How Food Recalls Impact Washington D.C. Products Liability Lawsuits

When someone experiences illness, disease or death because of a contaminated or unsafe food product, discovering who was liable and recovering damages can be challenging. Determining liability among parties throughout the food supply chain is complicated and requires a comprehensive understanding of complex tort laws. The first step in developing a solid case is establishing which type of defect caused the claimant’s injuries. Generally, product liability defect claims stem from design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects. In the case of food contamination, the majority of cases arise from manufacturing defects. These claims fall under one or more legal theories, including negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.

Many product liability lawsuits involve:

  • Defective infant items
  • Electrical machines
  • Poorly designed car parts
  • Recalled drugs and devices

While all of these claims present unique challenges, product liability lawsuits involving contaminated food present victims with arduous evidentiary issues; even if a food manufacturer or distributor recalls a contaminated food item, injury victims must still meet strict requirements to recover damages successfully.

Can Food Poisoning Vicitms Sue Food Manufacturers?

Yes, if an injury victim can link their illness or disease to a recalled food product, the claimant may be able to sue a company for damages. Many recalls follow an outbreak of a food-borne illness that may be linked to their product. For instance, the New York Times recently reported that Tyson Foods recalled over 8 million pounds of their frozen chicken following a listeria outbreak. The Agriculture Department received notice that two people were suffering from listeriosis after eating frozen chicken from the company. The items include fully cooked chicken products sold as strips, pizza, and chicken breast.

Contaminated food can cause healthy people to suffer serious gastrointestinal distress, but it poses life-threatening injuries to vulnerable individuals. The five main symptoms of food contamination include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. However, older adults, pregnant women, infants, and those with compromised immune systems may experience severe illness and even death after consuming contaminated products. In addition to listeria monocytogenes, other common dangerous pathogens include E. Coli, hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Cyclospora.

While food recalls can bolster a product liability case, these claims require significant evidence that connects the victim’s condition with the tainted food. This evidentiary burden can be onerous because the claimant may not have the food on hand or may have eaten several other items that can muddle determining the cause.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Contaminated Food?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries or died after consuming contaminated food, contact Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The lawyers at our firm have extensive experience handling complex claims stemming from contaminated food and defective products. In addition to products liability, our firm handles Washington D.C. personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice claims. Our experienced trial lawyers have recovered over 65 million dollars for our clients. We pride ourselves on providing clients with respect, compassion, and aggressive representation in their claims. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.


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