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Food Poisoning Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Posted in Food Safety on June 29, 2022

It is possible to sue for food poisoning, but the settlement amounts can widely vary. Each case is different, and its worth will be dependent on unique facts. Here are some examples.


Twelve co-workers in Connecticut became violently ill after eating a catered lunch from a local restaurant. No one suffered long-term complications, but the caterer was found liable and settled for $370,000. Divided amongst the workers, that is approximately $30,000 each.


After eating food contaminated with E. coli, a Michigan man became severely ill and experienced acute renal failure and hypotension. As a result, he almost died.

$1.4 Million

Fifty-five people were infected with Salmonella poisoning after drinking contaminated orange juice manufactured by Sun Orchard, Inc.

$27 Million

Meat products contaminated with listeria caused an outbreak, affecting thousands and killing 20 people. A Canadian food distributor called Maple Leaf Foods paid close to $27 million in a settlement. The families of the victims who died received six-figure payments, and those who were ill were able to recover up to $125,000 in compensation.

$50 Million

Jack in the Box settled individual and class-action lawsuits in settlements totaling over $50 million over an E. coli outbreak. Hundreds of people in California, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada were infected by recalled hamburger patties. Of those infected, most of the victims who suffered the most severe symptoms were children, of which four lost their lives.

Confidential Settlement

A class-action lawsuit was filed against ConAgra after a major outbreak caused by a batch of peanut butter contaminated with salmonella. Hundreds were impacted, and the company settled for a confidential settlement amount. Defendants (at-fault parties) typically insist on a confidentiality clause to protect themselves from further litigation. By hiding the agreement’s details, it reduces the chances of other parties considering filing suit.

Factors that Affect a Food Poisoning Lawsuit’s Value

Several factors can either increase or decrease your potential settlement value in a food poisoning lawsuit. For example:

  • The severity of your illness. In the majority of food poisoning cases, victims begin feeling better hours or a few days after symptoms start. However, if you suffer severe medical complications and symptoms that last for weeks or longer, it can significantly increase your claim’s value.
  • How your life has been impacted and if you will experience any permanent physical effects due to your injuries.
  • How much income you have lost from being unable to work and are expected to lose in the future because of your illness.
  • The expected length of your recovery.
  • Whether you will need ongoing medical care, adaptive medical equipment, or home modifications.
  • The defendant’s degree of negligence.
  • The strength of evidence against the defendant, and whether there is any evidence that you were to blame.

Typically the most challenging element in the success of a food poisoning lawsuit is proving causation. In other words, the defendant was responsible for your illness and that it could not have come from other sources. Causation can be much easier to establish when there are multiple complaints or an outbreak. If you are curious to learn more, speak with an experienced food safety attorney today.