Sprained jaw from biting into a screw in my salad...
(Manassas, VA, U.S.A)
I had ordered a salad from a friend who brought it to me. I then ate it in front of someone at a salon. She saw me bite into something hard and pull it out. There was a screw in my food! I then started getting pains in my jaw, so I went to the hospital and found out I had a sprained jaw.
The manager at the restaurant offered coupons and gave the franchise owner's info. I talked to the franchise owner and explained the situation, and I also emailed him pics of the screw I bit into. He offered to refund the meal and said they were investigating.
I'm not sure what my options are, I tried contacting a lawyer but they wouldn't take my case because the injury isn't a long lasting injury. They suggested me going to small claims, but I feel like that's not enough. If I had swallowed that screw I could've died! How and what can I do? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Sprained jaw from biting into a screw in my salad...":
Magda (Manassas, VA, U.S.A):
It appears you don't have much of a case. Here's why...
To have the basis of a viable personal injury claim, you must have sustained substantial "damages." Damages can include present and future medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You could have swallowed the screw...but thankfully you didn't. Even if you had swallowed the screw, unless it caused damage to your stomach lining, intestine, or other vital organs, you would still likely not have the basis of a personal injury claim.
It is true the restaurant should pay for your hospital bill. It was perfectly reasonable for you to go to the hospital to see if the screw caused any damage, including tetanus. You really don't have much of a claim for any pain and suffering. At most, you were understandably shaken and upset. You also apparently don't have any lost wages or out-of-pocket expenses.
The attorneys are correct. If the restaurant won't agree to pay for your medical bill, then you have a right to sue the restaurant in small claims court. If you have to take time off from work, and/or have to pay for parking or other related expenses, be sure you include that in your suit as well. You can even add the cost of gasoline at about $.55 cents a gallon.
Be sure to have a written letter from your employer verifying your lost wages, and recipts for any other costs.
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,
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