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Lombardi Law Firm

Torts 101: Damages is a necessary element in any personal injury claim

Steve Lombardi
Iowa civil trial, workers' compensation and personal injury lawyer

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gotta have a boo-booQuestion: Do I have a case if I found a staple embedded in meat I was eating while dining at a restaurant? I chewed it and spit it out, notify the waitress and manager immediately. They comp-ted my meal, but charged my spouse and I for the rest of our meal, then confiscated the staple, "saying they need evidence". One end was rounded and the other end was sharp and sticking out, after I pulled the meat out of my mouth.

Answer: The short answer is "no". A kid runs through a grocery store and slips on water, falls down, slides down the aisle laughing, gets up and starts running again. An elderly woman seeing the boy laughing turns the corner slips on the same water and breaks a hip. The woman has a claim because she has damages, but what about the kid? No claim. There are no damages and therefore no claim for "personal injury".

Now a word of caution when anyone finds a foreign object in their meal or any package food: The store or manufacturer will always say they need the item and then it will be promptly lost, destroyed or “sent to a lab” where it will be, drum-roll please, LOST. Uh-huh, sure it’s called destruction of evidence. They do it so you can’t prove your claim. For the cost of a meal they settled your claim.

In this instance it doesn’t matter because the fourth element of the tort is not provable. There are no damages, but we can still learn from someone else’s question. It’s a good question by the way. 

Category: Dog Bite Accident Lawyer

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