We got an interesting question recently from a reader that we wanted to share with everyone. “I broke my front tooth eating candy and complained about it on social media. I was contacted by the candy company’s insurance and offered $1,300. I’ve already spent over $2,900 at the dentist; I lost three teeth total because I had to get a bridge. Sorry this is so long, but should I accept the money and settle? I appreciate your advice!” Before you accept any money from the candy company, understand what you’re giving up in exchange for that offer.
When to Accept the Candy Company’s Offer
Before you accept any money from the candy manufacturer’s insurance company, answer these questions:
- Was there a foreign object inside the candy that broke your front tooth? For example, was there a rock, piece of plastic or other foreign object that caused your dental injury? If yes, please preserve any evidence you have showing that a foreign object is responsible for breaking your front tooth. Otherwise, you may have difficulty filing or proving your claim. Here’s why we ask this question. Let’s say you bit down into a Cherry Mash, one of my favorite old-timey candies. It has a real cherry inside, so if you broke your tooth on a pit, then that’s not a foreign object. In other words, you wouldn’t have a claim.
- Do you still have the candy, wrapper or any other evidence? The reason we ask this is because if you don’t have any evidence, then you cannot file a claim. Did your social media post include photos or video showing your injury before your dentist visit? If anyone else saw what happened, ask if they’re willing to make a written statement.
- Did the dentist warn you about any potential future complications down the road? As in, did the dentist say you may eventually need dental implants or dentures to replace your bridge? Is there a better solution to fix the damage caused by the candy you ate?
If you can honestly answer “no” to all three questions, then you probably should accept the $1,300 offer. But before you do that, I’d submit copies of your dental bills showing the amount you already spent on repairs. That offer might go up!
When to File a Claim
If you answered “yes” to any or all three questions, consult an attorney. You may qualify for additional monetary damages beyond your dental bills. Typically, you cannot win more than 3x the cost of your actual damages to cover things like pain and suffering. You already said you spent $2,900 at the dentist. Roughly, that means the candy company could owe you as much as $9,000 in additional damages. Did the dentist suggest dental implants instead of a bridge, which may cause future damage to nearby teeth? Dental implants cost roughly $3,000 apiece, and insurance typically won’t cover them. You lost three teeth total from your candy injury. Add it up, and that’s $9,000 for dental implants + $9,000 for pain and suffering + $2,900 current dentist’s bills. That’s nearly $21,000 in total damages the candy company could pay for a successful claim!
Another thing to consider: Taking the candy company to small claims court. A claim like yours, with strong evidence, may be worth $21,000. But state law limits how much money you can win in small claims court. Take your case to small claims court in Kentucky, and you can’t win more than $2,500. In Tennessee, however, you could win up to $25,000. But if you don’t live in TN, I have some bad news. No other state’s small claims court lets you win more than $15,000 in damages. In fact, most award plaintiffs no more than $10,000. So, to get all the money your claim may be worth, you need a personal injury attorney.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney for Free
Hopefully you took photos, had a friend witness your tooth break and found a foreign object inside the candy. In an ideal world, we’d document everything perfectly when we suffer an accidental injury like yours. But the fact is, most people don’t think about preserving evidence when they’re in pain or emotional distress. The candy company likely saw your post and got their insurance company involved to try and quickly resolve the issue. It’s possible that many people suffer similar injuries from the same candy that broke your front tooth. If so, the candy company wants to avoid any negative PR or backlash that might hurt their sales revenue.
If you took photos, video or saved the candy, talk to a lawyer. Same advice if a witness saw your candy incident. I once broke a tooth while eating ice cream, believe it or not! I obviously couldn’t prove the ice cream broke it. But, the two events happened at the same time. Without any evidence showing a cause (the candy) led to an effect (your broken tooth), you don’t have a claim. However, an attorney can assess your situation and give legal advice based on all available evidence. Sign up for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case over the phone. The lawyer may tell you to take the candy company’s offer and settle, which costs you nothing. Only you can decide whether to file a claim or simply accept their $1,300 offer.
Related: Personal Injury Claim Timeline & Average Payout Amounts
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.