardians or family members can claim on their behalf. This can happen at any time as long as the claim begins before the child’s 18th birthday.
To check how long you have left to start a food poisoning claim, please call our team today.
No Win, No Fee food poisoning claims
We believe that you have a better chance of being compensated following food poisoning if you have a specialist solicitor representing you. However, we also know that some potential claimants are worried about paying solicitors’ fees and then losing their claim. As a result, we’re happy to say that our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for any food poisoning claim they accept.
At the start of the claims process, the solicitor will review the merits of your case with you. If they believe they can win compensation for you, and you’re happy to proceed, they’ll send you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is the type of contract our solicitors use to fund No Win, No Fee cases.
The CFA will clearly explain that you do not need to pay any solicitors fees in advance. Also, it will be clear that you won’t pay your solicitor if the claim fails. In fact, the only time you’ll pay your solicitor is if you are compensated.
In this case, you’ll pay a success fee to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work. In the CFA, the success fee will be set out as a percentage of your compensation. You’ll need to confirm how much you’ll pay but, by law, the most that can be deducted as a success fee when using a CFA is 25% of your settlement amount.
If you’d like us to check if you could be compensated for suffering caused by food poisoning, please contact our advisors today.
Start a claim for food poisoning compensation today
We hope that this article about food poisoning compensation claims has helped. If you are thinking of taking action, we are ready to help. Please call our team on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like us to review your chances for free.
If your claim is accepted, you’ll benefit from the skills and experience of one of our specialist solicitors. To try and ensure you’re paid a fair amount of compensation, they will:
- Review the details of your claim in full with you.
- Gather evidence to help prove your case.
- Arrange for a local independent medical assessment.
- Send the claim to the defendant.
- Handle all communication on your behalf.
- Attempt to counter any objections or arguments raised by the defendant or their insurers.
- Keep you up to date throughout so that you know how your case is progressing.
Importantly, if a settlement offer is thought to be undervalued, your solicitor will fight your corner to try and negotiate a fairer amount.
Thank you for reading this article on food poisoning compensation claims, and if you’ve any questions please contact us via live chat to speak to an advisor.