Food-borne illness can lead to severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Though many who suffer from “food poisoning” recover without medical treatment, serious illness and fatalities are not unheard of.
When a food-borne illness — such as the August 2022 Michigan and Ohio outbreak of E. coli — causes severe sickness, it can have long-term impacts, including kidney disease and failure, high blood pressure and vision problems. Those who fall severely ill from contaminated foods can seek compensation from the liable party.
Linking food-borne illness and products liability laws
Ohio’s product liability laws require manufacturers and producers to protect the public and ensure their products are safe for use and consumption. Restaurants and food manufacturers must follow food safety protocols to prevent contamination and the spread of food-borne illnesses. When they do not take these necessary measures, they are liable for resultant harm.
Proving negligence in a food poisoning claim
Proving negligence in a product liability case is a complicated process, requiring in-depth investigations, evidence and legal knowledge. It is often even trickier for cases involving illness rather than physical injury, as tracking down the illness source can present challenges. Proving negligence requires substantiating evidence of four factors:
- Defendant’s legal responsibility to ensure food safety
- Failure to uphold responsibility
- Plaintiff sustained verifiable harm
- Defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff harm
If the plaintiff establishes all four factors, the individual can recover damages related to the food-borne illness.
While most people contracting food-borne illness recover within a few days, the elderly, children and those with compromised immune systems are at risk for severe disease. If they consume contaminated foods and suffer serious harm, they can seek compensation from the liable party.