I ate at a restaurant and bit into a foreign object that chipped my tooth. Can I file a lawsuit?
We get questions like these all the time, describing an injury without much in the way of details, then asking whether a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. The answer is, of course a lawsuit can be filed. You can file a lawsuit over almost any harm that’s done to you.
The better question is should you file a lawsuit, and if you do, what are the chances that you’ll be successful? In other words, can you receive something in the way of compensation for your injuries? In many cases, you can accomplish this without filing a lawsuit, especially when the facts are on your side, the defendant has ample insurance coverage, and you’ve got significant and documentable injuries.
In your case, your chances of recovering “damages” (which is just a legal term that means compensation for your injuries) will increase dramatically if you’ve got evidence to support your claim, and witnesses that can bolster your side of the story.
You say you bit into a foreign object. Hopefully you’ve kept that foreign object (and maybe even preserved the food product it was in), and let’s hope that you also notified a restaurant employee as soon as the incident occurred. Maybe you even got the names and contact information for fellow restaurant patrons who heard you exclaim as you bit into your meal, and observed your reaction to the incident.
As for proving your injuries, you’ll need to show proof that the incident necessitated a trip to the dentist, and led to some restorative and/or cosmetic work on that tooth. Obviously, bills and treatment records from your dentist would do the trick here.
Assuming you’ve got evidence like this, your best first step might be to send a letter notifying the restaurant of your injury and your intention to make a claim (check out this Sample Claim Notification Letter). You may be surprised at the restaurant’s willingness to settle your claim, especially if it looks like you’ve for a solid case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.