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Restaurant Serving Unhealthful Food Is Liable for Injuries

Van O'Steen

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Only boiled turnips may be more unappetizing than food containing foreign substances.

We all have had the occasional experience of finding a hair in our food. Most of us can tolerate that. It is unlikely to injure us or make us ill.

Rocks in beans, broken glass in beverages or bacteria in meat, however, may pose threats to our health.

If you are injured by foreign or unhealthy substances in food served in a restaurant, the restaurant owner generally will be liable to you for your injuries and damages.

These damages typically include reimbursement for medical or dental bills and any wages you may lose. You also may be compensated for your pain and discomfort.

In most cases, a restaurant will be liable for injuries to customers even though great care was used in the preparation of the food served. Those who sell food for human consumption are held to a high degree of responsibility for their products.

There is a notable exception to this rule. If you are injured by a substance commonly found in a particular item of food, and the substance is not inherently dangerous, the restaurant owner generally will not be liable for your injuries.

For example, it is common knowledge that T-bone steaks have bones in them. If you break a tooth on the bone, the restaurant will not be responsible. This legal principle is called "assumption of the risk." A customer assumes the risk associated with eating certain foods.

Fish or steak with bones are not unreasonably dangerous. Generally, restaurants will not be held liable for your damages if you are injured by these substances.  Of course, the result would be different if you broke your tooth on a piece of metal or some other foreign object in steak or fish.

When food leaves the seller's hands, it must be in a condition reasonably expected by the consumer. If it is, it will not be unreasonably hazardous. If it is not, the seller generally must be responsible for any injury or illness that results.

If you are harmed by foreign substances in food, you may wish to consult a lawyer experienced in handling personal injury matters.
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