Wood splinters in my ready rice?
(Ephrata, PA, USA)
I heated up some Uncle Ben's ready rice and poured it into a bowl. I put some ranch dressing on it and began to eat. After two bites I felt something stab into my gums, to my surprise I pulled out a wood sliver.
I combed through my rice and found what I could and discarded the rest. I immediately called the customer hotline to report the incident and they told me to send the package and the wood splinters to them, once I receive coupons and the return envelope.
Should I call a lawyer or take the coupons? I mean I was stabbed in the mouth with wooden splinters. I feel like coupons aren't going to make that intense unnerving pain-filled moment leave my memories. I don't feel like food is safe anymore. Do I have a case?
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ANSWER for "Wood splinters in my ready rice?":
C (Ephrata, PA, USA):
While your experience was certainly unfortunate, relatively speaking, the injury you sustained was minor. Unless your injury was more serious, requiring medical treatment and other costs which can be documented, you really don't have a credible personal injury claim.
We are a litigious society. Today, people hear about victims receiving millions of dollars for spilled hot coffee, hundreds of thousands of dollars for perceived insults, and other compensation for other aberrant cases.
In reality, those cases represent less than .001 percent of all successfully resolved personal injury lawsuits in the United States today. Moreover, those same million dollar cases are frequently overturned on appeal. The media seldom reports those events.
For you to have a successful personal injury claim requires you to have sustained "damages." Damages can include medical, chiropractic, and even dental bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, crutches, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In your case, you arguably sustained pain and suffering, but the relatively minor pain and suffering you sustained isn't enough to sustain a legitimate personal injury claim. While the manufacturer is technically is liable for allowing the splinters to be in your rice, all you can reasonably hope to recover is an apology, and maybe some coupons.
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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