Food poisoning is a serious illness that could prove fatal for a victim. Food poisoning can occur if the food becomes contaminated at any stage of the manufacturing, distributing ,or storing process. Food poisoning can also arise if the grocery store selling the food fails to properly store the food or rotate its inventory. In these cases, the store could face lawsuits for causing food poisoning in shoppers.
What Causes Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning comes from consuming spoiled or contaminated food. Contaminated foods can contain chemicals, materials or bacteria that can cause serious illnesses if eaten. Some of the most common bacterial strains of food poisoning are E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. Food poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is especially risky for children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems to contract food poisoning.
Proper food handling, preparation and storage can prevent food poisoning. Handling food correctly can avoid contaminants from contact, such as germs passed from someone’s hands onto the food. Proper preparation can prevent illnesses from eating undercooked or raw foods, such as raw chicken or fish. Proper storage can prevent the spoiling of food by keeping it at the correct temperature. A grocery store has a legal obligation to abide by all food handling and storage best practices. Federal organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Food and Drug Administration also have rules in place for proper food storage.
Two common causes of food poisoning at grocery stores are improper food handling and storage. If a grocery store stocker does not notice ripped or damaged packages, for example, the store could sell a product that has gone bad or contains dangerous contaminants. Improper storage at the grocery store could also lead to rotten or contaminated food. Failure to notice a broken freezer, for instance, could lead to selling spoiled food to customers. If the grocery store reasonably could have prevented a customer’s food poisoning, it could be liable for damages.
How to File a Food Poisoning Claim Against a Grocery Store in Texas
Grocery stores and other establishments that sell food must abide by certain rules, regulations and sanitation standards under federal and state laws in Texas. Failure to do so, resulting in consumer illnesses, is negligence. If you or a loved one developed a serious type of food poisoning from consuming contaminated food purchased at a local grocery store, you may have a case against the store itself for improper food handling or storage. You may also, however, have a case against the manufacturer of the food item.
If the contaminant that caused you or a loved one’s food poisoning tainted the item at the manufacturing level, the manufacturer – not the store that sold the product – could be liable. You might hear about a recall involving the product from the manufacturer if this is the case. Otherwise, the item may have been safe for consumption when it arrived at the grocery store, but made inedible or dangerous by the store’s negligence. A personal injury lawyer can investigate your specific case to help you assign fault.
If you do have grounds for a food poisoning claim against a grocery store in Texas, you will generally have two years from the date of your illness to file a lawsuit. This is the statute of limitations on all personal injury claims in the state. You will need to file your claim first with the insurance company that covers the grocery store, demanding compensation for damages such as hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the insurance company denies your claim or does not offer enough to settle your case, you and your lawyer may then need to bring a food poisoning personal injury lawsuit for fair compensation.