I broke a tooth when I bit into a Lindsay pitted black olives.

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I broke a tooth when I bit into a Lindsay pitted black olives.

I have contacted the company and they did an investigation and agreed to cover $3000 to have my remaining tooth removed and a partial bridge. They said they really don’t have to do anything, so I should be happy with the offer. I took photos of broken tooth and olive pit next to the can. I had the receipt from the store where I purchased the olives, plus dental records and dental visit after the injury to the tooth. The tooth that broke had a root canal a few years prior so the tooth was fragile but I never had a problem as would chew on opposite side. When I ate the olive out of the can I assumed it was soft and bit down without concern. I immediately snapped off half my tooth. Do I have a claim better than what they’re offering?

Asked on September 17, 2016 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Was there a foreign object (e.g. a screw, a stone, a hard piece of plastic, etc.) in the olive and that's why it snapped your tooth? If so, the manufacturer is almost certainly liable for having allowed a foreign object to get into their food. But if there was no foreign object and your admittedly fragile tooth just broke, they are not liable: the manufacturer is not your insurer, and is not liable just because you were hurt--they are only liable if they did something wrong. No wrongdoing, no fault and no obligation to pay.
So if there was a foreign object in the olive, you likely have a claim for your full medical costs resulting from this, possibly for some small amount of pain and suffering, and possibly for some lost wages if it made you miss work. But if you don't take their offer, you'd have to sue, which takes time and money and is not guaranteed. Unless your "hard" losses--medical costs and lost wages--comfortably exceed, say, $5,000, you are probably better off taking the $3,000 without the risk, cost, and effort of suing.
And if there was no foreign object, you are lucky to get anything, because they probably did not have to offer any compensation: take the offer.


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