Incidents involving the consumption of a foreign object in restaurant-served food are relatively uncommon. However, there have been several news stories in recent months on this very topic. If you went out to eat only to bite down on or swallow something in your food that is not meant to be there, you might have legal recourse.
Keep in mind that even though the restaurant served the food, it may not be the responsible party. Depending on the object and circumstances, you may need to go after the person who prepared the meal. The manufacturer of the ingredients or kitchen equipment used could also be at fault.
When it comes to personal injury cases involving foreign objects found in food, they consist of anything not “reasonably” expected to be there during consumption. Some examples of foreign objects in food include glass shards, sharp pieces of metal, rocks, pebbles, and even critters, like worms. A foreign object can also be an ingredient that should not be in a specific dish.
Because many things will determine whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit, it is essential that you consult with a reputable attorney who specializes in this area of the law. Remember, in the eyes of the law, some foreign objects are reasonable. This includes pits in a cherry pie or small bones in fish stew. In those instances, winning a case becomes challenging.
However, if the foreign object in your food was the result of the restaurant violating one or more state, county, and municipal health regulations, and you sustained an injury by biting into or consuming it, you have an excellent case. Not only that, but for the safety of other patrons, health officials would likely shut down the establishment at least temporarily to identify the source and rectify the problem.
When you hire a qualified personal injury attorney, that individual will thoroughly investigate and research every aspect of your situation. The more details gathered, the stronger your case becomes. Experiencing one or more of the following would further increase your chance of winning a lawsuit:
- Chipped or damaged tooth/teeth
- Cuts to the mouth or throat
- Allergic reaction to an ingredient not intended for the dish
- Illness from ingesting the object
If possible, keep the foreign object; otherwise, retrieve it once it passes through the body. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, along with contact information for the person who prepared the dish and the restaurant manager. If faulty restaurant equipment caused your injury, try to get the manufacturer’s information, as well. Along with that, you would provide your attorney with any medical or dental bills.
For a personal injury case like this, there are several goals. Your attorney will try to prove that first, the restaurant owner or manager failed to take reasonable care or follow mandated regulations; second, that the foreign object in your food caused your injury; and third, that you suffered “real damages.” Although biting down on a worm is disgusting, there is no actual damage. On the other hand, if you cut the inside of your mouth on broken glass, your attorney will help you recover lost wages, medical expenses, and possibly compensation for pain and suffering.