Compensation when food-borne illness strikes - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Compensation when food-borne illness strikes


Getting together with friends or loved ones for dinner at your favorite restaurant or for a home-cooked meal with food purchased at your local grocery store should not end with you and other members of your group getting sick. At least 4 million Canadians fall victim to illnesses caused by the food they consume. More than 11,600 people are hospitalized and another 238 die because of eating tainted or contaminated food products. Restaurants that sell prepared foods and merchants, including grocery stores, selling food products for consumption or preparation at home, have an obligation to offer food products that are safe to consume. When they do not, you could be entitled to file a claim in the form of a lawsuit seeking compensation.

Causes of food-borne illness

Commonly referred to as “food poisoning,” food-borne illness is any sickness caused by consumption of food contaminated by viruses, bacteria and parasites. Among some of the common causes identified by the Canadian Public Health Association include:

  • Salmonella: This is a bacteria associated with the intestines of poultry and other animals. Food can be contaminated by coming in contact with animal feces either while planted in fields or during the processing of the food.
  • Listeria: Contamination by human or animal feces of the soil in which vegetables and some fruits are grown can result in development of a form of bacteria known as listeria monocytogenes.
  • Botulism: Canned foods and aged meats can become contaminated by a bacteria that causes botulism that can make humans sick or, in some cases, lead to the death of a victim.
  • E. coli: The Escherichia coli 0157:H7 bacteria found in animal intestines is the culprit causing illness for people who eat undercooked meat and poultry products. It can also be found in unpasteurized milk and in fruits and vegetables grown using a contaminated water source.
  • Cyclosporiasis: The cyclospora is a parasite found in feces that contaminates food and water with which it comes in contact.

There are several other viruses, parasites and bacterium that also cause people to suffer the symptoms commonly associated with food poisoning.

Symptoms and treatment

The severity or range of symptoms can be very mild to so severe as to require hospitalization of the victim. Oddly enough, you could end up in the hospital while another person at your dinner party eating exactly the same food could have no symptoms at all. Some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains and cramping
  • Nausea
  • Fever

Food poisoning symptoms could take several hours or days to develop and may subside without a few days. You should seek a medical evaluation of your condition if you believe you have a food-borne illness particularly if your symptoms include:

  • Unbearable stomach pains and cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

An evaluation by a physician could reveal the need for hospitalization for dehydration caused by the illness.

Food poisoning can be more than merely an uncomfortable experience. It could cause you to lose time from work and incur expenses for medical care. Some food-borne illnesses have been known to cause death.

The establishment that served contaminated food to you or the manufacturer of the tainted product could be liable for your illness because of the way in which the food was handled, produced or prepared. Discussing your experience with a personal injury could provide insight about your right to claim compensation for the damages caused by your illness.

Ontario personal injury lawyers can help

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience claims for compensation on behalf of victims of food-borne illnesses. Contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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