Visitor Question

Broken tooth from eating a burrito…

Submitted By: Aimee (Holland , MI)

I was eating at a restaurant and ordered a wet burrito. As I was taking a bite I bit into a piece of hard plastic and it broke my tooth. I have no dental insurance and I want to know, must they pay for the repairs or am I screwed?

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 Aimee,

Hopefully, you reported the incident to the manager. If so, it’s likely an Incident Report was generated. In that report will be your name, your contact information, and a description of what occurred. While the manager or restaurant owner is under no legal duty to give you a copy of the incident report, it would be a good idea to ask for one. This will help to assure the factual basis of the injury will not be distorted at a later time.

The restaurant, whether a franchise or a “mom and pop” restaurant, has a legal duty of care to protect those persons legally upon the property. This is referred to as Premises Liability.

In this case, the duty of care extended to you. Under premises liability, the restaurant owner must do everything within reason to assure customers are safe and not unduly harmed. While there is no exact definition of within reason, it’s fair to say the restaurant owner, or an employee should have checked to see if there were any foreign objects in the burrito served to you. That would certainly have been reasonable.

The failure of the owner, manager, or employee to be sure there was not a foreign object in your burrito constituted negligence. That negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injury.

As a result, the restaurant owner should compensate you for your dental bills and related expenses, including any medications you had to purchase, and  lost wages, if you had to take time off from work to see the dentist. It’s also arguable the compensation should include an amount for your pain and suffering.

Contact the restaurant owner. Explain what happened and ask to have your dental bills and out of pocket expenses paid. Ask for an additional amount for your pain and suffering.

If the restaurant owner won’t cooperate, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit. In the State of Michigan, Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction, meaning authority, to hear cases up to $5,000. Let’s hope the matter can be settled, and small claims court avoided.

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 19, 2017

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