Visitor Question

Mouth Injured by Plastic in My Food…

Submitted By: Helen (Monrovia, CA)

One of my friends bought a California type roll and we were eating it together. After few bites I felt something in my mouth and got hurt by it. When I spit it out, I saw it was a sharp piece of plastic. Obviously it was from the to-go food that my friend brought.

We called the restaurant to complain and they acknowledged their mistake and asked me how they could compensate for the injury. I just told them I will call back later. Do I have a case here? What should I do? How much should I ask for? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Helen,

It appears you don’t have a case. From the facts you present your mouth “got hurt”. It’s not clear if you bled, your gums or palate were cut, if you required emergency room care, or any other medical assistance. Without medical documentation of an injury, you won’t get very far.

Too many people are “lawsuit crazy”. They think something like a piece of metal in a can, or a bug in their salad will be a ticket to riches. It’s not.

It is estimated over 120,000 frivolous lawsuits against business entities are filed in the United States every year. Frivolous lawsuits are classified as those lawsuits dismissed by the court for lack of evidence. They were all dismissed even before they reached the trial stage.

Each time one of those lawsuits was filed the defendant business had to pay attorneys to defend the suit.

Attorneys, like other professionals, cost money.

The aggregate cost of these attorneys is estimated at $350 million dollars annually. The $350 million dollars is passed down to the consumer. So a hamburger which would normally sell for $2.00 dollars becomes a hamburger which now costs $3.00 dollars. That amounts to over a billion dollars annually.

Add to that the clogging of the judicial system…

Those frivolous lawsuits take up part of the courts’ dockets. As a result, cases of substance are pushed further and further down the line. In the United States it can take months, and in some states even years for a meritorious lawsuit to get to trial.

The restaurant probably serves thousands of sandwiches a year. Of those maybe 3 or 4 may have some sort of a foreign object inadvertently left in them.

If you don’t have proof of injury, forget about a lawsuit. You bit on a piece of plastic and that in itself is not grounds for a lawsuit. If you can’t prove with medical documentation that you were seriously injured by it, then you don’t have grounds for compensation. Short of any medical substantiation, you don’t have a case.

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

Best of luck,

Published: October 25, 2011

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