When You’re Injured at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

ELI5: Negligence

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If you’ve had the misfortune of sustaining injury on Thanksgiving, you may be wondering whether or not you have options regarding compensation. Depending on how you were injured, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. However, it must be said that, for most families, attending Thanksgiving dinner is a fairly low-risk activity. But, between carving a turkey and discussing politics with your in-laws, there is always a chance for injury to occur. And, as we’ve previously stated, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries under certain circumstances.

When You Overeat 

Can you sue your grandmother for overfeeding you? We asked the question over social media last year. Fortunately, or unfortunately—depending on how you look at it, you cannot sue your grandmother for feeding you too much on Thanksgiving. Since you have full control over the amount of food you ingest, the proximate cause of your injury would be you putting the food in your mouth, not your grandmother cooking delicious food, or using all of her manipulation tools to get you to eat more. Furthermore, it may be difficult to recover compensation for your injuries. Although it’s definitely inconvenient to have to run to the bathroom after eating a huge meal, there doesn’t seem to be any damages

Altercations with Family

A lot of people understand that assault is a criminal matter. However, most people don’t realize that assault can also be a civil matter. So, if you realize that your daughter in law stole your pecan recipe, and brought the pecan pie to Thanksgiving without even asking if you were going to bring pecan pie (and you did bring pecan pie), punching her in the face may result in a lawsuit.

There’s a difference between civil lawsuits and criminal charges. In a criminal case, the defendant is being tried for a crime. If convicted, the defendant will face penalties such as being fined or sentenced to time in jail or prison. In a civil trial, the defendant is being sued civilly and may be ordered to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries. However, in civil trials, there will be no criminal penalties.

Food Poisoning

If you get food poisoning on Thanksgiving, you also might actually have a claim. Especially if the food poisoning is severe and you require hospitalization. However, it may be difficult to prove who is at fault for your food poisoning. If Grandma’s cranberry sauce causes eight people at the table to become severely ill, you may have a claim against Grandma. But if several families become ill by using the same brand of cranberries, there may be a product liability case here. When you have a product, those producing the product have a responsibility to ensure the product isn’t an “unreasonably dangerous product”. If a company accidentally uses contaminated cranberries, they may be liable for any injuries that result from ingesting the contaminated sauce.

Kitchen Injuries

Depending on your circumstances, you may have a claim for injuries you’ve sustained in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. For example, if your family leaves you at Aunt Barb’s place, and Barb’s too busy knitting to keep an eye on you, she might be liable for any injuries you sustain while in the kitchen—especially if you’re a very young child. Caregivers are responsible for ensuring that they provide those in their care with a reasonable amount of supervision. If Aunt Barb hands you a large sharp knife and tells you, a four-year-old child, to carve the turkey while she’s getting gravy at Walmart, Barb could be liable for your injuries. When a caregiver doesn’t provide a reasonable amount of supervision, it’s called negligent supervision. However, it may be difficult to argue that your aunt should have provided more supervision if you’re a fully functional adult. 

Allergic Reactions

If you’re serving food, and you know one of your guests may be allergic to the food, it may be a good idea to prepare the food with allergens in a manner that reduces the risk of contamination.

Though you may not always be found liable for another person’s allergic reactions, keeping your guests safe should always be a priority, even when it comes to your less desirable family members. Excluding dishes altogether might be ideal for guests with severe allergies. When it comes to preventing allergic reactions, both the host and the guest have responsibility and should communicate. If you have allergies, it’s your responsibility to notify the host that you may have an allergic reaction.

When You Need an Attorney

At Moxie Law Group, we’re dedicated to promoting safety and educating our community about personal injury. If you’ve been injured and you’re considering filing a claim, contact Moxie Law Group to find out how we can help you.

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