I went to the McDonald’s down the street from my job site for my lunch break. I ordered a 20 piece Chicken nuggets from the drive through and was starting eating them on my way back to work. While I was eating I felt something hard on the right right side of my mouth, but thought it was just breading so I switched over to my left side of my mouth. I took a firm bite and broke a chunk off of my top left molar.
I pulled the piece of bone out of my mouth and continued to swallow food as I was driving at the time. I didn’t realize that I had broke my tooth and swallowed it.
I called McDonald’s when I got off of work to ask them what I needed to do about the situation. The manager was helpful and had me come back with the piece of chicken bone. We took photos of both my broken tooth and the bone, she then notified her boss and had me fill out an incident report which I have a copy of as well.
I’m just contacting you to be sure I did the right steps needed because the bone was a big piece, about 2cm long and 3-4cm around, and sharp.
The manager was quite doubtful that the bone came from the chicken nugget and tried to say that they are boneless, but I know that not every little piece of bone can be accounted for when it goes through it’s manufacturing process. She feels that the insurance company will be doubtful of it too, but I have employees that I work with that saw the bone after the incident had happened.
What steps do I need to take to establish my claim? Thank you.
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Dear Creig ,
Unfortunately, these types of injuries occur at one time or another at most fast food restaurants across the country. Foreign substances are often found in restaurant food, and broken teeth are often the result. Proving such a case is difficult even when the customer is injured while eating at the restaurant. Exceptions are when it is obvious a piece of bone, metal, bug, or other foreign matter is embedded in the food.
However, once the food leaves the restaurant, such as in your case, proving the causal relationship between the foreign matter and your injury becomes more tenuous.
For example, McDonalds could take the position your injuries occurred at some point after you drove away from the restaurant and from another source other than the nuggets. Whether you have one, or a hundred fellow employees who would be willing to say they knew your tooth was not broken when you left work to go to McDonalds will be of little help.
At this point you have followed the correct protocol in establishing your injury occurred as a direct result of biting into a piece of bone in left in your Chicken McNuggets.
Keep a copy of the incident report. You should be aware the Incident Report is not an admission of liability. It is simply a report required of every manager to be completed anytime a customer claims to have been injured, whether by a slip and fall accident, a burn, employee assault, foreign matter in food, or other in-store injury.
Follow up with the manager at McDonalds. Find out when someone from the company will be contacting you. If you aren’t satisfied with the response, contact McDonalds Corporate Office at the address below and ask to speak with someone in charge of injuries and compensation.
While there is always a possibility McDonalds will agree to pay for your dental work, it is more likely they will offer you a nominal amount, sometimes referred to as a “nuisance” payout. That amount could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars, down to a free hamburger and milkshake. Even then they will likely want you to sign a Release of Liability. At this point it is impossible to know.
You can speak with several personal injury attorneys in your area. However, based on the circumstances, you may have some difficulty finding an attorney who will accept the case. It just wouldn’t be economically feasible for them to do so.
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Learn more here: Food-Related Injury Claims
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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