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Posted in Food Policy on April 28, 2023
Negligence is a crucial factor in food poisoning cases. It is a legal term that refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. In the context of food poisoning cases, negligence can occur at any stage of the food supply chain, from food production to food service. If the plaintiff (victim) in a food poisoning case can prove the defendant’s negligence caused their harm, then the defendant (at-fault party) can be held liable. Doing so requires establishing four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Food suppliers have a duty to ensure that the food they provide is safe for consumption. This duty of care applies to all parties involved in the food supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants. Therefore, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was responsible for preparing, handling, or distributing the food that caused their illness to establish that a duty of care was owed.
A breach of duty of care in a food poisoning case occurs when a person or entity responsible for food preparation, handling, or distribution fails to take reasonable steps to ensure that the food is safe and free from harmful pathogens or toxins. Here are some examples of breach of duty of care in food poisoning cases:
Causation refers to the link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s harm. Once a breach of duty has been identified, it is necessary to establish a causal link between the breach and the plaintiff’s illness. This may involve demonstrating that the plaintiff consumed the contaminated food and that the illness was caused by the specific pathogen or toxin found in the food.
Proving damages in a food poisoning case involves demonstrating that the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing. The damages can include economic damages such as medical expenses and lost income, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Medical records are crucial evidence in proving damages to establish the extent of the plaintiff’s harm, along with bills, a record of lost income, testimony from friends and family on how your life has been impacted, and expert testing to establish causation and the extent of your suffering.
If negligence is proven in a food poisoning case, the plaintiff can recover compensation for their losses and hold the defendant accountable for their actions. This can help promote better food safety practices and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. If you or a loved one became sick after ingesting contaminated food, speak with an experienced food poisoning lawyer.