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Texas de Brazil Waiter Accidentally Slices Diner, Insurance Slow To Pay Medical Tab

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ADDISON (CBS11 NEWS) - "I don't expect to go out to eat and have a scar for life."

Karla Whitley was out to dinner with a group at Texas de Brazil in Addison -- the restaurant (churrascaria) where waiters bring out huge skewers of meat and cut them at diner's tables.

Whitley was sitting at the table talking with a friend while her server cut a piece of meat for another man at the table.

"I felt a searing pain, obviously something had happened to my arm," said Whitley.

Whitley looked down and saw that the carving knife used by the waiter had sliced into her arm.

"There's this cut as soon as I look, I see it fill with blood," said Whitley.

Whitley still doesn't know how the waiter lost control of the knife.

"But it's not like I reached out and got in his way. Then I thought did he slice too far, well probably not because the knife fell," said Whitley.

Whitley said the manager was apologetic.

"The restaurant was very nice. I was thinking, they've cut me and they think I'm going to sue," said Whitley, who was left with a two inch wound on her arm.

Whitley said she went to the doctor and received a tetanus shot.

Restaurant Run-Around

Whitley called the restaurant a few days later and management referred her to their corporate office who then sent her to the insurance company.

She said the back-and-forth with the insurance company has gone nowhere.

"I'm left pushing everything along, demanding and nothing happens unless I make yet another call," said Whitley.

She was accidentally stabbed December 9, 2015 and is upset there is still no resolution by March of 2016.

"They haven't stepped up to say, 'gee, get to the doctor, let us know how much it will cost,' " said Whitley.

Whitley went to a plastic surgeon on her own who gave her a proposal to fix the scar.

A registered dietitian, Whitley, will have to miss work for the multiple procedures and pay nearly $5,000 for laser treatments, steroid injections and scar removal.

Whitley sent a proposal to the Liberty Mutual insurance company representative asking for $5,000 for the plastic surgery, $6,700 in lost wages and $12,000 in pain and suffering.

Whitley said the insurance company does not want to settle now and wants her to wait six months before she gets it fixed to see if the scar gets better.

"I feel dismissed by them and I have felt that way since the beginning," said Whitley.

Restaurant Reaction

Texas de Brazil Human Resources Director sent CBS 11 the following statement:

We are actively working to resolve this with Ms. Whitley and hope to reach a resolution that she's comfortable with. The safety of our guests and employees is always paramount. This was an accident. We are actively working to resolve this with Ms. Whitley and hope to reach a resolution that she's comfortable with.

The restaurant representative would not say if this has ever happened at any of the restaurant's 27 other locations and what, if any changes, have been made after Whitley's accident.

A second statement from the restaurant said:

We would like to reiterate that we regret that this unfortunate accident occurred, as the safety of every guest and employee is a high priority for our company.

While dining at our restaurant on December 9th, Ms. Whitley sustained a cut that required a band-aid. Afterward, she appeared to be all right and enjoyed the rest of her meal.

We reached out to Ms. Whitley shortly after the incident, but were not informed that she had specific medical concerns or was seeking to file an insurance claim until early January. We then immediately turned over all relevant information to our insurance carrier. If there is any concern about how the insurance company is evaluating her claim made just a few weeks ago for $5,000 in plastic surgery and approximately $18,000 in non-medical costs, we are confident the insurance carrier can address those issues.

When asked for a comment about the delay in a settlement, a Liberty Mutual senior public relations consultant simply stated, "Liberty Mutual does not publicly comment on matters involving policyholders."

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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