If my mom bought chicken at a market store and bit down on a screw and hurt her tooth, do we have any legal recourse?

After she was done cooking the meal, she found a rusted screw in her plate. We checked that the screw didn’t belong to the pot, spatula or cabinets. My mom slightly hurt her tooth. What should we do or should we disregard the incident?

Asked on October 13, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the market allowed or caused a foreign object (the screw) to get into the food, they could be liable (financially responsible) for any injuries it causes. However, you write that you mother's tooth was only "slightly" hurt. If so, the question is, how much compensation is she entitled to? The amount of compensation you can receive is related to the extent of the injury, the degree to which it impairs your life, and the cost of medical care (your out-of-pocket costs; that is, the portion of medical cost not paid by insurance). As a very rough rule of thumb, unless the medical cost (e.g. dentist) is $500 or more, it's likely not worth a lawsuit--even a small claims case, acting as your own attorney; unless the medical cost is in excess of $3,000, it's not worth hiring an attorney.


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