Products Liability


It Must Be the Food

  • Nov 29 2013
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that food poisoning causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths every year. Consumers who suffer foodborne illnesses may be able to bring legal actions against the responsible parties for their failure to prepare, store or serve the food safely. While most cases of food poisoning cause minor health concerns, extreme situations can cause severe illnesses and even death.

Pick your theory

Lawsuits claiming food poisoning usually are brought as products liability claims because the food that injured you was defective. The three legal theories under which you may bring a products liability suit for food poisoning include:

  1. Strict liability — You only need to show that the food you ate was contaminated and that it caused your illness.
  2. Negligence — You may also argue that manufacturers or suppliers of the food that caused your sickness acted negligently or that they were not reasonably careful in their making and handling of the food.
  3. Breach of warranty — The contamination of the food that injures you violated an implied warranty that the food product would be safe, or in cases in which a label professed the food’s safety, the food may have violated an express warranty.

California recognizes strict liability in products liability cases.

Proving food poisoning

The California Retail Food Code legislates that food must be prepared and stored in a safe manner that’s free from contamination. Proving your claim of food poisoning is often difficult because of time delays between the eating and the illness. To succeed, you must prove that the food was contaminated and the contamination made you ill. Proving that the food was contaminated may be accomplished by presenting others who fell ill because of the food or by a government health agency reporting an outbreak of food poisoning. Showing that the contamination caused your illness is best achieved through stool samples containing the disease-causing microbes.

Products liability cases usually involve intensive investigation and research by an experienced California products liability lawyer. Call our office to schedule a consultation if you think that you have been the victim of food poisoning.

Free Initial Consultation