Injuries Caused By Foreign Objects in Food

Many people have had the unpleasant experience of taking a bite of food and finding something unsavory in it, such as a piece of hair. If this happens while you are dining at a restaurant or other establishment which serves food, you can usually ask a server or a manager to bring you a new plate of food. Sometimes, though, foreign objects are discovered in food in a traumatic way.

In August of 2004, Stanley Pinkham ate a hot turkey sandwich during his break at work. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his upper abdomen. Pinkham feared that he was having a heart attack, and he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. When Stanley Pinkham was examined at the hospital, doctors found that he had a perforation in his esophagus which would require surgical repair. The doctors also found fragments of bone near the esophageal perforation, and concluded that Mr. Pinkham’s injury had been caused by the bone fragments.

Injuries Caused by Foreign Objects in Food are not as Rare as You May Think

Mr. Pinkham is not alone in his experience. Each year, thousands of Americans are injured by foreign objects in food. Some of the items that American consumers have found in food include hardware, rocks, glass, syringes, metal, and insects. Finding any of these items in your food is a disgusting experience, and it can be dangerous, too. A sharp object can cause deep lacerations in the mouth, or, if it is swallowed, can cause extensive damage to the esophagus, stomach, or other internal organs. Large objects pose a choking hazard. Hard objects can damage teeth. Biological contaminants can cause serious illnesses. If you have been injured by a foreign object which was present in food that you ate, you may be able to recover for the damages that you have experienced as a result of your injury.

Manufacturers are Liable for Injuries Caused by Defective Food Products

After Stanley Pinkham was injured by bone fragments in his turkey sandwich, he filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the “boneless” turkey that had been used to make the sandwich. The suit was brought under Maine’s strict liability law, 14 M.R.S. § 221. The company which manufactured the turkey, Cargill Inc., tried to get the case dismissed on the basis that bone fragments are a natural component of turkey.

Pinkham’s case went all the way to the Maine Supreme Court, which ruled that regardless of whether a substance contained in a food product is natural, a manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by the substance if a consumer would not reasonably expect it to be present in that food. Pinkham v. Cargill, Inc., No. 11-340 (ME, 2012)

What Types of Damages Can I Recover?

If you have experienced pain and suffering as a result of an injury caused by a foreign object in food, you may be able to recover for damages. Likewise, you may be able to recover for any medical bills that you have incurred while obtaining treatment for your injury. If your injury was so severe that you had to miss work, it is even possible that you could recover for lost wages for the time that you missed.

Peter Thompson & Associates: Helping Foreign Object Injury Victims Across Maine

If you have been injured by a foreign object that was contained in food that you ate, the personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates would like to know more about your experience. With offices in Portland, Bangor, and Falmouth, our dedicated team of professionals is easily accessible to clients throughout the state of Maine. Please call us today, at 1 800.804.2004 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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