Autistic man who allegedly choked on bone in chicken burger settles case
Posted on 7th December 2022 at 22:30
The man claims the incident led to a deterioration in his behaviour and a doubling of his epileptic seizures
An autistic man has settled for €51,672 a High Court case over alleged injuries caused by choking on a bone in a shop-bought chicken burger nine years ago.
The man, who sued through his mother because he is legally of unsound mind, alleged the incident led to a deterioration in his behaviour and a doubling of his epileptic seizures to four per month.
In a sworn statement, his mother said her then 19-year-old son was eating a Rooster’s chicken burger she cooked at home on September 1st, 2013, when a 12mm by 5mm bone became lodged in his throat.
With assistance, he spat out the bone and seemed to have no immediate identifiable physical injuries, except for being traumatised by the event, she said.
Since then, he has been very nervous when eating, leaving food on his plate for hours, while his language has regressed, she said.
The defendants, burger manufacturer Grove Turkeys Unlimited and supermarket Aldi Stores (Ireland) Unlimited, submitted a full defence and a plea of contributory negligence on the part of the man.
The man’s barrister, Declan Wade, said his client would face the hurdle of proving all of his injuries were caused by the event if the case was to proceed to trial.
A neurologist’s report, secured by his client, expressed reservations about whether all of the deterioration was a result of the choking incident, said Mr Wade. The doctor said it may have affected his condition for two to three years but any subsequent deterioration was probably related to his genetic condition, the court heard.
Considering the issue of causation, Mr Wade recommended acceptance of the offer of €50,000 plus €1,672 in special damages. He said the defendants had also agreed to pay the man’s legal costs at a High Court scale.
Mr Justice Garrett Simons this week approved the settlement, a requirement because the man does not have the capacity to make an informed decision.
The judge said there was a “potential risk” for the plaintiff in proving liability and it was unlikely he could achieve a higher sum if the matter went to trial.
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