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In lawsuits involving tainted food or food poisoning, proof is difficult. Proving your claim is often the greatest challenge in food poisoning cases. Generally speaking, you will have to prove two things in order to win your lawsuit:
a) the food you ate was contaminated. The food you ate was contaminated. You will have to pinpoint the particular food product that made you sick. If there is a time delay -- which is quite common -- between eating the contaminated food and coming down with symptoms of food poisoning, it may be difficult to determine specifically what it was that made you sick, unless many others were also made ill by eating the same food product. Proving a link between the food you ate and contamination is easiest in cases where a government health agency steps in and traces an outbreak of food poisoning to a particular source. Scientific testing to determine the particular type of disease-causing microbes that were present in the contaminated food can be critically important because it can provide solid evidence linking the contaminated product with your illness.
b) the contamination made you sick. You will also need to prove that your illness was caused by the contaminated food. The best way to do this is to have a stool sample scientifically tested for food poisoning. If you can show that your stool sample contained the same disease-causing microbes that were found in the contaminated food source, you will greatly strengthen your claim
Now even if you prove your case, you're only going to be entitled to your damages that you can show. There are two types of main, monetary damages: actual and punitive. Punitive damages
apply in situations where there was intentional tortious behavior or gross negligence. Punitive damages are damages intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit. Although the purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff will in fact receive all or some portion of the punitive damage award. Actual damages are damages that are intended to compensate the plaintiff for damages actually incurred by the plaintiff, rather than to punish the defendant. Now under the category actual damages, you have economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the actual, out of pocket damages suffered by the plaintiff. This will include property damages (damage to a car in a car accident
, broken equipment, etc...), lost wages as a result of losing a job, or being out of work, in the hospital, etc..., medical bills, rehab bills, and even future medical bills (if applicable). These are actual, quantifiable numbers. Then you have non-economic damages, which are more "fuzzy". These are pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship, and so forth. This is where you get compensated for the pain that you suffered, even though you can't actually "quantify" that pain. Now the problem with non-economic damages is that they are hard to quantify. If you've suffered an amputation, you should get a lot more non-economic damages, because that is going to significantly affect your life, for the rest of your life. But if you have suffered something that is not chronic, but temporary, that is going to adjust the number downwards, because it is not going to be a lifelong issue, and would not constitute the disfigurement that generally is compensated in greater numbers in court.
In your case, it might be difficult to show more than discomfort, but if you lost wages, or time off, etc... then you could recover these damages, assuming that you can show the other factors of the food liability case (as explained above).
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