Understanding The Personal Injury Process

How Does Negligence Factor Into a Food Poisoning Case?

When people visit a restaurant for dinner or order take out for lunch, they surely hope to enjoy their meals. Not every eatery delivers on expectations of taste and quality. Sometimes, the provided food could do more than leave a customer mildly unhappy. The person might get very sick from food poisoning and may end up in the hospital. In cases like this, the customer could end up suing the restaurant to recover damages and pain and suffering. Read on to learn more.

Restaurants, Food Preparation, and Negligence

At the core of personal injury suits are questions about negligence, a duty to act, and strict liability. When a customer suffers from food poisoning, questions arise about whether the restaurant's owners and employees were negligent. In some instances, negligence would seem highly likely. Imagine if a small serving of tuna salad spoiled, and someone made the call to mix the "old bad salad" with a fresh batch. Assuming "a little bit of bad stuff" won't do much harm could prove both entirely wrong and dangerous. Such a deliberate, intentional action might not look good in court since it appears to embrace blatant negligence.

What if the owner did not know a low-level kitchen worker made the call to mix the bad salad with the good? The owner may find him or herself liable under strict product liability statutes. The restaurant served tainted food, and the proprietor may find it difficult to escape compensating the injured person. The food preparer might be in trouble as well. The directly negligent action may lead the employee into civil court as a defendant in a civil suit.

Punitive Damages and Negligence Levels

Punitive damages seek to punish a person or entity for egregious behavior. When the restaurant owner did not know about the employee's actions, a jury will consider this fact when weighing options to award punitive damages. No one knows how a jury may react, but the possibility exists that the jury may not think significant or any punitive damages become warranted in the case. Would settling the matter seem more advisable in such instances? That type of question might come up when the plaintiff discusses the lawsuit with an attorney.

Settling with the Insurance Company

If the restaurant has a liability policy in place, a personal injury attorney could negotiate a reasonable settlement. Doing so may lead to a swift and equitable settlement and compensation for the injured party.

To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney.