When something happens to you, you may wonder if it’s a reason to hire an attorney and pursue legal action. A good personal injury case involves a number of important factors: Liability ” Is the other party responsible for the incident and can it be proved (for example, does a police report or other evidence exist that documents the facts of your case)? Injuries ” To what extent were you injured? What was the length of the recovery? Are there permanent injuries, missing limbs, scars, loss of movement, or damaged senses? Insurance coverage ” Is an insurance company involved? This may be the insurance company of the at-fault party or your own insurance company. Proof ” Does any physical evidence exist that helps prove your case? (Such as significant damage to a car or photos of dangerous conditions.) Are there witnesses? Surveillance cameras? Medical records available to prove treatment by doctors, clinics and hospitals? At Gregory & Swapp, we primarily deal with auto accident cases, but we also handle a wide variety of other cases like dog bites, slip and falls, product liability, and dangerous drugs. We receive a number of emails that aren’t your typical question.

Here is and example of an email:

“On ____________, a friend and I went to a local [restaurant] for a quick lunch. On our way out we bought an ice cream cone for our trip back to work. My friend noticed some suspicious “flecks” in her ice cream and I noticed them, too, dismissing them as flakes of vanilla bean. She then pulled one from her cone, a sliver of approximately 1/4in and had me feel it. We then suspected them as metal shavings. We called the restaurant to let them know that there were metal shavings in their ice cream and they said that they would clean the machine and we were welcome to a new cone the next time we come in. So we called the Health Department in [city] for them to investigate because we were irritated at how easy it was to dismiss us. The Health Department went down there right away and the manager insisted that they only use plastic utensils to clean the machine. So we brought our ice cream cones down to the Health Department in zip-lock baggies so they can analyze the flakes in their lab. The Health Department confirmed that the flecks are indeed metal shavings. They are now investigating and have determined that it’s not the manufacturer that [restaurant] receives their ice cream from so the department is checking on the process of how they use and clean the machine (as the machine itself is made of metal). We have both been sick ever since eating over half of the ice cream cones and are worried about the health risks associated with ingesting metal shavings. Please let me know what our options are. Thank you very much for your time.”

Our response in these situations is to evaluate the case based on the criteria above. First and foremost in this situation is, were there any injuries? At this point, nothing has been identified so we advised this individual if they believe they may have been injured, to seek medical treatment and document everything carefully. If no injuries are sustained that require medical attention, realistically, this won’t develop into a case. On the other hand if this person had sustained injuries and incurred medical expenses through the negligence of the restaurant in the way they delivered what should have been a safe product to their customer, then there may be a viable case to bring restitution for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Each situation differs and we do not wish to write off your case with a single example such as this. It is always best to contact the personal injury lawyers at Gregory & Swapp and let us help you evaluate the individual and unique circumstances of your situation. Call us today for a free consultation.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp