What to do if my wife was eating coconut chips and bit into something that was solid and shattered one of her molars?

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What to do if my wife was eating coconut chips and bit into something that was solid and shattered one of her molars?

My 2 sons and I heard the crack. My wife then removed 2 small pieces that turned out to be part of her molar. Eventually, the rest of her molar came out little by little; she was upset all night. I examined the bag and it does not have any type of warning. The coconut chips are suppose to be made from the inside of the coconut (white part). My wife is only 31 and has all of her teeth; she is in great health. She is going to have dental work done and I’m not sure how much that will cost. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on April 24, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your wife has claims against the manufacturer of the coconut chips and the store where she purchased the product.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for the manufactuer and store when your wife completes her dental treatment and is released by the dentist.  She should obtain her dental bills, dental reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Her personal injury claims filed with the insurance carriers for both the manufacturer and the store should include these items.

Compensation for the dental bill is straight reimbursement.  The dental reports will document the nature and extent of her injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the dental bill.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with both insurance carriers (manufacturer and store), NO lawsuit is filed.  If your wife is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence and strict liability.  These are separate causes of action (claims) in the lawsuit.

The manufacturer is liable for negligence for the failure to produce a product that is not defective.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable manufacturer would have exercised to produce a product that is not defective).  Strict liability is liability imposed whether or not due care was exercised.

The seller (store where the product was purchased) is liable for negligence and strict liability even if it could not have known the product was defective.

If the case is NOT settled with either insurance carrier (manufacturer and store), name both manufacturer and store as defendants in the lawsuit.  If the case is settled with only ONE insurance carrier, name only the party with whom the case did NOT settle as a defendant in the lawsuit.

If the case is NOT settled, your wife's lawsuit for negligence and strict liability must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.

 


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