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Florida Food Poisoning Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Dealing with food poisoning in Florida can lead to legal concerns and the need for compensation. A skilled Florida food poisoning lawyer can be crucial in guiding you through the process and helping you understand your rights.

This article aims to equip you with the knowledge of what steps to take following a foodborne illness, the compensation you might be entitled to, and how a specialized lawyer can support your case for the best possible outcome.

If you or a loved one has been affected by food poisoning, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is here to provide support. Our firm is recognized for its proficiency in advocating for plaintiffs, and our primary objective is to ensure that you receive the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Food Poisoning Lawsuit Overview

Food poisoning lawsuits in Florida can be full of complex legal procedures and parties. From contaminated food suppliers to unhygienic restaurant practices, the range of potentially liable parties is vast.

Navigating this maze and seeking rightful compensation necessitates the guidance of an experienced Florida food poisoning lawyer. These professionals specialize in untangling the web of claims and counterclaims that can emerge in such cases, especially when dealing with food growers and suppliers.

Determining Liability

The legal journey in food poisoning cases starts with the identification of liability. Identifying the source of contamination and the responsible party, such as a distributor, supplier, or handler, is often a challenging task. Food poisoning lawyers, leveraging their expertise, are capable of:

  • Identifying the illness’s origin
  • Understanding the roles of different parties in the contamination process
  • Documenting the illness via medical treatment

Food suppliers and distributors are legally required to follow safety practices and protocols to prevent food-related illnesses. Unfortunately, lapses in these preventive measures can lead to contaminated food products, causing food poisoning.

What Laws Apply to Food Poisoning Cases?

Laws that apply to food poisoning cases are both state and federal laws. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is central to guaranteeing the safety of most foods, food additives, drugs, and cosmetics, thereby significantly contributing to the prevention of food poisoning cases [1].

Alongside, the Florida Food Safety Act ensures the safety of food consumers by mandating companies to disclose any health or safety issues associated with their products.

In particular, the Florida Food Safety Act mandates that restaurant owners handle and prepare food with care, serve food safely, and notify consumers about any health and safety risks related to the food products.

Besides these, food poisoning lawsuits in Florida can also be influenced by product liability and breach of warranty laws. These laws determine the responsibility of restaurants and food producers in cases of foodborne illnesses.

Notable Food Poisoning Cases in Florida

There have been several notable food poisoning cases in Florida that have led to significant lawsuits and settlements.

  1. The Taco Bell E. coli Outbreak (2006): This outbreak affected multiple states, including Florida. Over 70 people fell ill, and lawsuits were filed against the fast-food chain for negligence in food safety.
  2. The Dole Spinach E.coli Outbreak (2006): This multistate outbreak led to numerous illnesses and several deaths. Florida residents were among those affected, and lawsuits were filed against Dole for selling contaminated spinach.
  3. The Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak (2008-2009): This was one of the most significant food poisoning outbreaks in recent history, leading to hundreds of illnesses and several deaths across the country. Florida was one of the states affected, and numerous lawsuits were filed against the company.
  4. The Chipotle Mexican Grill Norovirus Outbreak (2015): This outbreak affected customers in multiple states, including Florida. The company faced numerous personal injury lawsuits for negligence and failure to maintain safe food handling practices.

These cases serve as reminders of the importance of stringent food safety measures and the potential legal consequences of negligence.

Understanding Food Poisoning and Its Impact in Florida

Food poisoning in Florida is a cause for serious concern, with a wide range of illnesses resulting from food contamination.

Food poisoning occurs when people consume contaminated food, posing a significant risk, especially to vulnerable groups like the elderly, children, pregnant women, or those with weakened immune systems.

Common Causes of Food Poisoning in Florida

Food poisoning in Florida can result from a variety of sources. Common culprits include:

  • Contaminated fish, poultry, pork, and beef
  • Contaminated produce and fruits
  • Contaminated peanut butter
  • Improperly handled frozen foods

Moreover, eating contaminated food or consumption of contaminated water by humans or animals can also result in food poisoning, introducing disease-causing agents or toxins into the body. Eating foods that are properly prepared and stored can help prevent such issues.

Undercooked meat is another significant contributor to food poisoning cases and food-related illnesses in Florida [2]. This can occur due to improper cooling, contamination from other foods, or during processing.

Additionally, cross-contamination in commercial kitchens can transfer bacteria or toxins to food, causing illness when consumed.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Swift recognition of food poisoning symptoms is critical to facilitate instant medical intervention and potential legal proceedings, especially when you suspect food poisoning. Common symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting [3].

Certain food poisoning illnesses, like E. coli and giardiasis, can lead to severe symptoms and complications, such as weight loss and shortages of vitamins A and B12. Cryptosporidiosis, another type of food poisoning, is known to cause extremely watery diarrhea.

“Foodborne illness outbreaks are primarily caused by five key risk factors: the improper cooling or heating of perishable foods, incorrect cooking temperatures, the use of dirty or contaminated utensils and equipment, poor health and hygiene practices among employees, and sourcing food from unsafe origins.”- County Directory Assistance

Immediate medical advice should be sought if E. coli food poisoning is suspected, especially after eating food that may be contaminated. In cases of severe food poisoning symptoms, including extreme dehydration, presence of blood in stool, or high fever, it’s imperative to seek medical treatment immediately or rush to an emergency room.

Food Poisoning Lawsuit Settlement Amounts in Florida

Settlement amounts in Florida food poisoning lawsuits can greatly vary. The value of a food poisoning case depends on factors like the strength of the claim, the severity of the injuries and damages, and the number of people affected.

For instance, an E. coli food poisoning case could lead to significant losses, including medical bills, lost wages, chronic pain, and suffering.

The average settlement amount for a food poisoning lawsuit in Florida can range from a few thousand dollars to over $500,000. The highest settlement amount ever awarded in a Florida food poisoning lawsuit was a whopping $6.7 million.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Food Poisoning in Florida

Victims of food poisoning in Florida may be eligible for various forms of financial compensation. These can include compensatory damages that cover medical expenses, lost wages, and the suffering endured due to the illness.

In cases of extreme negligence or misconduct in how the food was handled and prepared, victims can also pursue punitive damages.

Filing a Florida Food Poisoning Lawsuit

The process of filing a food poisoning lawsuit in Florida commences with:

  1. Gathering evidence and comprehending the statute of limitations.
  2. Gathering details about where you got the food. If it is from a supermarket or grocery store, retaining the packaging can be crucial.
  3. Understanding that Florida law stipulates a four-year window from the date of injury to file a food poisoning lawsuit.

This emphasizes the importance of an experienced legal team in food poisoning cases, which can assist in:

  • Demonstrating that the illness resulted from consuming food from a particular source
  • Gathering evidence to support the claim
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and other parties involved
  • Seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering

Having a knowledgeable legal team on your side can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Types of Evidence Presented in Food Poisoning Lawsuits

Several types of evidence can be presented in food poisoning lawsuits. Some examples include:

  • Medical records, such as doctor’s notes, lab test results, and other pertinent medical information, to demonstrate diagnosis, treatment, and any related hospitalization.
  • Food samples, which can be checked for toxigenic bacteria and their toxins, are often linked to food poisoning.
  • Stool samples can be examined to pinpoint the pathogen causing the food poisoning.

Expert testimony can offer invaluable insights into food poisoning lawsuits. They help identify the cause of contamination and its severity. Various food poisoning experts are brought in to:

  • Determine the contaminants that led to the illness
  • Provide evidence that can pinpoint the specific food or drink that caused the illness
  • Prove contamination by infectious organisms or toxins.

Florida Statute of Limitation

Typically, the Florida statute of limitations stipulates four years from the date of injury for food poisoning cases. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including situations involving:

  • incapacitation
  • minors
  • defendants who have left the state
  • cases where the defendant concealed their involvement.

For minors, they have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit for food poisoning negligence, but in wrongful death cases, the time limit is two years from the date of death.

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Have you or a loved one suffered food poisoning from consuming contaminated food or beverages?

Get Your Free Consultation From Florida Food Poisoning Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we’re committed to providing you with the support you need in challenging times. If you or a loved one has suffered from a food-related illness, we encourage you to reach out to us. Our experienced team is adept at handling these types of cases and will guide you every step of the way.

It’s essential to understand your legal rights and determine if you qualify for a lawsuit. We offer free consultations, and we won’t charge any fees unless we secure a favorable result in your case.

Get in touch with Schmidt & Clark today for a comprehensive review of your food poisoning case. Allow us to be your trusted partner in navigating this difficult situation.

Reference:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-regulation-food-and-dietary-supplements/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160523001563
  3. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/food-poisoning/

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