In cases where the safety of a food product is affected by damaged equipment, cross-contamination, or other quality control issues, consumers are often adversely affected by exposure to the contaminated product. In spite of the seemingly straight forward nature of these cases, the particular effects of food poisoning make these cases difficult to pursue in court.
A class action lawsuit is the most common route to compensation for damages resulting from tainted products; however, some factors particular to food poisoning illness make it hard to pursue compensation with class action. Symptoms in these cases may range from very mild, to moderate or severe. The variety of symptoms and severity often varies greatly, based on the fitness, age, and sensitivity of those affected. Often, babies and older patients encounter far worse symptoms than their younger counterparts. This variety of effect makes class action lawsuits less viable. In addition to the above concerns, courts may reject a class action lawsuit if other types of remedy (such as refunds) are preferable.
To have a legitimate claim, the litigants should have experienced similar types and severity of symptoms. Evidence that supports the victims’ exposure to the defective product is also integral to bringing a class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs in a class action claim must “opt in” to the case. While this is the best avenue for many, opting out enables those more profoundly affected to seek damages more in line with their particular case. Also, this can mean a more clear cut claim for those whose situations are similar.
If you have concerns about your claim after a food poisoning illness, consulting a lawyer to evaluate your case and help you decide if opting in to a class action lawsuit is right for you is a step in the right direction.