Can I sue a potato chip company if I chipped my tooth on something that wasn’t supposed to be in a bag of chips?

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Can I sue a potato chip company if I chipped my tooth on something that wasn’t supposed to be in a bag of chips?

I bought a bag of chips and started eating them. I bit down onto something so hard it chipped my tooth. When I pulled it out my mouth it looks like glass or plastic and it’s rock hard.

Asked on May 5, 2012 under Personal Injury, Minnesota

Answers:

Barry J. Simon / The Law Office of Barry J. Simon

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I need to know whether you kept the object that you bit on as evidence and what impact is the chipped tooth having on your life? Is it visible to the public? Does it effect your ability to eat? Can it be fixed?

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit for negligence and strict liability, naming both the manufacturer (potato chip company) and the seller (store where you purchased the potato chips) as defendants.

This area of law is products liability.

Negligence is the failure to exerise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable manufacturer would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to produce a product that is not defective).

Strict liability is liability imposed whether or not due care was exercised.

As mentioned above, both the manufacturer and seller are liable for negligence and strict liability.  Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.  The store is liable even if it could not have known that the product was defective.

When you complete your medical (dental) treatment and are released by the doctor/dentist, obtain your medical/dental bills, medical/dental reports and if applicable documentation of any wage loss.  Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for the manufacturer and seller of the potato chips.  Your personal injury claim should include the medical/dental bills, medical/dental reports and documenation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical/dental bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical/dental reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical/dental bills.  If the case is settled with the insurance carriers for the manufacturer and seller, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with one, but not both the manufacturer's and seller's insurance carriers, only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a defendant in your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  If the case is NOT settled with either the manufacturer's or seller's insurance carriers, name both the manufacturer and seller as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier(s), reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence and strict liability prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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