Lost a tooth from biting into a piece of hard shell in a clam cake...

by Jack
(Pawtucket, RI, USA)

I was at a restaurant eating clam cakes. I bit into the clam cake and there was a very hard shell that ended up cracking my tooth down to the root. I told the waitress and the store manager about it, gave them the shell to look at and tried to shake it off.

I went about a week in severe pain before I called the dentist. Understand, going to the dentist is one of my biggest fears and creates great anxiety. The fact that I called them to come in surprised them and they knew I must have been in pain to do that. It turned out that I had to have the tooth pulled.

I am now looking at having an implant done which is very expensive and insurance really does not cover it. My dentist will need to refer me out to an oral surgeon for part of the process. The duration between placing in the post and the actual implant being inserted is 6-10 weeks.

I consider my pain and suffering in this matter to be high but I do not want some huge settlement. I just want to be made whole and to realize something for the inconvenience, negligence, and anxiety over the whole process.

To date, my dental expenses are estimated at $6,155.00. What would fair amount be for all of this, including the anxiety and loss of my tooth? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Lost a tooth from biting into a piece of hard shell in a clam cake...":

Jack (Pawtucket, RI, USA):

The traditional method often used by attorneys to estimate personal injury settlement demands is a multiple of the victim's medical, or in your case, dental bills. Depending upon the seriousness of the injury, multiples can range from 1 to 3, 4, or 5 times the cost of medical bills. Sometimes the multiple can be even higher.

"Soft tissue" injury demands are usually anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times the victim's medical bills. The multiple is used to take into account the victim's pain and suffering, sometimes called mental anguish or emotional distress.

Soft tissue injuries normally include sprains, superficial abrasions and bruises, and the like. Your injuries are more serious. It wouldn't be unreasonable for you to consider a demand of 4 times your dental bills, or approximately $25,000.

It's unlikely the insurance company will agree to pay that amount, but it is a fair starting point for a negotiation.

You might not want to consider less than 3 times your dental bills, or approximately $18,000. If you have any problems you can always consider seeking the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney. Most won't charge for an initial consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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