Am I liable for compensation if I donate food and someone gets ill?

Published 18 Dec 2018

Bake sales, pot lucks and charitable events are three examples of when someone may donate food. While generous, sometimes such gestures can result in cases of food poisonings.

But what happens if you donate food and someone becomes ill as a result? Are you liable for compensation under the Civil Liability Act?

The dangers of food poisoning

Every year, more than four million Australians are affected by food poisoning, according to the NSW Government Food Authority. Typically, people experience mild symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea which tends to last for a few hours. However, food poisoning can have more severe effects for some, resulting in problems that last for days or even months.

Serious symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Relentless nausea.
  • Death.

These can cause those affected to miss work, rack up large medical bills and experience an overall loss in enjoyment of life.

As a result, people experiencing food poisoning may have a case for compensation under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) if they can prove liability.

When is a person liable for food poisoning?

Under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), food donors are protected from facing liability for injuries caused from food poisoning if the food was:

  • Safe for consumption at the time it left their control.
  • Donated in good faith for a charitable purpose.
  • Required to be handled in a particular way to ensure if remained safe to consume after it left the control of the food donor.
  • Left with specific handling instructions from the food donor, including a time limit on safe consumption.
  • Donated with the intention that the consumer would not have to pay for the food.

If the food donor breaches any of the above requirements, they can be found liable for personal injury, leaving those affected to begin the compensation process.

How to make a claim for compensation

If you believe your food poisoning experience could have been prevented and was caused as a result of another's negligent behaviour, it's important to seek legal advice. Matters relating to personal injury can be extremely hard to determine negligence. Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we can work with you to ensure you have the relevant documents and evidence on hand to bolster your chances.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your personal injury claim.