The first impulse to something foreign in your food may be that of shock, disgust, even a bit of scare, but the ramifications go much deeper. Most people may laugh such incidences off as comic and harmless but this is far from the truth. The damage caused by foreign objects in someone’s food can be irreversible in some cases and even if the harm is moderate, such occurrences should never be ignored.
It can be anything, perhaps just a piece of plastic, or nails, or rocks, or some contaminant. Whatever the case, you should start gathering evidence on the spot for your lawsuit later on. Hotels, restaurants, and fast-food chains are required by the law to follow through with certain food quality standards, and having foreign objects in their servings kind of comes in the way of this whole thing.
If you were wondering what the law holds for you in this regard and what are your options then you’ve come to the right place. Let us cut to the chase and tell you that you can indeed sue the liable party for their negligence but by how much? This is a tricky question, and before we go any further in this regard, let’s take a step back and observe the nature of the problem itself.
Read on to find out what you can do to get compensated fairly.
Foreign Objects In Your Food
All fast-food chains, restaurants, diners, hotels, and other places where they serve food need to adhere to certain food quality standards. They must ensure that their preparations are of the highest quality, safe to consume, and free from contamination. However, the fast-food industry is built on speed above everything else – people who visit such food spots are usually in a hurry to get served and be done with eating – that’s why they’re called “fast” food chains.
This sense of rush can sometimes make the staff oblivious to the threat of contamination, even though they are required to follow through with all the safety protocols and exercise safe food handling techniques. But since most of the ingredients are usually prepared in advance and then pieced together to create the customer’s order, there is room for error.
If some foreign object is left inside the burger patty, for instance, there would be no way of knowing once the patty has been prepared. Following this, no matter how vigilant the staff is, there would be no way to make corrections. Thus even the slightest negligence can lead to disaster. Food preparation should be done in the most responsible manner possible and the staff should be extra vigilant, noticing even the slightest details because not only is the reputation of the restaurant at stake here but so is the safety and well-being of the person who is to consume the food item.
If some foreign object does find its way into the food of a customer, then only the restaurant or the staff will be considered liable for any damages.
What Types Of Foreign Objects Can End Up In Your Food?
Any foreign objects can find their way in your burger, sandwich, or even your juice, the possibilities (and past cases) are quite diverse. Such occurrences have happened both in fast food chains (which a much greater frequency) and regular sit-in restaurants as well (or with other food manufacturers), and all sorts of objects can find their way in your edibles such as:
- Metallic fragments
- Pieces of plastic
- Metallic nails/screws
- Rocks or pebbles
- Cherry pit
- Fragments of wood
And in some cases, even human fingers have found their way in people’s food!
Be sure to discuss things with your personal injury lawyer for legal advice and to deal with your foreign body in food claim and to demand compensation for the losses, i.e. physical pain, emotional distress, loss of income, medical bills, and so on.
Consequences Of Foreign Objects Finding Their Way In Eatables
The exact effects of each type of contamination in a food product are different, some carry infectious diseases (or may possibly infect a person) while other objects are hard and can cause damage to the teeth, yet other objects can cause choking. The damage varies, depending on the exact nature of the contaminant, sometimes, people even die because of a foreign object in their food.
People often break their teeth when feasting on such objects in food, their dentures may also end up sustaining serious damage. This not only causes an excruciating amount of physical pain but also costs a fortune to repair and bring back to the previous state. And if someone accidentally swallows such an object, that too can be extremely dangerous.
In most cases, urgent hospitalization or even surgery may be needed, or else the person might lose their life.
Some of the most common injuries resulting from foreign objects in someone’s food are as follows:
- The person may sustain internal cuts in the oral cavity
- The teeth might be damaged (possibly broken teeth), perhaps even seriously
- Infections arising due to the contamination
- An allergic response triggered due to the object
- Lacerations in the oral cavity and digestive tract
- Physical injury to internal organs
- Choking, in case the object gets lodged in the esophagus
- Death, in extreme cases
What Will You Get In Compensation For Such An Offense?
This much is certain that the restaurant owner ad management staff are responsible for the safety of their customers and for ensuring that the food served aligns perfectly with the quality standards set in place by the local governing bodies. If they fail to follow through with this duty of care, then the restaurant will be considered liable for any damages that result due to their negligence.
But when clients come over to legal professionals and ask how much will they get if they sue a certain restaurant for having foreign objects in the food, then that’s a bit tricky. All cases are unique, there are differences in the extent of damage and much more. As with any other personal injury case, there are simply too many variables to consider at a time.
Your lawyer will be able to give you an estimate of your possible object in food compensation based on the details you provide (i.e. medical records, bills, etc.) for your claim for compensation, but there is no guarantee (for a successful claim) that you’ll actually get compensated at that level.
However, there are some possibilities for harmful object in food injury cases:
- On average, the lawsuit may be worth over $100,000 given that the damages were severe.
- If the establishment failed to act responsibly even though they knew of the possible risk, then the lawsuit may value even more than $200,000.
- Class action lawsuits can value greater than $10,000,000.
As for your unexpected object in food compensation claim, the damages caused by foreign material in your food will be divided into three major categories: economic losses, non-economic losses, and punitive damages. The foremost segment of the object in food claims covers all your expenses, for medical attention, extra costs necessitated by the incident, lost wages, and other monetary losses.
Noneconomic damages in a food injury claim encompass all the pain and suffering which can’t be assigned a monetary value on their own. Punitive damages are hard to pursue, but if some mal-intent is discovered, you might be able to demand them as punishment to the liable party so as to discourage such behavior in the future.
The average settlement varies, but your lawyer will make sure that the responsible restaurant pays up for the damages caused to you.
When clients come over at Kelly & Associates, our personal injury attorneys do all they can to best guide them about their position in their personal injury claim and show them what their options are in this regard, i.e. legal action against the liable party. Our initial consultation is completely free and you won’t have to give us any advance on our attorney fees either.
Call us today for more information!