Fort Lauderdale Food Contamination Injury Lawyers
No matter where you sit down to eat in Fort Lauderdale—around a dining room table in a Melrose Park home, at an Ocean Boulevard restaurant, at a beachfront hotel buffet, or a lunch spot near Port Everglades—you do not expect your meal to make you sick. Unfortunately, it happens, and when food poisoning is the culprit, it is rarely your fault.
We have the right to expect that food sold at grocery stores and prepared in commercial kitchens has been handled, stored, washed, prepared, and cooked in a manner that keeps us safe from food-borne pathogens and other unsafe foods. When the workers and establishments responsible for our food safety let fail at that most basic task, we also have the right to hold them legally and financially accountable for the harm and inconvenience they caused us.
The Levin Firm represents Fort Lauderdale residents, workers, and visitors in legal actions seeking compensation for food poisoning. Contact our Fort Lauderdale food poisoning lawyers now for a free consultation to learn about your rights if consuming unsafe food makes you or a loved one ill.
About The Levin Firm
From our offices in Fort Lauderdale and the mid-Atlantic region, the award-winning trial lawyers at The Levin Firm spend our days fighting to secure compensation for people who have sustained injuries. This includes helping those who contracted illnesses because of other people’s wrongful conduct. Founder Gabriel Levin and his team have achieved numerous high-dollar financial recoveries for clients in a wide variety of personal injury matters.
At The Levin Firm, we pride ourselves on earning the trust and confidence of our clients, who sing our praises for our clear communication, responsiveness, empathy, and professionalism. We cannot guarantee favorable outcomes in the cases we handle, but we can promise to devote time and resources to serving our clients’ interests and to pursuing the money they deserve.
When Food Makes Us Sick: Food Poisoning and Allergic Reactions
The team at The Levin Firm can work to help you recover compensation whenever consuming foods or beverages makes you violently or dangerously ill. Two common causes of illness from consuming food that are not always your fault, and for which you typically deserve compensation, are food poisoning and allergic reactions.
People commonly use food poisoning to describe any encounter with food that leaves them nauseated or worse. However, in public health circles, food poisoning (or “food-borne illness”) has a more specific meaning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food poisoning occurs when you ingest food or drink that has been contaminated with:
- Germs, such as norovirus, salmonella, staph, listeria, and botulism; and/or
- Toxic substances, such as pesticides, herbicides, or cleaning products.
Either group of contaminants tends to cause a constellation of symptoms that emerge anywhere from hours to days after consuming the unsafe food or beverage.
According to the CDC, the most common of these symptoms are:
- Upset stomach;
- Stomach cramps;
- Diarrhea; and
Food poisoning is, at a minimum, extremely unpleasant for anyone who suffers from it. It can turn serious, and even deadly, however, when contracted by people at-risk for complications, such as the elderly, very young children, pregnant women, or people with compromised immune systems. Certain pathogens, like listeria or botulism, can also pose extreme health threats to anyone, simply because they are more dangerous and virulent than others.
The most common cause of food poisoning is a failure by those who handle or prepare food to follow basic food safety measures, such as:
- Storing foods at appropriate temperatures to prevent the growth of pathogens;
- Separating foods during storage and preparation to avoid cross-contamination;
- Washing foods to remove harmful contaminants; and
- Cooking foods at temperatures high enough to kill dangerous viruses and bacteria.
Consuming foods or liquids can also make you sick when your body has a specific, reproducible immune response to that type of food. We call these immune responses, which can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, food allergies.
According to the CDC, eight types of foods cause the most serious and widespread allergic reactions in the United States:
- Crustacean shellfish;
- Peanuts; and
- Tree nuts.
Children are highly susceptible to food allergies, but they also affect large numbers of adults. And, although some people seem to outgrow allergies, others experience increasingly severe and life-threatening reactions to an allergen with each exposure.
The most severe food allergies can provoke anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially deadly, whole-body allergic reaction.
Other symptoms of an allergic reaction to food include:
- Hives, rash, and itching;
- Respiratory distress; and
- Gastrointestinal distress.
The best way to manage a food allergy is to avoid consuming the food to which you are allergic. Unfortunately, sometimes someone else’s carelessness may expose you to a food allergen. Cross-contamination in a commercial kitchen in particular frequently causes allergic exposures.
Securing Compensation for Food Poisoning and Allergic Exposure in Fort Lauderdale
Someone else’s careless or reckless conduct in the storage, handling, and preparation of your food can make them liable to pay you compensation. The Levin Firm represents food poisoning victims in legal actions seeking that compensation.
Liability for Food Poisoning and Food Allergy Exposure
Anyone who handles and prepares food in Fort Lauderdale owes a duty of care to those who may eventually consume that food. That means, at a minimum, following the basic food safety protocols listed above, and taking reasonable steps to protect others from a known risk of dangerous allergic exposure.
The Levin Firm’s team of attorneys and legal professionals investigates incidents of food poisoning and allergic exposure to identify the individuals, businesses, organizations, and others who failed to live up to that duty of care to our client who fell ill as a result.
Every case we handle is different, but the parties who may face legal liability to our clients can include:
- Owners, staff, and operators of restaurants, caterers, and other businesses that prepare and serve food to the public;
- Commercial food manufacturing companies that produce, package, and ship foods;
- Food distribution companies responsible for safe transportation, storage, and handling of bulk foods;
- Grocery stores that store food and stock shelves; and
- Individuals who prepare and serve meals for others without following basic food safety practices.
These are just a few examples. Speak to the team at The Levin Firm today to begin exploring who may owe you compensation for the harm you suffered after consuming or being exposed to unsafe foods or beverages.
Damages for Food Poisoning and Food Allergy Exposure
In a legal action seeking compensation for food poisoning or wrongful allergic exposure in Fort Lauderdale, our clients may have the right to receive compensation to help them pay for:
- Medical care associated with the illness they contracted or allergic reaction they suffered;
- Non-medical expenses the incident caused;
- Wages, income, and income-earning opportunities they lost because of a food-related incident; and
- Their physical pain and discomfort, emotional distress, and interference with their quality of life.
In cases of extreme conduct in the handling and preparation of food or drink that sickened our clients, our clients may also have the right to seek payment of punitive damages from the party at fault.
Frequently Asked Questions About Food Poisoning and Food Allergy Exposure Cases
Individuals who seek our help at The Levin Firm in cases of food poisoning and food allergy exposure in Fort Lauderdale tend to have lots of questions about their rights and how we can help them. We answer some of the most common of those questions below. For more specific questions, contact us today.
How do I know what specific food made me sick?
Sometimes, when the reaction or sickness happens immediately after eating or drinking, you just know.
However, that is not always the case. Food poisoning and allergy symptoms can emerge hours or even days after consuming dangerous food or drinks. You might not always know exactly which food you consumed during that period caused your symptoms. It can also sometimes seem unclear whether your symptoms owe their cause to food poisoning or other factors such as, for example, being pregnant or contracting a non-food-related virus like the flu.
The best and safest way to find out if food made you sick is to visit a doctor to treat your symptoms and to discuss their potential cause. A physician may have suggestions for figuring out which food or ingredient, specifically, made you ill. It may also help to contact others who shared the meal with you, or who you know ate the same food, to find out if they suffered similar ill-effects. Finally, watch the news. Health agencies will usually go to the press immediately to alert the public to a potential outbreak of a food-borne illness.
When should I call a Fort Lauderdale lawyer for food poisoning?
No one necessarily expects you to call a lawyer every time food makes you feel a little queasy.
However, you may have the right to receive compensation, and should call a lawyer right away, if:
- The food-related illness you or a loved one suffered required a trip to the emergency room and/or hospitalization;
- You are aware of multiple people who fell ill after consuming the same food that sickened you;
- The food that made you sick was a packaged food still within its sell-by date;
- The food that made you sick was a perishable food you bought at the grocery store and that you properly washed and handled before eating; or
- You had an allergic reaction to food served to you by someone who knew or should have known you had an allergy to it.
At The Levin Firm in Fort Lauderdale, we offer a free consultation with a member of our team who will be happy to discuss your food poisoning/food allergy incident with you. If we think you have a case, then we will tell you so, and if we do not, then we will tell you that, too.
The important thing is to call a lawyer as soon as you can after you suspect food poisoning. These are matters that require quick action to keep the public safe from harm and to secure valuable (often perishable) evidence.
How much is my Fort Lauderdale food poisoning case worth?
We cannot say for certain without knowing the details. In general, however, the value of a case depends on:
- How sick a food or beverage made you, which affects the size of the medical bills and lost wages you have the right to recover as damages, and the degree of pain and suffering you endured that deserves compensation.
- Your lawyer’s ability to pinpoint the cause of your illness, and to show someone’s liability for causing it.
- The financial resources available to pay you, such as liability insurance or business assets.
Talk to a member of the team at The Levin Firm in Fort Lauderdale today to explore the potential value of your food poisoning/food allergy case.
What does it cost to hire the Levin Firm’s Fort Lauderdale food poisoning lawyers?
For attorneys’ fees, you would pay us nothing upfront, and nothing unless you get paid.
As mentioned, The Levin Firm offers free consultations with members of our Fort Lauderdale team. The meeting is confidential and comes with no obligation for you. We will meet with you in-person, by Zoom, or over the phone, wherever and whenever is most convenient for you.
When we take food poisoning and food allergy cases, we always work on contingency. That means our fee consists of a percentage of any money we secure on our clients’ behalf. We do not ask for an up-front payment, and we do not charge our clients by the hour. We only get paid the attorneys’ fees if our clients get paid.
Food Poisoning and Food Allergy Exposure Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
Most of us have suffered a bout of food poisoning or food allergies in our lives. For most of us, it is an unpleasant but passing experience. For some, however, it takes a real toll on their physical, emotional, and financial health.
If you consumed food that made you ill, and you suspect someone else is to blame, then contact The Levin Firm in Fort Lauderdale for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options. If you prefer to speak by phone, you can reach us at (954) 715-3260.