£2,500 compensation awarded to girl with e.coli poisoning

Case details

School girl aged 10 recovered £2,500.00 having suffered severe gastroenteritis and diarrhoea as a result of eating e.coli contaminated food at a restaurant. 

An evening out at a local restaurant turned sour for a 10 year old schoolgirl and 11 year old schoolboy who as a result were hospitalised for four days with a severe case of gastroenteritis.  In all the schoolgirl suffered diarrhoea and vomiting for a two week period following her meal at the restaurant and although she was ultimately to make a full recovery she in the intervening period lost a significant amount of weight and would not regain full strength and weight for over three months.

The problem caused the schoolgirl to miss two weeks of her holiday and two weeks schooling.  Fortunately normal bowel function was restored and there was no long term effect in terms of irritable bowel syndrome. 

The schoolboy was struck down in the early hours of the following morning to the ill-fated trip to the restaurant.  The symptoms experienced were similar to those of the schoolgirl but in addition the boy had severe abdominal pain.  The schoolboy was admitted to hospital where he also stayed for a period of four days receiving treatment by antibiotics and intravenous fluids.  In his case it was over a month before the worst of the symptoms settled down.  In the intervening period he also lost weight losing a total of almost two stones.  After a month however the worst of the symptoms started to settle down but it was a further three months before he was fully recovered and before he started to regain the weight lost.

Case Outcome

Both parties sought specialist advice in pursuing a personal injury claim against the restaurant.  Proceedings were taken before the Clerkenwell County Court where the restaurant admitted liability.  A settlement was then negotiated between the parties with each of the Claimants receiving the sum of £2,500 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.  The settlement if calculated at today's value would be £3,245. 

Because both the Claimants were children and below the age of consent they were unable to accept settlement themselves.  What was therefore required was a child settlement approval hearing which was dealt with by a District Judge in the County Court which confirmed the settlement and agreed damages.