Compensation for an injury caused by a foreign object in food.
We’ve all experienced the sensation of biting on an unexpected object in our food. Although usually, we are pleased to find that the offending object is merely a piece of fishbone, fat or gristle; or at the worst, something that isn’t totally out of the ordinary and can be provided for in a warning on the package. On some occasions, however, we bite into that sandwich, pie, or other food item to find that the item is ‘foreign’ - in other words there’s no reasonable explanation for it to be there. Sometimes, these foreign objects can lead to an injury. Provided it can be demonstrated that the negligence of the business or premises serving the food or drink lead to your injury, you are likely entitled to make a claim for foreign object in food personal injury compensation. MG Legal’s expert food contamination solicitors have successfully settled thousands of cases, all of them on a no win no fee basis.
What is a food foreign object contamination personal injury claim?
Put simply, any kind of injury caused by food or drink containing a foreign object served to you by another party constitutes a personal injury. A study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in early 2020 estimated that around 13% of all complaints, around 400,000 incidences, are of foreign object contaminated food occur each year in the United Kingdom, meaning this is by no means a rare occurrence. Whilst many of these instances are no more than an unpleasant incident, some do result in injury, most commonly to the mouth and teeth.
If you believe you know the cause of your food related injury and the person, or business, serving you the food was negligent in their preparation or service of the food, you are entitled to claim compensation. MG Legal’s expert food foreign object contamination solicitors can help you overcome the legal barriers to a successful claim. Once we have investigated your claim and provided we can establish negligence, expert medical evidence will be obtained and used to place a valuation on your claim. This valuation is then used to negotiate settlement with the fault party.
How does food foreign object contamination personal injury happen?
Injury in these instances almost always occurs when a sharp or hard foreign object is eaten without knowledge and so in the case of sharp objects, they can cut the tongue, gums, cheeks, roof of the mouth or the throat. In a very few cases injury can occur further into the digestive system, although it is unusual for a damaging item to get that far.
Generally, speaking, contamination will occur most commonly in mass producing plants, such as food factories and large bakeries, where extensive, large batches of food are prepared and assembled, often by mechanised equipment. It can also occur in smaller kitchens where items are either not cleaned properly or if insufficient care is not taken and items fall or are knocked into pans, bowls, dishes etc.
The most common items to be found are:
Glass – this is often difficult to see, is not picked up by metal detectors and in a kitchen or large processing plant, glass is often used and so, broken glass is a common hazard in general.
Wood – this more often comes either from wooden implements but most commonly from splinters or chips which come off pallets and similar packaging and transport materials between venues.
Stones or rocks – often brought into the processing plant with vegetables but can also come from sources inside kitchens and factories, particularly during or just after building work.
Metal – again can be brought in from fields from harvesting, but also from machinery and wiring in factories and kitchens.
Jewellery – dropped by staff manufacturing or making the food, most commonly as a result of poor staff hygiene practices
Plastic – plastic is used in countless ways in the modern world, often in small, flimsy parts which commonly break off and can easily be swept into food during manufacture or preparation.
Body parts – one of the most gruesome of possibility, whist it is rare to find full digits in food, commonly found items include fingernails and teeth , but also bones.
How can food foreign object contamination personal injury be proven?
Unlike food poisoning, where the cause is generally invisible, foreign objects can generally be retrieved and kept for evidential purposes. Many people will save the item, but also a portion of the food items itself if at home by placing it into the freezer. If you are eating out, we strongly recommend taking a photograph of the item straight away. In both instances, an early report to the supermarket, manufacturer or restaurant manager can help to corroborate the incident and establish a link to a specific item.
Further evidence can also be obtained in the form of hygiene records from the restaurant, supermarket or manufacturer and any history of similar complaints taken into account. It is not uncommon for recalls to be issued for whole lines of food items because of a known contamination and so, if there are a number of similar complaints, about a certain range of food, this can be highly helpful. This is a potentially difficult process, however, MG Legal’s specialist food contamination solicitors are not easily put off and if there is a route to success in your case, rest assured we will find it.
What types of food object injury can i make if I am injured by a foreign object in my food?
Some of the foreign objects that have injured our clients include metal nails, bolts, stones, and glass. Some of the injuries caused by foreign objects in food can be serious, others less so. They can include:
Damage to internal organs (if a sharp foreign object is swallowed)
Cuts to the inside of the mouth, gums and throat
Dental damage including cracked, chipped or lost teeth, crowns or bridges
We are all different and so, whether you have some or all of the above symptoms, or even some different symptoms, rest assured MG Legal’s expert personal injury solicitors will ensure your case is assessed by the correct medical expert.
How much is food contamination personal injury claim worth?
No two claims are identical, with overall awards comprising two separate elements, General and Special Damages. Special Damages are financial losses, whether in the form of additional expenditure for items such as medication or travel expenses or monies you lose out on such as lost earnings. These are calculated based either on receipts or invoices or evidence of past income in the case of earnings.
General Damages are your “personal injury compensation”, the monies that you are paid by the negligent party to compensate you for the period of illness and subsequent recovery. This can, again, vary from case to case dependent upon the severity of the illness, the length of time it takes to recover and the overall effect upon your life. General Damages are based on the content of an expert medical report compiled by a doctor, in these cases often a Gastroenterologist. The report is then compared with the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines (JSB), a regularly updated book based on recent awards by the Court for all conceivably types of injury. The JSB is to be found on the desk or in the briefcase of every Solicitor, Barrister and Judge who deals with personal injury. The JSB prescribes a range of awards:
Injury to the jaw: whilst it is unlikely you will sustain serious injury to the jaw, biting down on a foreign object can cause injury including dislocations. Even the most simple injuries to the jaw can result In an award of up to £8200.00
Damage to teeth: Including loss of or damage to two front teeth, awards can reach £7,160.00
Damage to one back tooth, awards can reach £1600.00
Psychological injuries: Finding an unexpected foreign body in your food can make you anxious about eating again, awards for less severe psychological injuries can reach £5,500.00
Minor injuries: Any other minor injuries, such as cuts, bruises and minor muscular injuries, which recover within three months, can reach awards of £2300.00
As you can see, even the least severe types of food foreign body contamination personal injury are still taken seriously when awards are made. The awards there are, of course, only for General Damages and so, your Special Damages are added to the awards for your actual injury.
How do I start my claim?
Simple get in touch with MG Legal by phone, email or web-contact form and we will make sure you speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor straight away. We don’t operate via agents or a call centres and so, when you contact us, you speak directly to people who will be involved in your case. We have tailor-made claim forms for every type of case to keep paperwork to a minimum and to ensure that from the start, we have the information we need from you. We will have a clear, concise Client Care Letter sent out to you, setting out the claim and how we will run it so that you know exactly what to expect. We work hard for each client and because we work on a Conditional Fee (no win no fee) agreement, we ensure that every case that can be, is successful and our success rate of over 99% speaks for itself. Contact MG Legal, specialist food contamination personal injury solicitors today and we will get the ball rolling straight away.