Theatre sued after man suffers brain injury choking on popcorn

Sometimes the most minor incidents can turn into life-changing events. A young Ontario man never imagined a night out at the movies would leave him disabled, but that's exactly what happened. Now his parents are suing a prominent theatre chain, alleging he suffered a brain injury after choking on a piece of popcorn.

The incident happened in 2009, as the man attended a film. During the screening, he began to choke on a kernel of corn, and was unable to breathe. Eventually, his heart stopped, and he was without vital signs for over 30 minutes. He was unresponsive for about six months, and partially responsive after a year had passed. Three years went by before he was able to walk again.

The young man is now 28, has vision and balance issues and uses a walker to assist his mobility. His parents are having trouble managing the costs of his care, and worry for his future after they are gone. They allege the theatre was negligent, and failed to adequately attend to their son during the emergency. In their suit, they claim the theatre staff did not turn on the lights or halt the film, did not call 911 or follow instructions given after a bystander called 911 for help.

A representative for the theatre chain maintains its staff did all it could to assist the victim. It is also claimed that the man was impaired by illegal substances at the time. His father does admit his son had smoked marijuana a couple of hours prior to arriving at the theatre.

Suffering a brain injury can be a catastrophic event. The cost of care can be very high, sometimes more than the average person or family can cope with indefinitely. If the injury was acquired due to another party's apparent negligence, consulting with a personal injury lawyer might be a good idea. A lawyer's experience with similar cases in Ontario may prove to be valuable.

Source: thespec.com, "Kitchener family suing Cineplex for care costs of son who nearly choked to death on popcorn", Johanna Weidner, Feb. 2, 2017

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