Delivery services such as Postmates typically deliver food for a variety of restaurants. However, there are also restaurants that deliver their own food. The most popular example would probably be pizza.
However, any restaurant that causes someone to become sick because of contaminated food can generally be held liable for any losses caused. This also applies to food that is delivered, because in the majority of cases, restaurants can be held liable for causing illness according to California’s negligence laws. Learn more about California’s food tampering laws.
All restaurants, from the local pizza spot to a high end sushi joint, owe their customers a duty to serve food that is not contaminated. However, a customer who was made sick by a restaurant’s food needs to be able to prove that a restaurant, or a restaurant’s employee, was negligent and that negligence was the cause of their illness.
Let’s consider an example: Say that Shannon has become disgruntled with her job as a pizza cook. To make things worse, Shannon just discovered that she has a communicable disease which can be transmitted by saliva. Shannon doesn’t think anything of it, but she decides to spit on a freshly made pizza.
The pizza arrives at its destination and is eaten by Bob, a man with a weakened immune system. Bob immediately becomes very ill the next day and suspects that the pizza made him sick.
To successfully pursue a personal injury claim for damages, Bob needs to show that:
- The pizza restaurant and its employees owed Bob a duty of care
- The pizza restaurant and its employees breached this duty through negligence, such as by selling contaminated food
- The pizza restaurant and its employees’ negligence was the significant factor that caused Bob harm
Proving that a restaurant’s food caused an illness can be challenging. There are some illnesses that manifest immediately, while others may take days to make you sick. E. coli, for example, sometimes takes up to a week to cause any adverse effects.
Proving a specific restaurant made you sick can possibly be proven by having direct evidence that the food you ate was contaminated. For example, if you have leftovers they can be tested. You may also be able to show that several other people were also made sick by the same food to help strengthen your claim.
We recommend visiting a doctor or a medical professional to get tested in the event that you become ill from drinking or eating contaminated food. As mentioned, there are tests to determine which virus, bacteria, or pathogen made you sick. Such tests may help figure out whether the restaurant, the source of the food, or a sick employee was responsible for your illness.