Food Borne Illness and Personal Injury Claims

e. coli in lettuce

There’s no doubt that food can be one of the most enjoyable pleasures that we have in life. But unfortunately, when food is responsible for causing related illnesses or poisoning, it can be quite the opposite. Also unfortunate is that such cases of food poisoning aren’t uncommon. 

There are a number of types of bacteria, toxins, and viruses that can cause food poisoning. These include:

  • E. Coli
  • Norovirus
  • Botulism
  • Hepatitis
  • Shigella
  • Listeria

From stomach cramps and diarrhea to nausea and vomiting, food poisoning can result in many unpleasant symptoms. In fact, food poisoning can even result in death. 

That’s why when someone contracts food poisoning from a restaurant, the customer may be entitled to sue the restaurant for negligence or strict product liability.


All restaurants have a duty of reasonable care, which means that they are required to maintain a safe environment and eliminate any unreasonable risks to keep their customers safe. Therefore, if a restaurant violates this duty, such as by having chefs who do not wash hands before making meals, and a customer becomes sick as a result, the customer can sue for negligence. 

One of the toughest things about proving negligence in a case of food-borne illness is that the customer (plaintiff) has the burden of proving that the illness was a direct result of the business and its practices. Short of only eating all meals at the same restaurant, it can be difficult to prove that the illness came from the restaurant in question rather than something eaten elsewhere. The best thing that someone can do to try to prove this is to seek medical attention and consult with a doctor as soon as you become sick. He or she can help to confirm the illness and determine based upon the facts of the case from where it likely originated. 

Depending upon how sick you get from food poisoning, it may or may not be worth it to pursue a claim. 

Strict Products Liability

If a plaintiff is claiming that the food they ate was contaminated, he or she must also be able to prove that the food that caused the illness was defective or unreasonably dangerous. A suit of this nature isn’t about whether or not reasonable care was taken, but rather that the bad food was sold. For example, if a company announces that a batch of its lettuce was bad and a restaurant continues to use the lettuce in its dishes despite this, the customer could sue the restaurant under strict product liability. 

It’s important to note that most states also have commercial laws with implied warranties. In other words, there is an implied warranty that food sold is not contaminated. If it is it could be considered a breach of implied warranty. 


Whether a customer sues under negligence or strict product liability, personal injury laws still apply. Therefore a plaintiff can recover for any of the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Other expenses
  • Lost income
  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and suffering

MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Suffered a Food Borne Illness from a Restaurant or Other Food Vendor

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious food-borne illness, it can impact your life. You should never have to pay the price for someone else’s mistakes. 

At MPJ Law Firm, we understand what’s involved in proving food-borne illness and personal injury. We will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Product Liability