Can you hold anyone accountable when eating out results in hugging porcelain and re-evaluating your entire life as your stomach is turned inside out? Most of us think we can pinpoint with precise clarity when and where the poisoning occurred. Getting justice for an ill-prepared meal can be difficult but not impossible.
The best venue for compensation is small claims court, where the cap on damages is $5,000. You will have to prove that the specific restaurant served tainted food and it was that specific food that got you sick and not anything else in your diet.
The cause of action in either court is negligence. In negligence actions, one has to prove the following four things: 1) A duty existed 2) A duty was breached 3) The breached caused harm 4) There were tangible damages.
Below are some tips in establishing a timeline and accruing evidence for your future case:
- Put the restaurant on notice in writing of your suspicions regarding their food.
- Advise a doctor of what food specifically caused your illness so their records reflect this.
- Check Yelp, Google, or Foursquare for similar reviews or incidents around the time of your poisoning.
- Draft a demand letter to the restaurant requesting reimbursement for medications and out of pocket expenses due to the poisoning.
- If you are certain that the restaurant poisoned you, you can file a complaint with the health department.
The next step is for us to file a claim in small claims court alleging fair damages. We should file suit not only to recover incidental costs and appropriate compensation but also as a warning to restaurants that making people sick has consequences.