Can I sue a restaurant for a bone found in my food that made me choke?

Question

Can I sue a restaurant for a bone found in my food that made me choke?

Answer

For starters, the mere presence of a bone or bone fragments in a restaurant meal does not (by itself) mean you have a valid personal injury case.

You would need to be able to prove that the restaurant and/or one of its employees was somehow negligent in serving you food that had a bone in it, and that's likely possible only if your meal contained (or was advertised or listed on the menu  as containing)  no fish, beef, chicken, or meat of any kind.

In other words, if you ordered the fish of the day and choked (or almost choked) on a bone, the restaurant can't be  held legally responsible.      

The second issue here is that you would need to establish how the restaurant's alleged negligence ended up harming you (the legalese term for this is damages).

Almost choking, or having a coughing fit,  while certainly uncomfortable, does not typically lead to quantifiable damages. Now, a lawyer could argue that the fear of choking alone qualifies as emotional harm, but that may be a tough sell absent medical records indicating some kind of physical injury.    

Now, if you really do choke on a bone in a restaurant (let's say a fellow customer administers the Heimlich Maneuver)  and you could have had no reasonable expectation that a bone would have been present in your meal (you ordered the spaghetti), then you may have a valid personal injury case against the restaurant, even if you required no medical attention.  

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