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If you choke on a fish bone whilst eating fish & chips, are they liable?

Whether a fish and chip shop or restaurant can be held liable if you choke on a fish bone depends on whether you could reasonably be expected to encounter a fish bone in your food.

Case of no liability if you choke on a fish bone

When you choke on a fish bone you should have expected, such as in a whole fish or a piece of fish that was known not to be deboned, a compensation claim for any injury resulting from your choking on the bone would most likely fail.

When someone may be liable

If, on the other hand, you choked on a fish bone while eating a piece of fish described as being boneless (deboned), you could be able to claim. You would, however, need to prove that your fish bone injury was indeed the result of a failure to take reasonable care in the preparation of your meal.

Reasonable care

Restaurant and chip shop owners are required to take reasonable care in the preparation of meals. The question that would need to be answered would be whether you could reasonably have expected the offending bone to have been removed from the fish you were served.

Other incidents

The success of claims for injuries by slips, trips and falls may also depend on whether a slip or trip could reasonably have been prevented.

Non-preventable incidents

If, for instance, a customer spilt a drink and 10 seconds later another customer was injured by slipping on this spilt drink, it could be argued that the accidental injury could not have been prevented because there was not enough time to detect and deal with this slip hazard.

Preventable incidents

Matters would be very different if a drink was spilt and someone subsequently sustained a slip injury two hours later. Here, the argument in favour of the claimant would be that, as plenty of time had passed between the spill and the slipping accident, the owner could reasonably have been expected to see the spill, clear it up and prevent this injury by slipping.

Getting help

Boasting over 15 years’ experience in handling trip, slip and fall, fish bone-related and other restaurant accident claims, our nationwide team of Accident Advice Helpline telephone advisors and in-house lawyers can very quickly resolve questions of liability and, where applicable, bring personal injury claims to successful conclusions.

If you choke on a fish bone while eating fish and chips, enlist our help now by calling 0800 689 5659.