Last week Whole foods began recalling Assorted Cookie Platters because the cookies contained trace amounts of nuts that were not declared on the packaging. Stores in several states including Nevada were selling the platters. In case you or someone in your family has nut allergies, please make sure you do not have any of these platters in your home. They were packaged in large plastic containers with black trays and have been sold at Whole Foods stores since November 24th. The presence of nut allergens was discovered when one person reported an illness.
As you may know, nut allergies can be especially dangerous–and even life-threatening–depending on the person and the amount of nuts he ingests. Though not all food poisoning cases are as serious, they are very common, and many times these illnesses necessitate personal injury lawsuits. If you have recently suffered a food-related illness from a food product or restaurant, you should get in touch with our personal injury and product liability teams at Bighorn Law. We can help you determine if you have a strong case, and then we will walk you through the process to get adequate compensation.
Liability in a Food Poisoning Lawsuit
Food poisoning lawsuits are a type of product liability lawsuit. The food that made you ill is considered a defective product, so your attorney will argue your case the same way as a typical personal injury case. Generally, your lawyer will try to establish strict liability or negligence.
If you are trying to establish strict liability, you will need to prove:
- The food that you ate was contaminated
- The contaminated food caused your illness
Negligence cases are more difficult to win. In addition to the required proofs of a strict liability case, you will have the additional burden of proving that the manufacturer or preparer of the food was acting negligently, or did not exercise reasonable care, when preparing the food.
Burden of Proof in a Food Poisoning Lawsuit
According to Nolo.com, proving that the food you ate was contaminated and that it caused you to become ill is actually very difficult to prove. If you became sick immediately after ingesting it, such as if you have a serious peanut allergy, it is much easier to prove causality. Unfortunately, many food poisoning illnesses take a few hours to develop, so it’s much harder to prove convincingly that a specific food was the cause.
That being said, there are a few ways to help prove your case. If you didn’t eat the entire food product, you will want to get the remaining food product tested to show that it was definitely contaminated. Then, if possible, you will need a medical professional to describe what caused your food poisoning and use your stool or other samples to connect the illness to the ingested food.
Food poisoning cases are not easy, but they are winnable. If you became seriously sick from eating a food product, you should contact Bighorn Law right away. As you can imagine, collecting evidence for these types of lawsuits is very time sensitive, so it’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as you suspect that you ate contaminated food.