If you’ve suffered food poisoning as a result of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to make a no win no fee food poisoning claim.
It’s tempting to dismiss the idea of food poisoning as being something fairly trivial, which might only cause some stomach ache and nausea for a couple of days. Indeed, most cases do pass after a few days and without treatment, but taking the issue lightly would be a mistake.
Depending upon the type of food poisoning concerned and the general health of the person suffering, it can go on to cause symptoms as serious as dehydration, fever, damage to the nervous system, paralysis or even death. Whilst such serious cases may, thankfully, be fairly rare, they still serve to underline the bond of trust which has been broken if a retailer serves goods which go on to cause food poisoning.
If you’ve suffered food poisoning, you could be eligible to claim compensation. To find out more, call 0800 234 6438 today and speak with a trained legal advisor. They’ll be able to guide you better and explain the claims process. If they feel you have a claim to make, they’ll partner you with specialist personal injury solicitors who will take on your case on a no win no fee basis.
When you go to a restaurant, café, bar, hotel or any other kind of establishment which serves food you accept that you might not always end up eating something which is of Michelin Star status. What you do expect, however, is that the food, however unimpressive it might be, will at least be safe to eat.
If this isn’t the case, and the food or drink you consume results in you developing food poisoning, then you may well have the right to claim compensation.
The legislation which covers this area is the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The law states that any food retailer has to provide food which is free from harmful bacteria, and that if it can be proved that they failed to do so then they face a ‘strict liability’. What this means is that the retailer will be judged, in law, to be liable (i.e. to blame) for your food poisoning even if it can’t be demonstrated that they did anything demonstrably wrong in the preparation of the food.
The mere presence of harmful bacteria, no matter how it came to be there, will usually be enough to make a successful case for negligence and thus compensation. In most cases, the bacteria will in fact be present because the food has not been stored, prepared or cooked properly. The people against whom such a claim can be made include food outlets, the producers of the food, or an importer of any food from outside the UK or EU.
Whilst you may never find out exactly why a particular item of contaminated food went on to cause food poisoning, there are certain practices which are closely linked to the problem. In order to protect yourself as much as possible when eating suspect food prepared by a third party, look out for the following:
Foods which are more likely to cause food poisoning if they are not stored, handled or cooked properly include:
The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin to take effect one or two days after the food has been eaten, although it may be as quickly as a few hours or as long as several weeks, depending upon the precise nature of the bacteria in question.
The most common symptoms to present in a case of food poisoning are the following:
Different types of food poisoning, some more serious than others, include norovirus, listeria, Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella and botulism.
The onset of food poisoning symptoms can occur anywhere from a few hours to several days after eating food that’s contaminated, depending on the cause and the severity of the illness. On average, symptoms usually develop within 6-48 hours.
The timing of symptoms can vary based on several factors such as the type of bacteria or virus causing the food poisoning, the amount consumed, and the person’s individual tolerance and immune system. Some foodborne illnesses like Salmonella can take 12 to 72 hours to incubate, while others like norovirus can cause symptoms within just a few hours.
It’s also important to note that not everyone who ingests contaminated food will develop symptoms, and some may only experience mild symptoms while others may have severe and life-threatening illnesses.
Any claim for compensation following a case of food poisoning will be made on the basis of the pain and suffering caused by the food poisoning, and any money lost through immediate expenses such as medical fees, and the loss of earnings if you need to take time off work.
A successful food poisoning claim will consist of demonstrating that you were in fact suffering from food poisoning, and that this was caused by the food or drink supplied or prepared by a specific retailer or food outlet.
Proving that you have been suffering food poisoning will involve seeking independent medical advice, and the sooner you do so after developing symptoms, the better. Not only will this prevent your condition worsening, but it will start to build the body of evidence required to make a successful claim.
In some cases, multiple people are affected by food poisoning, as was the case in 2012, when the ocean liner Dawn Princess was hit by the norovirus, leaving 114 passengers and 11 crew members stricken with food poisoning. In a case such as this, establishing blame will be relatively simple, but if you’re alone in being affected then it’s vital to gather as much evidence as possible.
As soon as you realise you’re suffering from food poisoning, contact your local Environmental Health Department, the arm of a local authority responsible for policing food safety and hygiene issues. The contact details for your local officer can be found at https://www.food.gov.uk/about-us/local-authorities
Other pieces of evidence which might prove invaluable when seeking food poisoning compensation payout include:
The evidence you provide, allied to any gathered under the statutory powers of an Environmental Health Officer, will be used to when claiming compensation of which, under the latest legislation you will be allowed to keep a minimum of 75%, having had to pay nothing up front.
Cases of severe food poisoning which occur when you’re abroad can form the basis of a compensation claim, but such cases are often more complex. Things are simpler if your holiday was a package deal booked through a tour operator. If this is the case, then your compensation claim will be made against the relevant operator, and evidence you should keep will include:
If your holiday wasn’t booked through a tour operator then the situation may be more complicated. In particular, many tourists book via a travel agent, assuming this constitutes a package tour, only to discover that the different elements of their holiday – travel, accommodation etc. – were actually booked as separate features.
It may still be possible to pursue a food poisoning claim against an individual hotel or restaurant, but legal advice is imperative since the law around environmental health and the time limits for making such a claim tend to differ from country to country.
If you feel you’ve been affected by food poisoning whilst abroad, gather as much evidence as possible and present it to an expert injury solicitor, together with the contractual details of your holiday deal. Working on your food poisoning case on a no win no fee basis, they will offer expert advice as to whether there is a viable claim to pursue.
Find out more about claiming holiday accident compensation.
Compensation for food poisoning typically covers the costs associated with the illness, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the severity of your illness, the cause of the food contamination, and the impact on your daily life.
The average settlement for food poisoning in the UK can range from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands, depending on the severity of the illness and the amount of compensation being claimed. In severe cases, such as those involving long-term health complications, compensation may be higher.
It is important to consult a personal injury lawyer if you are considering pursuing compensation for food poisoning, as they can help you understand your legal rights and options and guide you through the process.
They’ll also ensure you receive all the damages you’re owed, including special and general damages.
Special damages refer to specific, quantifiable losses that can be easily calculated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the food poisoning. These damages are meant to cover the actual financial losses and costs related to the incident.
General damages, on the other hand, refer to compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more subjective in nature and do not have a clear value.
Both special and general damages may be included in a food poisoning compensation claim, and the amount awarded will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the illness, the impact on your daily life, and other relevant factors.
To find out more about claiming compensation for food poisoning, or to learn about the claims process, call 0800 234 6438 today for free and speak with a trained legal advisor. They’ll provide you with free, impartial advice about claiming compensation for food poisoning, and they’ll never pressure you into making a claim. You have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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