Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?

Yes, you can sue a restaurant for food poisoning. You will need to know the specific “bug” that made you sick, for example, E. coli or Salmonella. You will also need evidence connecting your illness to the restaurant. If a health department has told you that you are part of an outbreak, you most likely have a case.

The first thing you need to do is make sure all of the diagnostic and genetic testing needed for a lawsuit has been completed. Use our free consultation form to contact us, and one of our lawyers can talk with you about the lab work you need done to protect your legal rights. You may also need to ask them about leftovers you think may have caused your illness.

Fred Pritzker

You can call attorney Fred Pritzker and his team at 1-888-377-8900 (toll-free).

Find Out if  You Can Sue a Restaurant for Compensation

Most lawyers do not handle these case on a regular basis. We do, and we know what these cases are worth. Some of our law firm’s settlements and verdicts include the following:

  • $7.55 million for a child who contracted an E. coli infection and developed hemolytic uremic syndome (HUS);
  • $6.4 million in a case that involved a mother who contracted a Listeria infection (listeriosis) while pregnant and lost her unborn twins and a family whose loved one died in the same outbreak.
  • $4.5 million for a man who ate unsafe food and suffered permanent brain damage.
  • $4.5 million for a young woman whose kidneys failed after eating at a national chain restaurant.

Foodborne illness can be catastrophic. Many of the cases we handle involve permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and pancreas from severe complications like kidney failure from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), stroke, heart attack, pancreatitis, colitis (sometimes bad enough that part of the colon needs to be removed), meningitis and reactive arthritis.

Free Consultation with Food Safety Lawyer

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Bad Bug Law Team

Our lawyers, the Bad Bug Law Team, help people sickened by contaminated food get compensation and justice.

 

8 Things You Should Know about a Food Poisoning Lawsuit for Compensation

1. A Lawsuit Can Lead to a Faster Settlement

Filing a restaurant lawsuit tells the company that owns the restaurant that you mean business and that you have sufficient evidence to prove your personal injury or wrongful death claim. Also, it lets the company know that you have experienced lawyers working for you because we are one of the few law firms in the United States who handles a significant number of these cases each year.

2. If You Sue the Restaurant, Our Lawyers Can Get Access to Relevant Information

Once our lawyers file a suit on your behalf, they can take legal steps to obtain relevant corporate and health department documents.  Without a lawsuit, we cannot force them to share any information. In addition, we can interview restaurant employees, corporate executives and others to get additional information. Our goal is to get you answers, compensation and justice, and a lawsuit is often the only way to do that.

3. You Can Be a Voice for Food Safety

You may have an opportunity to be on television news programs or interviewed by newspaper reporters. By doing this, you can help educate people about the dangers of unsafe food. Several of our clients have been strong voices for food safety, providing compelling testimony to Congress that resulted in new food safety laws.

4. If More Than 2 People Got Food Poisoning from the Restaurant, You May be Part of an Outbreak

If you and at least one other unrelated person got food poisoning after eating at the same restaurant, you may be part of a food poisoning outbreak linked to that restaurant. In many outbreaks linked to restaurants in this way, the specific menu item that made the people sick is never determined. Even so, the people sickened in the outbreak have been able to get settlement payouts from the company that owns the restaurant. Because of this, your being part of an outbreak helps you get compensation. Our food poisoning lawyers have won money for many clients sickened in outbreaks.

Your local health department may let you know if you are part of an outbreak.

5. You Need to Be Tested to Find out What Pathogen Gave You Food Poisoning

If you are seriously ill with food poisoning symptoms, your doctor will most likely send a blood, stool or urine sample in for testing to determine what pathogen (bacteria, virus or parasite) made you sick. The following are some of the pathogens that can contaminate food and cause illness or wrongful death:

If your doctor says you have food poisoning, ask if he or she will do further testing to determine if one of the pathogens above caused your illness.

E coli

Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria.

6. If a Pathogenic Bacteria Caused Your Illness, Its DNA “Fingerprint” Needs to be Determined

Bacteria have DNA fingerprints that can be determined with processes called pulsed-field gel electrophoreses (PFGE) and whole gene sequencing (WGS). When someone is diagnosed with Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella, or another bacterial pathogen that can cause food poisoning, health officials can send cells of the bacteria found in the patient to get that cell’s DNA fingerprint, called a pattern.

If the same bacterial pathogen is found in the restaurant (in food, on equipment, etc.), PFGE or WGS testing can also be done on bacteria found in the restaurant. If the DNA patterns from you and the restaurant match, this is “smoking gun” evidence that the restaurant caused your illness.

We highly recommend that you only hire a lawyer who has used PFGE and WGS patterns as evidence to win money for clients. If you have questions about PFGE and WGS, you can as our lawyers. Every lawyer in our law firm has used this kind of evidence to win cases.

7. If a Sick Employee and Not Contaminated Food Caused an Outbreak, You Can Still Sue and Win

Some outbreaks are caused by a sick employee. In many of these outbreaks, an ill food worker transmits the illness either directly to food or to surfaces that come into contact with food.  This means that many different foods served by the restaurant may be contaminated rather than just one product.  People who get sick in these outbreaks most often consume this adulterated food, and they generally have the right to sue the restaurant. Our lawyers have successfully handled many cases like this.

In any case, whether you get food poisoning from the restaurant environment or from contaminated food directly, you should contact an attorney to find out if you have the right to sue for compensation.

8. Don’t Throw Away Leftovers until You Talk to a Lawyer

Leftovers are sometimes tested to find out if they are contaminated. In some outbreaks, local health officials have gathered leftover food suspected of being the source of an illness. For this reason, it is extremely important that you talk to a lawyer before throwing out leftover food from a restaurant.

Outbreaks and Lawsuits

Cafe Med and Back Bay Sandwich in Boston

Cafe Med and Back Bay Sandwich in Boston were linked to Salmonella poisoning. Both restaurants, located at 31 Saint James Avenue, had their permits pulled on May 18, 2017.

The Chicken & Rice Guys E. coli

Our law firm has filed a lawsuit against Chicken and Rice Guys for E. coli. Our client is one of at least 15 people sickened in an outbreak associated with eating food from a Chicken & Rice Guys (CNR) truck or restaurant. At least 15 people were sickened, 9 of them people from Boston. Attorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm filed the suit on April 18. To contact Brendan and Ryan about a lawsuit for compensation, call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). Please note that this is not a class action and that our national food safety law firm files individual suits on behalf of people sickened in outbreaks. If you have questions about this, please ask Brendan and Ryan during your free consultation.

Duffy’s Bar and Grill in Osseo, Minnesota

Attorney Ryan Osterholm is representing a man who was diagnosed with Salmonella after eating at Duffy’s Bar and Grill in Osseo, Minnesota in 2017. Ryan’s client is one of 5 people whose Salmonella Enteritidis infections may be associated with Duffy’s, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), which is investigating the outbreak.

Salmonella after Eating at MOOO Restaurant in XV Beacon Hotel in Boston

Our law firm is representing people who were was diagnosed with Salmonella after eating at the MOOO restaurant located in Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel early in 2017, and attorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm are representing this person. There are at least 7 others from Massachusetts who may have been sickened. It is possible that people from other states were also sickened in this outbreak. If you were sickened, submit the form below or call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free).

Pappadeaux Restaurant Lawsuit

Pritzker Hageman attorneys Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty filed a lawsuit on September 27, 2016, against Pappas Restaurants, Inc., owner of Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Phoenix. The suit was filed on behalf of a woman who contracted a Salmonella infection after eating at the Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen located at 11051 North Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, Arizona 85029.

Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill in Chicago

On July 8, 2016, our law firm filed a lawsuit against Carbòn Live Fire Mexican Grill in Chicago on behalf of a client who is part of an outbreak that has sickened at least 50 people. We are also representing several other people who were diagnosed with E. coli after eating at the Carbòn located at 300 W. 26th Street.

Pizza Ranch E. coli Lawsuit Filed

On March 17, 2016, Ryan Osterholm filed the first lawsuit against Pizza Ranch on behalf of the family of S.S., a little girl from Kansas who was sickened in an E. coli outbreak associated with eating at a Pizza Ranch restaurant. Our young client is one of 13 people from 9 states sickened in the outbreak: Iowa,  Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina  South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Chipotle and E. coli O26

Campylobacter BacteriaAttorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for a client who was par of an outbreak in October and November of 2015 that sickened over 20 people in Washington and over 10 in Oregon. The suit involves the Chipotle at 7715 NE 5th Avenue, #109, Vancouver, Washington.

Chipotle Salmonella Lawsuit Filed

In September of 2015, seventeen Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota were associated with Salmonella Newport, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Locations involved to date are the following: 7 Corners (in Minneapolis near the University of Minnesota), Bloomington, Calhoun, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, Uptown, and US Bank Plaza (Minneapolis).

Cucumbers at Red Lobster

Attorneys Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty filed a lawsuit against Red Lobster on September 7, 2015, on behalf of a child who allegedly ate at the restaurant located in Oakdale, Minnesota, and then was diagnosed with a Salmonella Poona infection. The lawsuit alleges that the child’s case is one of hundreds linked to cucumbers distributed by Andrew & Williamson. The firm also has other clients sickened in the nationwide outbreak, which prompted a cucumber recall. Read about the first Red Lobster lawsuit filed for tainted cucumbers.

Applebee’s

An outbreak of E. coli O111 infections in 2014 were linked to 9 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar restaurants in Minnesota. At least 15 people were infected in late June and early July, 2014. The investigation found evidence that green, whole head cabbage was the source.

Subway

The Subway in Buena Vista, Colorado was associated with norovirus infections in 2014. Chaffee County Public Health was contacted by people claiming illness in November of 2014.

Olive Garden and Red Lobster

In 2013, 227 people contracted Cyclospora infections after eating at various Olive Garden and Red Lobster locations in Iowa and Nebraska. The FDA and CDC determined that salad mix from Mexico was the source of the outbreak. The salad mix was processed by Taylor Farms de Mexico.

Buca di Beppo

In May of 2013, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) received a report via its online reporting system of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses in 20 of 47 local high school students who ate a group meal at the Buca di Beppo located in the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, 3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada. The meal was eaten before the students attended prom.

Old Country Buffet

In January of 2013, at least 23 people were sickened after eating at  Old Country Buffet in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  Eleven of these tested positive for a genetically indistinguishable strain of Salmonella Enteritidis.

Our law firm is representing people sickened in outbreaks linked to restaurants. Please note that these are individual, not class action, lawsuits. Ask our lawyers about this during your free consultation if you have questions.