Food poisoning generally occurs when someone consumes food that is contaminated with pathogens. Illnesses can occur as the result of viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals. A variety of food poisoning types exist -- and some can lead to serious health consequences like kidney failure. Before all else, a food poisoning victim should seek immediate medical attention.
After getting medical help, a victim of food poisoning can think about filing a products liability lawsuits against food producers. Here's how that works:
Product Liability in Georgia
Under Georgia law, restaurants and other food preparation companies owe a duty of care to consumers.
Essentially, all of the entities that are within the product's "chain of distribution" can be sued. As a result, several different parties can potentially be held liable for the defective food. The manufacturer of the food, the wholesaler, and the store are all potentially liable.
The product must be shown to be defective in some sense. In the food context, this means the victim has to prove that the food was contaminated.
In most food poisoning cases, the consumer will also have to show that the foodborne contamination caused the illness. The defect must also have made the food unreasonably dangerous.
Proving contamination and causation can be tricky in food poisoning cases. After all, much of the evidence gets flushed down the toilet. But there are ways to gather a sufficient amount of evidence.
For example, a doctor's diagnosis -- confirmed by stool samples or other tests -- can help prove that foodborne contamination made you sick.
If there was an outbreak, a public health official may have found a link between your illness and something specific you ate.
A plaintiff can also make sure the food provider complied with the Georgia food safety requirements. In Georgia, food processors must conduct regular internal pathogen tests and report any positive results to the Department of Agriculture. High risk facilities are required to test twice a month, medium risk plants monthly and low risk processors quarterly.
It might be prudent to consult with an Atlanta personal injury attorney if you have further questions about food poisoning.
In the meantime, you might want to think twice before ordering that egg and tuna salad sandwich.