Eating out can be a hazard, even if you’re careful. There’s just no way to tell if a normal-looking restaurant is clean and has good hygiene standards, and all it takes is one careless employee who stores food incorrectly or who doesn’t wash their hands properly to land you in bed for days, terribly sick with food poisoning.
Restaurants are legally obligated to serve food fit for human consumption and any restaurant that fails to meet this obligation is liable to compensate people who suffer as a result. However, most people don’t launch legal claims for compensation when it comes to food poisoning. Why? Because it can be problematic trying to prove that a particular restaurant is responsible for your illness. Nevertheless, if you have suffered as a result of a restaurant’s negligence, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be compensated.
What Should I Do if I Get Food Poisoning?
Firstly, you should visit your doctor, who will not only treat you, but also provide evidence for your claim. They are likely to collect a stool sample so they can determine what kind of food poisoning you have, which can help to narrow down the source.
Next, you should write down a diary of everything you have recently eaten. The doctor will be able to give you a window period for when you are likely to have become infected. You will have a stronger case if several members of the dining party became infected, so make sure you talk to your friends about how they’re feeling and if any of them have become ill. If all of them are feeling fine, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the restaurant isn’t responsible but it may be more difficult to prove.
Who Should I Contact to Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning?
Generally, the first port of call is the restaurant you believe is responsible for your illness. It is best to contact them by mail and you should take a copy of the letter for yourself. In it, you need to outline the time and date you dined at the restaurant and who you dined with, what you ate and when you subsequently became ill. You should also provide evidence of your claim including your GP’s opinion and details of other people who also became ill.
You or your doctor should inform the Environmental Health Department, which will begin investigating the matter. The restaurant is likely to contact you to discuss the matter, and they may offer compensation for your loss. If they do not, you may wish to seek legal advice to assess your options. Lawyers will also help you to determine how much you are entitled to for your pain and suffering, time off work and medical expenses.
In order to assist your lawyers, remember to keep any receipts from the restaurant, all documents relating to your medical treatment, and all receipts for expenses relating to your treatment including prescriptions and travel receipts. Provided that it can be proven that the restaurant was responsible for your sickness, you should have a valid claim.