Anyone who has suffered from food poisoning can attest to the unpleasant nature of the ordeal. After a person who suffers from food poisoning recovers, he or she may understandably want to pursue damages from a person or business he or she thinks was responsible for the food poisoning. Unfortunately, as a case decided recently shows, suing for damages caused by food poisoning in Georgia can be quite difficult for the plaintiffs.
In this case, two people attended a wedding rehearsal dinner that was catered. In the days following the rehearsal dinner, the two guests who had eaten the food served at the dinner began to experience symptoms of food poisoning. The guests eventually filed a lawsuit against the caterer for food poisoning, claiming that the food served at the rehearsal dinner had made them sick. The caterer asked the court to find that there was no legal claim for the guests and dismiss the lawsuit. The court agreed and the lawsuit was dismissed. The guests appealed and the appellate court agreed with the dismissal.
The basis for dismissing the case was that the guests had not shown that the food that the caterer served was the only possible cause of the poisoning. The guests had eaten at other locations in the days before and after the rehearsal dinner, and only one of the guests tested positive for salmonella while the other did not. None of the food from the rehearsal dinner was tested for salmonella or otherwise inspected.
If a person suspects food is contaminated at the time of consuming the food, it is important to keep a sample of the food, if possible. This sample can be tested to confirm that it is truly the cause of the illness. This would be direct evidence of the cause of the food poisoning, and the best evidence for a plaintiff who wants to file a food poisoning lawsuit. This is not always practical, especially if eating at a restaurant or if at the time of eating the food there is no suspicion that the food is contaminated. Without direct evidence, the plaintiff has to rely on circumstantial evidence.
In Georgia, circumstantial evidence in a food poisoning case can be relied on only when the person making a claim can show that there is no other reasonable theory as to the cause of the food poisoning. Circumstantial evidence in a food poisoning case may include showing that other people who ate the same food also got sick with the same contamination. As the above case shows however, relying on circumstantial evidence can be difficult when other people who consume the food do not get sick. Circumstantial evidence alone may also not be enough to get a plaintiff past a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
Despite the hurdles that a plaintiff seeking compensation for food poisoning may have to overcome, if you have been injured by eating contaminated food, you should take immediate action and contact an attorney. Contact the personal injury firm of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia to speak to an attorney today.