Sued Over Food? 5 Things About Lawsuits Restaurant Owners Should Know

Managing a restaurant is a lot of hard work. As a responsible and in-the-know restaurant owner, here are five important things restaurant owners should be aware of.

Proving Food Poisoning

If a customer eats food served at the restaurant and becomes ill, the customer will claim that he or she contracted food poisoning from the restaurant. In order to prove this claim, the customer will need to prove that the restaurant was the cause of the food poisoning. This is easy for the customer to do if evidence is left at the restaurant, such as utensils and leftovers that are alleged to have caused the food poisoning. It is much more difficult for a busy restaurant with hundreds of patrons a night to preserve evidence.

Sued Over Food? 5 Things About Lawsuits Restaurant Owners Should Know

Strict Liability – No Fault

In a few states, restaurants have been held strictly liable for serving contaminated food. This means that if the customer claims he or she contracted food poisoning from a restaurant, the restaurant is held responsible even without a specific finding of negligence or fault on the restaurant’s part.

Take Reasonable Precautions

In most states, a customer suing the restaurant must prove that the restaurant was negligent, that is that the restaurant had a duty to ensure reasonably safe food, and it failed to take reasonable measures and precautions to prevent contaminated food. If the restaurant can show that it took reasonable precautionary measures to prevent food poisoning, customers will have a difficult time proving that the restaurant in question was the cause of food poisoning.

Showing Cause

This may state the obvious, but a customer must show the food consumed was in fact unwholesome or tainted. Just because a customer becomes ill after eating at a restaurant does not show that the food was bad.

Food Fit For Human Consumption

The food served at your restaurant may fall under the purview of an implied warranty of fitness for human consumption. If this is the case, a customer who claims food poisoning could sue under the contract theory for breach of implied warranty. The food must conform to the reasonable expectations of consumers.

When you open a restaurant, you envision happy patrons who are eager to return again for the delicious food. Most restaurant owners put their heart and soul into making their business succeed. No matter the care you take in food preparation and safety precautions, incidents are bound to happen. Be sure to have an attorney, like the ones from Pritzker Law, you trust to help you when a possible lawsuit arises. It is just the nature of the business when you hold yourself out to the public in a merchant capacity.

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