How To Make A Food Poisoning Claim – Compensation Examples

Food for public consumption must meet certain standards set out in legislation. This means that you can reasonably expect the food you eat to be safe. However, in some circumstances, businesses may not comply with food safety regulations. This can result in food poisoning. In this guide, we look at when these circumstances could result in having good grounds to make a food poisoning claim. You will need to meet specific claiming requirements should you wish to seek compensation. 

Additionally, we provide information about how compensation could be awarded for successful food poisoning claims. If you wish to claim compensation, you may like to have legal representation during the claims process. We conclude this guide with a look at how a solicitor can support your food poisoning compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis. 

If you have any questions or would like to find out whether you have a valid claim for food poisoning, please contact a member of our team. To talk about compensation claims for food poisoning:

  • Call 020 8050 2736
  • Request for an advisor to call you by filling out our claim online form. 
  • Ask, ‘How can a No Win No Fee solicitor help me claim for food poisoning?’ in our live chat. 

A man clutches his stomach due to food poisoning symptoms.

Select A Section 

  1. What Is Food Poisoning?
  2. When Can You Make A Food Poisoning Claim?
  3. How To Make A Food Poisoning Claim
  4. Food Poisoning Claim Calculator
  5. Why Claim For Food Poisoning On A No Win No Fee Basis?
  6. Learn More About Making A Personal Injury Claim

What Is Food Poisoning?

According to the NHS, food poisoning is an illness with symptoms that include:

  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhoea. 
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps. 
  • Fever. 
  • Feeling unwell (such as tiredness, aches or chills). 

It is caused by eating contaminated food. For example, if food is served past its use-by date, excessive bacterial growth may occur, which can make you sick. 

When Can You Make A Food Poisoning Claim?

The Food Safety Act 1990 provides the framework for all food legislation in England, Wales and Scotland. In order to have a valid compensation claim, you will need to prove that it was a liable party’s breach of a duty of care that was owed to you that caused your food poisoning. The duty of care applies to anyone supplying food for public consumption. 

  • The duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on an establishment that provides food to ensure that it is safe to eat. 
  • A breach occurs when the establishment fails to take certain food safety precautions or when its actions are harmful. 
  • You can make a food poisoning claim if you can prove that this breach caused your food poisoning symptoms. 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) enforces food safety in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This was established in the Food Standards Act 1999

How Can Food Poisoning Happen?

  • A restaurant serving undercooked food. Most types of meat can harbour bacteria in the middle, which cooking thoroughly can kill. For example, if a restaurant failed to ensure that chicken was cooked all the way and you ate this, you could suffer food poisoning. 
  • Cross-contamination can also result in food poisoning. For example, if raw meat is stored on an upper shelf in a fridge with a cake underneath it, the juice from the raw meat can drip onto the cake. If you eat this cake, you could develop food poisoning. 
  • Poor kitchen hygiene. Staff who don’t wash their hands or management who fail to implement a cleaning schedule can also cause food poisoning. For example, if a chef handles raw meat and then fails to wash their hands before preparing a salad, you could suffer food poisoning if it is served to you. 

Harmful bacteria is found in raw meat and spread by handling it with bare hands.

Can You Claim For Food Poisoning On Holiday?

You might have a valid holiday accident claim if you suffered food poisoning while on a package holiday. However, you will need to prove that the food provided was responsible for the illness. For example, if full-board was part of the package holiday and you only ate in the hotel restaurant. For further information, visit our holiday accident claims guide. 

How To Make A Food Poisoning Claim

As part of the personal injury claims process, you will need to gather evidence. The evidence you submit should show liability for the illness you suffered. 

Examples of evidence that could help a food poisoning claim include:

  • A copy of any complaints you made about the quality of the food. For example, if you reported poor food hygiene in a restaurant to the local authority
  • Your medical records if you had treatment for the food poisoning. 
  • Any packaging or receipts you have for the food you ate. 
  • A list of the food items you ate before falling ill. 

How Long Can Food Poisoning Claims Take?

As every food poisoning claim is different, there isn’t a specific timeframe for it to reach a settlement. Some of the factors that could affect how long it will take to reach a settlement include: 

  • The complexity of your claim and the nature of your illness.
  • How strongly your evidence proves that you suffered from bacterial food poisoning.  
  • Whether the other party accepts or denies liability. 
  • If you need to negotiate. For example, if the other party offers a settlement, but you do not believe this figure represents your losses, you might want to negotiate for a higher food poisoning compensation amount. 

Food Poisoning Claim Calculator

You might be looking for a compensation calculator. However, these may not tell you everything that you could be entitled to should you make a successful food poisoning claim. In this section, we are going to look at how a food poisoning compensation payout could be awarded for a successful claim. 

Settlements may consist of two parts. These are general damages for the physical pain and damage caused by food poisoning and any mental suffering the illness caused. Additionally, some claimants can recover their illness-related expenses under special damages (more on this shortly).

Those tasked with calculating general damages, such as personal injury solicitors, may use the compensation guidelines published by the Judicial College (JCG) to help them. In our table below, we look at a few figures for food poisoning from the 17th edition of the JCG. Additionally, we provide a figure in the top row to show you how compensation could be awarded for multiple illnesses caused by severe food poisoning and special damages. This top-row figure was not taken from the JCG. As all food poisoning claims are different, the table is only intended as guidance. 

InjurySeverityNotesCompensation Guideline
Multiple Severe Illnesses and Special DamagesVery SeriousClaimants can be compensated for more than one severe illness and expenses, such as lost earnings.Up to £150,000+
Food PoisoningSevereSevere symptoms include serious acute pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever that require hospitalisation. Continuing symptoms such as incontinence and haemorrhoids leave a significant impact on ability to work and enjoy life. £46,900 to £64,070
SeriousSymptoms, including vomiting and diarrhoea diminish over 2-4 weeks, but some discomfort and bowel disturbance and impact on sex life and food enjoyment last for a few years. £11,640 to £23,430
SignificantHospital admission for symptoms including discomfort, stomach cramps, alteration of bowel function and fatigue. The claimant recovers completely within 1-2 years. £4,820 to £11,640
DisablingThe claimant suffers a varying level of disabling pain, cramps and diarrhoea that last for days or weeks.£1,110 to £4,820

As stated above, some claimants may recover financial losses that have been caused by their illness. Examples of what can be recovered as part of a food poisoning claim include:

  • Lost earnings. 
  • Nursing and carer costs. 
  • Transport costs to medical appointments. 
  • Home help, such as a cleaner while you recover. 

You should save proof of your related costs, such as receipts and wage slips. This might be needed to help you recover special damages. 

Direct any questions about how personal injury compensation could be awarded to a member of our advisory team. 

Why Claim For Food Poisoning On A No Win No Fee Basis?

If you would like to pursue a food poisoning claim, you may wish to do so with legal representation. One of the personal injury solicitors from our panel could help you with your compensation claim. Our panel generally offer their No Win No Fee services under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)

When a No Win No Fee solicitor works on your food poisoning compensation claim, they:

  • Don’t ask you to pay upfront for their services. 
  • Won’t ask you to pay ongoing fees. 
  • Only take a success fee if your compensation claim is successful. This amount will be taken from your award as a legally capped percentage.
  • Don’t ask you to pay this fee if your claim fails. 

If you have any questions about claiming compensation for food poisoning, please speak to an advisor. Additionally, if you satisfy the personal injury claim eligibility criteria, you could be connected to one of the solicitors from our panel. 

To talk to an advisor about food poisoning compensation claims: 

  • Call 020 8050 2736
  • Fill in our claim online form for a call back. 
  • Ask, ‘Can I claim compensation for food poisoning?’ in our live chat. 

A solicitor discusses your food poisoning claim.

Learn More About Making A Personal Injury Claim

A few more guides:

External links that might be helpful:

Contact an advisor to get a food poisoning claim started today.