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Food and Drug Law

Protecting Yourself after Exposure to Tainted Food

When you or someone you love has suffered from food poisoning or contracted any illness or injury because of exposure to food-borne pathogens, there are a number of avenues you can follow to pursue damages for your losses. Though a lawsuit will customarily be based on product liability (that the produce was either dangerous or defective, or that it was improperly designed or produced), there are a number of theories under which you can seek compensation:

  • Strict liability—In states that have enacted strict liability laws for dangerous and defective products, you don’t need to prove fault. You only need to establish that the food that you consumed was contaminated, that it was made by the defendant, and that the contamination made you ill.
  • Breach of warranty—Almost every state has laws that set minimum standards, or warranties, on products. If the food you ate caused you to become ill, you may be able to argue that there was a violation of the basic warranty.
  • Negligence—Most food-based injury claims are based on a theory of negligence, i.e., that the producer of the food did not use reasonable care in preparing it for sale.

One of the benefits of filing a product liability claim is that you can seek damages from any party within the chain of distribution. Accordingly, in a food-based injury claim, you can pursue compensation from the producer of the food, as well as any wholesaler, retailer or distributor.

Drug Claims

Drug claims are typically filed as product liability claims, too. Though many claims involve allegations that the drugs were negligently or poorly manufactured, drug injury claims more often fall under one of two categories:

  • Injuries sustained because of side effects—These claims allege that manufacturers failed to take reasonable measures to determine the existence or likelihood of any side effects that could pose health risks.
  • Injuries suffered because drugs were improperly marketed—Pharmaceutical companies must include reasonable instructions and warnings on packaging and containers. Failure to do so is frequently the cause of injury, and of personal injury lawsuits.