Can I Claim Compensation for Food Poisoning from a Restaurant?


Yes, you may be able to claim compensation if you suffered food poisoning after eating at a restaurant in Queensland. However, these claims can be difficult to prove, so it's essential to understand the key factors and what evidence you'll need to gather.

The Challenge of Proving Food Poisoning Claims

It can be tricky to definitively prove that you contracted food poisoning from a specific restaurant. Here's why:

  • Incubation Period: Food poisoning symptoms can take hours or even days to appear, making it harder to pinpoint the exact source of the illness.
  • Multiple Potential Sources: You might have eaten at other places or consumed other food items before or after the restaurant meal, making it difficult to isolate the culprit.
  • Laboratory Confirmation: Getting lab tests to confirm the specific bacteria or virus that caused your illness can be expensive and may not always be conclusive.

Key Factors to Support Your Claim

Despite these challenges, you can strengthen your compensation claim against a restaurant by considering these factors:

  1. Severity of the Illness: The more severe your food poisoning symptoms, the more likely it is your claim will be considered seriously. Seek prompt medical attention and keep thorough records of your symptoms and treatment.
  2. Impact on Income: If your food poisoning caused you to miss work and lose income, this strengthens your claim by demonstrating a financial loss. Keep records of your missed workdays and any lost wages.
  3. Other Affected Patrons: Were other people who ate at the same restaurant around the same time also affected? Gather all evidence from any other food poisoning victims of witnesses. This helps establish a pattern and strengthens the link between the restaurant and the illness.
  4. Restaurant's Hygiene Practices: Did you observe any poor hygiene practices at the restaurant? Were staff handling food without gloves, was food left at unsafe temperatures, or did the premises look unclean?

Evidence and How to Report Food Poisoning

Here's what evidence to gather and how to report suspected food poisoning:

  • Medical Records: This is crucial. See a doctor as soon as possible and keep records of your diagnosis, treatment, and any ongoing symptoms.
  • Receipts and Leftovers: Keep the receipt from the restaurant, and if possible, preserve any leftover food for potential laboratory testing.
  • Contact the Restaurant: While not always helpful, it might inform them of a potential food safety issue, preventing others from getting sick.
  • Report to Health Authorities:
    1. Queensland: Contact your local Public Health Unit:
    2. NSW: Contact your local council or NSW Food Authority:
    3. Victoria: Contact the Department of Health:

Important Note: Reporting suspected food poisoning to health authorities triggers an investigation to protect public health. It may also  help strengthen your compensation claim.

Legal Representation is Crucial

Due to the complex nature of food poisoning claims, it's strongly recommended to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer specializing in food contamination cases. They can help you:

  • Gather and assess evidence
  • Determine the liable party (restaurant, food supplier, etc.)
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • Represent you in court if necessary

Smith's Lawyers - Food Poisoning Claims

At Smith's Lawyers, we understand the complexities of food poisoning claims. We'll fight to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation on 1800 960 482. 

We service all of Queensland and have offices in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, and Toowoomba. Our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise ensures you don't pay any upfront legal costs.

Last updated:
May 15, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

Back to knowledge Base

If it's time to talk, we're here to help. Get free advice direct from our solicitors today.

Our company and team are members of