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To Sue for Food Poisoning, Do You Have to Be Hospitalized?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Food poisoning is a terrible way to end a meal, and for those who aren't hospitalized after eating tainted food, it may seem like there's no way to legally recover.

Responsibility for serving tainted food isn't erased if the victim doesn't seek medical help, and even if you never visited a hospital, you can potentially collect from food poisoning injuries.

Whether or not the victim goes to the hospital, how can one sue for food poisoning?

Medical Costs Are Only Part of the Picture

Victims often believe that they cannot sue for food poisoning unless they are hospitalized or near death, largely because food poisoning lawsuits often focus on the extreme costs of hospital stays. But these costs are only part of the picture.

Food poisoning sufferers may also be entitled to lost wages for time spent recovering and not working. You don't need to go to a hospital to spend two to three days suffering from food poisoning at home; the source of the tainted food is responsible for your lost time.

Tainted-food victims may also sue for pain and suffering caused by food poisoning. Anyone who has experienced a bout of food poisoning knows that although symptoms may only last up to a week, the acute agony inflicted on the sufferer is very real -- and the courts can recognize this.

You Can Still Win Without Medical Tests

Another reason victims believe their food poisoning case is a non-starter is because they may not have had any medical tests performed to determine the exact cause of their food poisoning symptoms. While many food poisoning symptoms will want to seek medical attention, in many cases that may mean simply visiting with a family doctor. And many times, doctors will not choose to run expensive diagnostic tests to identify the specific pathogen which is responsible for food poisoning.

However, this doesn't mean the restaurant that made you sick is off the hook. Unsanitary food preparation conditions can make food poisoning an inevitability in a restaurant kitchen, and a call to the local health department can determine if there are any dangerous conditions in the restaurant that made you sick. If any violations are found, they may be used as evidence that the restaurant caused your illness.

It's possible to win your food poisoning case without ever setting foot in a hospital, but you'll need to consult with a personal injury attorney to learn more.

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