Piece of wire in chinese food cracked my molar!

by Cindi
(Port St. Lucie, FL)

I ordered Chinese Food yesterday (Orange Chicken). They refused to deliver unless my order was over $12, so I ordered 2 dinners, one to have that night and one the next.

In the second to last bite of the chicken tonight, I felt a 'crunch" in my back tooth. I thought, "oh no, a bone." So I moved the chicken piece forward in my mouth and it cut the inside of my cheek, then my tongue. So I just opened my mouth and spit it out.

I spit out pieces of my tooth, the chicken with a slim piece of wire through it, and blood. The wire cracked and shattered one of my molars, and cut up my tongue and the inside of my left cheek.

Of course, the restaurant is closed now. Am I entitled to compensation? My lower right molar is now missing part of the tooth. What do I do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Piece of wire in chinese food cracked my molar!":

Cindi (Port St. Lucie, FL):

You are certainly entitled to compensation from the restaurant IF you are able to prove your injury was caused by the restaurant's negligence. A restaurant has what is referred to as a "legal duty of care" to prepare and serve food which is safe for its patrons to eat.

From the facts you present it appears the restaurant negligently left a piece of wire in one of the servings you purchased and ultimately consumed.

Hopefully you saved the piece of wire, the pieces of your broken tooth, and your receipt. Immediately, or as soon as is reasonably possible, contact the restaurant owner and explain what happened. Tell the owner you expect her to pay for the required dental work, and any related costs, including but not limited to, costs of medication, lost wages, and an additional amount for your pain and suffering.

Don't delay having your tooth repaired. You have a legal duty to "mitigate" your damages. This means the restaurant is liable for the repair to your tooth, but not for any further damage caused by your hesitance in having the tooth promptly repaired.

Realistically, it's unlikely the restaurant owner will accept liability and admit negligence. The owner will probably say your injury had nothing to do with her food. In that case, you have a couple of choices.

You can file a small claims lawsuit against the restaurant owner, seek legal representation, or "chalk up" the matter to experience. In the State of Florida small claims courts have a jurisdictional amount of $5,000.00 (the maximum amount you can sue for).

If the costs of dental work exceed that amount, or if you don't want to file your own lawsuit, you can speak with a personal injury attorney. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation. If the attorney isn't successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees.

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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