Legal Question in Personal Injury in Oklahoma

My wife ate under cooked chicken at a local restaurant and become very ill because of it. She was pregnant at the time which complicated the situation. We contacted our doctor and were advised that if we went to the hospital and had her stomach pumped it could complicate the pregnancy, but to go if it became worse. I contacted the restaurant about the incident by going to their corporate website and lodging a complaint. It was passed down to their insurance company for compensation. Meanwhile days after this incident we went to her doctor and was told that the baby's heartbeat had slowed down to 137 bpm, (Beats Per Minute), an 11 point drop from all the other visits that were 148 bpm. Since then she delivered our son on 8/12/09, but with complications, for he has been on a heart monitor until just recently 8/28/09. The insurance company wants us to give them the only evidence I have of this, the uncooked chicken. After we found the condition of the chicken, I immediately put the chicken in a zip lock baggy and froze it. After I hand deliver the uncooked chicken, they want us to come up with a figure for compensation and after all the problems we've had, I can think of an enormous one.

I�ve read all kinds of articles stating how food poisoning can affect a person later in life because it attacks certain organs that aren't always detected right away. It seriously affects, senior citizens and in my case newborns generally. Given this information what is a realistic figure? Your answer is greatly appreciated!

Asked on 8/30/09, 12:37 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Wayne Allison Allison Legal, LLC

First, I would not suggest giving the insurance company the evidence; rather, I would suggest you get an attorney to assess the entire situation in detail. If the insurance company is already willing to pay, then they believe they're liable. Generally, based on my experience, you can count on the insurance company NOT being fair with you; an attorney can change that situation. Lastly, in regards to the insurance company's position, I would suggest you get whatever you can from them in writing. As well, if you have a statement from the restaurant that they were liable, that would be helpful (and more helpful if in writing). In Oklahoma you can record a conversation without telling the other party you're speaking with, so if you have someone at the restaurant that readily admits liability, it may be wise to get it recorded.

As for valuation, an attorney will typically hire and use an expert to come up with a value. The expert can testify to his/her assessment and valuation in a trial, so a jury has something to use as a guage for damages. Also, an attorney may want to research applicable laws on cooking chicken to argue the company was negligent per se and possibly argue for punitive damages.

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Answered on 9/04/09, 8:56 am

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