Find out if you can make a food poisoning compensation claim
If you have had food poisoning and feel a restaurant, cafe or other business was at fault, you could make a food poisoning compensation claim.
How Much Could You Claim?

Food Poisoning Claims

Eating out is always exciting and fun. You can try out countless new dishes, and it saves you the time and energy required to cook your own meals. Going to a cafe, pub, restaurant, or any other establishment that sells food is a popular way of meeting friends, spending time with family or even having business meetings.

Sometimes, unfortunately, the experience can turn into a nightmare. Not all business owners follow the health and safety standards required by the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and other legislation.

When the food is poorly stored or prepared, and there’s no proper hygiene, you might get a very unpleasant case of food poisoning. According to the Food Standards Agency, there are around 2.4m food poisoning cases every year in the UK.

Eating food that is contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites can cause minor to very severe symptoms and even death. If you get ill after eating out or buying food from a shop, you might be entitled to make a food poisoning claim.

If you feel you may have a valid claim for compensation, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.

Can I make a food poisoning claim?

To claim for food poisoning, you don’t necessarily need to prove that a business acted negligently, but rather that what they sold you was not safe to eat. Because the symptoms of food poisoning usually resolve within a few days, it is essential to act fast if you want to build a strong food poisoning compensation claim.

Even if you have up to three years to start a claim for food poisoning, contacting a solicitor as soon as possible can considerably increase your chances of success. They can help you gather relevant evidence and build a strong case.

Even if you didn’t seek medical assistance, you could still make a food poisoning claim if your solicitor can prove you were ill because of another person or business. Any complaints, reports, emails or other evidence that you were sick can be enough to make up a solid claim.

To find out if you have a valid food poisoning claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 to speak to a legal adviser.

What evidence do I need to make a food poisoning claim?

If you believe you were the victim of food poisoning because of someone else’s negligence, there are some steps you could take as soon as possible that may help if you want to claim food poisoning compensation:

  • seek immediate medical treatment
  • take photographs that capture the hygiene standards of the location where you ate
  • report the incident to the Food Standards Agency
  • notify the local Environmental Health Department
  • make a list of everything you consumed in the two days before your illness
  • keep any suspect food in its original packaging
  • take time off work or school until your symptoms resolve
  • keep all relevant receipts from grocery shops and restaurants
  • get the contact details of any witnesses

A solicitor will also look into your case in detail, help gather evidence, and enquire if other customers might have been affected by food poisoning. They can help figure out who is responsible for your illness and try to secure maximum compensation for your injury and related financial losses.

What are the main causes of food poisoning?

If businesses follow proper hygiene and safety standards, you should never get food poisoning from store-bought items or eating out at restaurants, cafes or pubs. Unfortunately, failing to meet appropriate standards can cause customers to get sick. Frequent circumstances leading to food poisoning include:

  • the chef or kitchen staff not washing their hands before handling food
  • food that was not refrigerated or covered
  • using dirty kitchen tools
  • not keeping the kitchen area clean
  • the food was not cooked long enough or at the right temperature
  • keeping raw and cooked meat together
  • being served food that’s past the expiration date
  • not sufficiently reheating previously cooked food
  • food contaminated with dangerous chemicals
  • keeping raw meat and vegetables together
  • the food was cooked and kept warm for too long

The list is not exhaustive, and all of the above situations could be valid grounds for claiming food poisoning compensation. Your claim can help to highlight safety problems, leading to changes that will prevent other customers from getting sick.

Some foods are more likely to cause food poisoning and should be consumed with extra care by pregnant women, young children, older adults or people with a weak immune system:

  • raw or rare meat
  • poultry
  • raw fish and shellfish
  • raw or undercooked eggs
  • unpasteurised milk and juices
  • soft cheeses and pre-packed foods

Common germs that could cause food poisoning include:

  • Salmonella. Found in meat, poultry and eggs, it can cause diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting.
  • Norovirus. Found in leafy greens, fresh fruits and shellfish, it can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting.
  • Escherichia coli. Found in meat, unpasteurised milk and juices and raw vegetables, E. coli can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting. It poses life-threatening problems in 5-10% of patients.
  • Clostridium botulinum. Found in improperly canned or fermented foods. It may cause a rare form of food poisoning called botulism, which can be fatal. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing and breathing, blurred or double vision, muscle weakness and paralysis.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food, in most cases by bacteria such as salmonella or Escherichia coli. Most often, it’s not a serious illness and should resolve within a few days, even without treatment.

Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins can contaminate the food at any time during storage, handling and preparation. Following ingestion, this could cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • nausea or feeling sick
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • upset stomach
  • stomach cramps
  • fever
  • abdominal pain or cramps
  • feeling tired and weak
  • loss of appetite
  • chills
  • body aches

You should see a doctor, especially if you experience severe symptoms like:

  • bloody diarrhoea or vomit
  • fever above 38° C
  • inability to keep down fluids due to repeated vomiting
  • severe dehydration that leads to confusion, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, weakness and no urination
  • extreme pain and abdominal cramps
  • diarrhoea for more than three days
  • neurological symptoms such as blurry vision and tingling

Most people would only experience mild symptoms, lasting several hours to several days. Severe food poisoning may lead to hospitalisation and could have long-term consequences like:

  • chronic arthritis
  • brain and nerve damage
  • kidney failure
  • Listeria infection can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or long-term neurological damage and delayed development in infants.

Who could a food poisoning claim be made against?

A food poisoning claim can be made against several parties, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. These may include:

  • The manufacturer or distributor of the contaminated food product

The manufacturers and distributors of food products have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumption. They must comply with all food safety regulations and standards set by the government, and take immediate action to recall or withdraw any contaminated products from the market.

Additionally, they should inform the relevant authorities and customers about any potential contamination. Otherwise, they may be held liable for any injuries or illnesses caused by their contaminated products in a food poisoning claim.

  • The restaurant or food service establishment where you consumed the food

Restaurants, takeaways, and other food establishments must follow the appropriate sanitation and safety protocols to safeguard the well-being of customers. That involves having measures in place to prevent situations that often result in foodborne illness, such as:

  • The failure of the kitchen staff to properly clean their hands before handling food
  • The improper storage of food, such as not refrigerating or covering it
  • The use of unsanitary kitchen utensils
  • Neglecting to maintain a clean kitchen environment
  • Serving food that has not been cooked properly or to the appropriate temperature
  • The cross-contamination of raw and cooked meats
  • Consuming food that has passed its expiration date
  • Not reheating previously cooked food to a sufficient temperature
  • Serving food that has been contaminated with harmful chemicals
  • The proximity of raw meats and vegetables in storage or preparation
  • Serving food that has been kept warm for an excessive period

If a restaurant or another party breached their duty of care towards you by acting negligently, you might be able to secure food poisoning compensation by making a claim against them.

  • A tour operator

If you got food poisoning after eating at a location booked through a holiday company, you might be able to file a claim against the tour operator. According to the Package Travel Regulations, tour operators must conduct risk assessments on the hotels and restaurants they are reserving. They could be liable for compensation in case of an injury or illness.

It is essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer to determine who may be held liable for any damages resulting from food poisoning. If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will help you claim food poisoning compensation from the responsible party.

Can I make a claim if I get food poisoning on holiday abroad?

When you go on holiday abroad, you expect to have a fun and relaxed time. Becoming ill from food poisoning is not only unexpected but can also be very distressing.

If you booked your stay through a UK based tour operator who arranged your meals (e.g. you booked an all-inclusive or half-board hotel), making a hotel food poisoning claim is simpler. According to the Package Travel Regulations, tour operators must conduct risk assessments on the hotels and restaurants they are reserving.

If you get sick after eating in a restaurant picked by the holiday company, you have up to three years to make a food poisoning compensation claim against them. To support your claim, you should keep essential evidence like:

  • photos of the hygiene standards in the restaurant
  • a food diary of what you ate before getting sick
  • contact details of any other tourists that might have suffered food poisoning
  • written confirmation that you informed the hotel or restaurant and tour operator of your illness
  • any medical records attesting to your food poisoning

If your food poisoning was not related to a holiday package, you might still be able to claim against the relevant restaurant or business that acted negligently. Getting legal advice will be imperative since the laws and time limits for making a food poisoning claim abroad will differ from country to country.

To receive free legal advice and find out if you have a valid claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 to speak to an experienced legal adviser.

Could a child be entitled to food poisoning compensation?

Yes, a child can be entitled to compensation for food poisoning if they have suffered harm from consuming a contaminated product. The process for seeking compensation is similar to that for an adult and involves claiming against the liable party under civil law.

Under the Court of Protection Rules 2017, children under 18 are not considered to have the legal capacity to conduct proceedings, so they require a litigation friend to represent them in a food poisoning claim. Child injury claims can be managed by either of the following people:

  • A parent
  • A legal guardian
  • A family member or friend who is over 18
  • A solicitor
  • Professional advocates
  • Court of Protection deputies
  • A social worker
  • Any other individual with a lasting power of attorney
  • The Official Solicitor, if there is no other suitable adult for the role

To become a litigation friend, you must fill in and file a certificate of suitability with the court, supported by evidence that you can make fair and competent decisions about the case and that you have no conflict of interest with the claimant.

Becoming a litigation friend in a food poisoning claim involves several duties and responsibilities, such as:

  • Participate in court hearings
  • Make decisions related to the claim
  • Handle correspondence and sign legal documents
  • Regularly communicate with the solicitor and take their advice
  • Pay any court-required fees
  • Evaluate any compensation offers received from the defendant
  • Stay informed about the proceedings and instruct your solicitor
  • Make sure the claimant attends their medical appointments

The role of a litigation friend is a long-term commitment that ends when:

  • The claimant turns 18 and can handle their case themselves
  • You manage to secure food poisoning compensation on behalf of the child
  • You or someone else apply for a replacement with a valid reason

Apart from general damages for the pain and suffering endured by the child, your claim can also include special damages for any financial losses you can account for, including:

  • Medical treatments not covered by the NHS
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
  • Costs for medication and hospitalisation
  • Psychological counselling fees
  • Fees for home tutors, in case the child cannot attend school for a period
  • Lost wages for time taken off work to care for the child
  • Adaptations to the home or vehicle to accommodate any disabilities the child may have
  • Travel costs for going to and from the hospital
  • Costs for accommodation while the child was hospitalised, so you could be near them

It should be noted that if you win food poisoning compensation for a child, you must go through an Infant Approval Hearing in court. A judge will investigate the available evidence to decide whether the child received a fair settlement for their pain and suffering.

Furthermore, you cannot access the compensation awarded to the child. Instead, the money will be transferred into a court bank account, where it will accrue interest until the child reaches 18 years old.

At that point, the child will receive the compensation award, including any accumulated interest. However, in some cases where the compensation amount is not significant, and all parties agree, the court may release it to the parents or legal guardian.

To learn more about how you could make a food poisoning claim on behalf of a child, call 0800 032 3660 or arrange a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser.

How much is a food poisoning compensation claim worth?

The amount of compensation you could receive in a food poisoning compensation claim depends on the extent of your illness, the financial losses you incurred, and how it affected your life.

For a successful claim, you need to be able to prove you have been suffering from food poisoning, and the best way to do so is by seeking medical attention as soon as possible after developing symptoms. If you didn’t already seek medical advice, your solicitor would promptly arrange a medical assessment for you.

To negotiate your compensation, your solicitor will take into consideration all the aspects in which the food poisoning affected you. This could include:

  • the time you had to take off work and the resulting lost wages
  • any costs related to medical treatments and hospital stays
  • travel costs to medical appointments
  • how the illness affected your social life
  • the pain and suffering you endured
  • any psychological injuries like anxiety and stress
  • further treatments and care costs
  • how your illness affected your family
  • changes in life quality

Due to the unique nature of every food poisoning claim, it’s hard to say precisely how much compensation you could receive before your case is assessed. Solicitors and courts use the guidelines published by the Judicial College as a starting point when calculating compensation amounts. Based on these guidelines, you could receive the following:

  • £860 to £3,710 for disabling pain, cramps and diarrhoea that last for some days to several weeks
  • £3,710 to £8,950 for symptoms that persist for weeks but with complete recovery within a year or two
  • £8,950 to £18,020 for severe but short-lived symptoms that might have affected your enjoyment of food or sex life
  • £36,060 to £49,270 for severe toxicosis that may cause irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhoids or incontinence, affecting a person’s ability to work and enjoy life

To better understand your chance of claiming food poisoning compensation, call 0800 032 3660 or arrange a call back to receive a free consultation with a trained legal adviser.

How long do I have to make a food poisoning claim?

Generally, you will have up to three years after getting sick to make a food poisoning compensation claim. The countdown will start from the day your symptoms developed or were diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

The three-year limitation date does not apply in certain situations. For example:

  • If the victim of food poisoning is a child, a litigation friend (usually one of the parents) could claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18. Afterwards, they have another three years to start a claim by themselves.
  • There is no limitation date to claim food poisoning compensation on behalf of a person that lacks mental capacity or is too ill to claim on their own. This includes learning disabilities, mental health conditions like clinical depression or bipolar disorder, and stroke patients.
  • Some illnesses caused by food poisoning can be fatal, especially in people with underlying conditions or immune system disorders. In these unfortunate circumstances, a close family member can claim compensation on their behalf within three years from the day they died.
  • If you get sick abroad, you can still potentially make a holiday food poisoning claim. However, unless you can claim in the UK through the Package Travel Regulations, the time limit for international claims could vary from country to country and be as short as 6 to 12 months.

Given the nature of food poisoning, contacting a solicitor as early as possible after getting sick is essential. This will make it a lot easier to recall everything you ate in the past days and find the responsible party. If they accept liability, your claim could settle in as little as six months.

For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 032 3660 or arrange a call back. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.

Start your no win no fee claim today

If you got sick from eating out at a pub, restaurant or cafe, making a food poisoning compensation claim might not be your first thought. You might be worried about the time and effort it requires, not to mention the costs of hiring a solicitor and paying the legal fees.

Without the certainty you’ll win the case, claiming compensation might seem financially risky. On the other hand, if your claim is successful, you could receive compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, future treatments, and the pain and suffering you endured.

Fortunately, most personal injury claims can be made on a no win no fee* basis. After assessing your situation, a solicitor will decide whether you have a valid claim. If they consider you to have a fair chance to succeed, they will offer you a conditional fee agreement.

A conditional fee agreement is the technical term for no win no fee. This agreement makes it possible for you to start a food poisoning compensation claim without paying any upfront or hidden fees.

Furthermore, thanks to the After the Event (ATE) insurance, you won’t have to pay a single penny if your case fails. This also gives you the certainty your solicitor will do their best to represent you, seeing that the outcome of your claim also impacts them.

After reaching a no win no fee agreement, your solicitor can help gather evidence, contact witnesses, and handle all the legal paperwork. They will also give you relevant advice and might be able to secure interim payments to help with your recovery if required.

If you receive food poisoning compensation, your solicitor will take a success fee that will be agreed upon from the outset. This can be no more than 25% of the compensation amount.

To find out if you can make a food poisoning compensation claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into the contact form below to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.