Have you suffered from an allergic reaction to food after eating at a restaurant or in a workplace canteen? Were you misinformed about the presence of allergens or the potential for cross-contamination, resulting in you becoming ill? If so, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
People with food allergies do have a responsibility to manage their own health while eating in public. For this reason, not every instance of someone suffering an allergic reaction will be the grounds of a personal injury claim. However, there are some responsibilities that are owed to those who suffer from food allergies.
If you’ve suffered injury or illness caused by an allergic reaction that was caused by a third party’s negligence, then you could be entitled to compensation. Our panel of personal injury lawyers could help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you’d like to know more about the process of claiming, please navigate our guide using the links below. If you’d prefer to speak with someone directly about starting a claim, you can:
- Call us on 0161 696 9685
- Speak to us using the live chat at the bottom of this screen
- Use our contact form
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation Payouts For An Allergic Reaction To Food
- What Is An Allergic Reaction To Food?
- How Can You Suffer An Allergic Reaction To Food At Work?
- Allergic Reaction To Food In A Shop
- How Can You Suffer An Allergic Reaction To Food At A Restaurant?
- Personal Injury Compensation Calculation Examples
- What Are Special Damages?
- Case Study: £12,000 For An Allergic Reaction To Food
- Get Your Free Legal Advice From Us Today
- Breakdown Of No Win No Fee Policies
- Chat With Our Experts For Free Legal Advice
- More Resources And Guides On Allergic Reactions To Food
- Allergic Reaction To Food FAQs
In this guide, we will look at the process of claiming compensation following an allergic reaction to food. To begin, we will look at what food allergies are and the type of situations in which they may occur.
We will go on to look at the different scenarios in which you may suffer an allergic reaction as the result of a breach of duty of care. To illustrate, we’ll look at the duty of care that’s owed to you in these scenarios and the steps that others must take to ensure that you’re safe.
You may be wondering how a claim for compensation is calculated. We will look at this in greater detail later on in the guide. We’ll show the different heads of claim that might make up a compensation award and what each of these covers.
This guide will then go on to set out a case study in which someone receives a compensation award of £12,000 for an allergic reaction caused by negligence. The case study will illustrate the whole claims process, from the accident occurring to the compensation being calculated and paid.
Finally, we’ll offer you some guidance on No Win No Fee agreements and the benefits they can offer. We will conclude by providing some helpful resources and answering some commonly asked questions about these kinds of claims.
Personal Injury Claims Time Limit
There is a 3-year time limit to claim for personal injury compensation. Some exceptions to this time limit do apply, however.
For instance, a child under the age of 18 is unable to make a claim themselves. The same is true for those with a reduced mental capacity. In these cases, a litigation friend can make a claim on the injured person behalf, and the time limit is suspended. It begins again when the child turns 18 or if the injured person regains their mental capacity.
An allergic reaction to food occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to specific foods. The body’s reaction to the food can range from relatively minor to potentially fatal.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary depending on the type of allergy being suffered. For instance, oral allergy syndrome can cause some swelling and itchiness in the mouth and throat after eating fresh fruit and vegetables.
Anaphylaxis can be a more severe reaction to a food allergy. It may cause you to become faint or dizzy or have difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience this reaction to an allergen.
There are 14 main allergens that must be mentioned when they’re included in food available for purchase at a shop, cafe or restaurant. These are:
- Cereals containing gluten
- Sesame seeds
- Sulphur dioxide
If you have a food allergy, you do have a responsibility to your own health in making sure that any food you purchase and consume is free of the ingredient that you are allergic to. However, if you’ve been advised that a certain allergen isn’t present in a dish or food item you’ve purchased and you suffer an allergic reaction, you may be able to make a claim.
When you’re at work, your employer has a duty of care to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure your health and safety in the workplace. This is according to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. If you have a food allergy, this includes reducing the risk of you being exposed to an allergen that could cause you to become ill.
One of the responsibilities that your employer has towards you is to carry out regular risk assessments. For example, if there is a shared canteen where employees eat meals that they bring from home, an employer should ensure that all employees are aware of how to avoid cross-contamination.
In addition, if there is an on-site canteen that is controlled by your employer, it must follow the guidelines for food businesses. This includes maintaining good hygiene standards in the kitchen and ensuring that the 14 main allergens are labelled on all food that is available for purchase.
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 outlines the duty of care that’s owed to members of the public by those in control of public spaces. It says that the person in control of public places should take all steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of those who use the space for the intended purpose.
Some shops and cafes sell prepacked for direct sale food (PPDS). This is food that has been prepared onsite and packaged before the customer selects it. From 1st October 2021, Natasha’s Law means that businesses that sell PPDS must label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list. If any of the 14 main allergens are present, these should be emphasised in the labelling. Failure to do so could cause someone to suffer an allergic reaction and lead to a compensation claim being made.
It’s important to note that, even though there is no obligation to label food that is packaged after being ordered or not packaged at all, there’s still a legal obligation for this information to be made available. This can be done through, for example, having an allergen list on display or telling customers orally what allergens may be present.
When we think of public places providing food, we often think of restaurants. These can range from chain restaurants to smaller establishments serving food and drink. As restaurant food is not labelled, you may be wondering how someone can be made aware of the allergens in a meal when eating at a restaurant.
Every establishment serving food is required to have the allergen information in writing and available to any customers who request it. A restaurant might choose to display the allergen information in the restaurant. Alternatively, they could choose to display written instructions as to how the customer can obtain this information.
If a customer at a restaurant does advise that they suffer from a food allergy, the staff should not promise that the allergen can be removed from their meal unless they are certain this can be done without the risk of cross-contamination. Similarly, they should always refer to the written allergen information to ensure that they’re giving correct information to a customer.
It’s not just servers who are responsible for reducing the risk of allergic reactions in restaurants. The kitchen staff should take reasonably practicable steps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Similarly, they should update the allergen information if a recipe is changed in a way that might pose a risk of a food allergic reaction.
If you would like to know more about claiming for an allergic reaction to food in a restaurant, give our team a call today for free legal advice. Alternatively, read on for more information on how your compensation claim could be calculated.
When you claim compensation for injuries caused by a third party’s negligence, your compensation award could be made up of two kinds of damages. These are referred to as general and special damages.
General damages is the part of your claim that is valued based on the severity of your injuries and how they have impacted your quality of life. In order for this to be calculated, you will usually be invited to attend a medical appointment with an independent expert.
This expert will examine you and detail their findings and prognosis in a medical report. This will be sent to the person handling your claim. They will refer to this report and the guideline compensation brackets provided by the Judicial College in order to value your claim.
If you’d like to speak with someone about how much your claim could be worth after suffering an allergic reaction, please get in touch with our team of helpful advisors today. Alternatively, you can read on for more information on special damages.
Special damages is the part of your compensation claim that covers the financial losses you’ve experienced as a direct result of the injuries you’ve sustained. It can be included in your claim provided you supply sufficient evidence for the losses you’ve incurred.
For instance, you may require time off work during your recovery, resulting in a loss of wages. You may also have had had to pay fuel and parking costs in order to attend medical appointments or pay for medication or treatment that wasn’t available to you on the NHS.
As mentioned, it’s vital that you provide evidence for any special damages that you want to be included in your claim. This might be in the form of bills, invoices or receipts for anything you’ve had to pay for because of your injuries.
Miss Gibson, 25, worked in a supermarket as a cashier. She suffered from a severe allergy to molluscs. As a result, she was always careful when eating food she hadn’t prepared herself to avoid the risk of an allergic reaction.
One night, Miss Gibson and her colleagues were on a work’s night out and decided to go for some food at the start of the evening. As usual, Miss Gibson was fully prepared to not order food if there was nothing on the menu that she could safely eat.
When she got to the restaurant, Mis Gibbon immediately told the server that she had a severe allergy to molluscs. She advised that eating anything that contained them could be really detrimental to her health. She asked about a curry on the menu, which has caught her eye. The waitress confirmed that the curry usually contained oyster sauce but that she would make sure to request that the chef not use this in Miss Gibson’s serving.
The food arrived, and everyone began to eat. Within a matter of minutes, however, Miss Gibson was alarmed to find that she was having difficulty breathing. Her pulse began to race, and she felt lightheaded and faint. She pulled her adrenaline auto-injector from her purse moments before she lost consciousness. Luckily, one of her colleagues knew how to inject Miss Gibbon and, after doing so, called an ambulance.
After the accident
The next thing Miss Gibbon knew, she woke up in a hospital bed. Her doctor confirmed that she’d suffered from a particularly severe allergic reaction to the food she’d eaten at the restaurant. Miss Gibbon was very frustrated as she’d taken her usual steps to safeguard her own health. She felt she had been let down by the restaurant.
The allergic reaction had made Miss Gibbon very ill. As a result, she had to take four weeks off work as she recovered. She also had to cancel a skiing holiday that she was due to go on two weeks after the incident, as her doctor advised against travelling.
It transpired that the chef at the restaurant wasn’t made aware of Miss Gibbon’s allergy. Furthermore, even if he had been aware, he would have informed the server that the curry couldn’t be served to Miss Gibbon as the oyster sauce which caused the allergic reaction was included in the curry paste, which was made in advance.
Because of her frustration, Miss Gibson spoke to a personal injury lawyer. They advised that she could file a claim for compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. She did so, and it was found that the restaurant’s negligence had directly resulted in Miss Gibbon’s injuries. This meant that she was entitled to £9000 in general damages. Below, we have included a breakdown of the special damages awarded to her.
|Type Of Special Damages||Includes:||How Much?|
|Lost earnings||Lost earnings during her month off work||£1,800|
|Medication and prescription||Costs of medication during recovery and the prescription cost of a new adrenaline auto-injector||£350|
|Transport costs||Costs of using public transport for hospital visits||£250|
|Holiday deposit||Costs of hiring a dietitian to help her to alter her diet further during recovery||£600|
Note: This is not a real-life example of a claim for compensation. Instead, it’s an illustration based on our experience in assessing and valuing compensation claims.
When you get in touch with our claims team, they can offer you free legal advice about making a claim after suffering an allergic reaction to food. They can also estimate how much your claim may be worth.
There are some personal injury claims calculators online that claim to be able to value your compensation. However, these online calculators often don’t collect enough information from you in order to be able to accurately assess your claim.
That’s why we recommend that you get in touch with our claims team in order for them to assess your compensation award. They are ready and waiting to take your call, so why not get in touch with them today?
There’s a good chance that you will have heard the phrase “No Win No Fee” before in relation to personal injury claims. But you may not be entirely sure what a No Win No Fee agreement is.
A No Win No Fee agreement, sometimes called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is a contract between you and your solicitor. It sets out the terms they need to fulfil in order to receive payment from you. It means that:
- You won’t have to pay anything upfront in order for your claim to begin or while it’s ongoing.
- No payment will be due in the event that your claim is unsuccessful.
- If you win your claim, a legally capped success fee will be deducted from your compensation award to cover your solicitor’s fees.
These agreements can be helpful in enabling people to claim through a solicitor without the legal fees that are often associated with legal representation. If you’d like to know whether your claim could be handled on a No Win No Fee basis, get in touch with our claims team today. If your claim has a good chance of success, they may be able to pass you to one of our panel of lawyers who could offer you a CFA.
We hope that this guide has provided information about making a claim after suffering an allergic reaction because of someone else’s negligence. If you have any more questions, our team of advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice about making a claim. Alternatively, they’ll be happy to help you start your claim today. Simply:
We hope that you have learned a lot from reading our guide about allergic reactions to food. But it’s possible that you may still wish to find out more information. If that’s the case, then please take a look at these additional links.
This guide details a similar case study where an injured person was awarded compensation for food poisoning.
Have you suffered an allergic reaction at a pub? If so, read our guide to see how you could claim.
In this guide, we answer commonly asked questions about the claims process as a whole.
Over on the NHS’ website, they have a guide to food allergies.
The Food Standards Agency provides guidance on food allergies for patrons and businesses.
Food allergy online training is also provided by the Food Standards Agency on their website.
How do you know if you’re having an allergic reaction?
You may notice that your mouth, throat and ears become itchy, or you have a red rash on your skin. If you’re suffering from anaphylaxis, you may have difficulty breathing or feel lightheaded or faint.
How long do allergic reactions to food take to show?
Usually, the symptoms of an allergic reaction will become apparent very soon after consuming the food you are allergic to. On the other hand, the symptoms of food intolerance may take hours to become evident.
How do you treat an allergic reaction to food?
You should seek medical attention if you’re suffering from an allergic reaction to something you’ve eaten. We aren’t able to give medical advice as we aren’t medically trained but can provide free legal advice on making a claim.
Can you suddenly develop an allergy?
It is possible. If you suddenly develop a food allergy, it may be permanent. If you suspect you’ve developed an allergy, you should arrange for an allergy test to be done.
Article by KG
Published by NS