Could I Claim If I Suffered A Restaurant Food Allergy?
Did you know that, by law, restaurants and other food businesses are required to show you if their food contains certain allergens? That doesn’t mean they have to tell you about each allergen personally though. They could use a food allergy menu or signs within the restaurant to tell you where you’ll find allergen information. In this article, we are going to explain when you could be compensated for a restaurant food allergy. We will look at the law relating to allergen labelling, what types of allergic reaction could occur and how much compensation you might be awarded.
Our advisors offer free legal advice for anybody considering a claim. They also provide a no-obligation assessment of your claim. Should your claim have strong grounds, they could pass it on to a personal injury lawyer from our panel. If it is accepted, it will be processed on a No Win No Fee basis.
To find out whether you are eligible to start a claim, why not call our team of specialist advisors today? Our number is 0161 696 9685. If you would rather learn more about making a claim, please read the rest of this restaurant allergy guide.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Restaurant Food Allergy Claims
- Calculating Compensation For A Restaurant Food Allergy
- Additional Damages That May Be Awarded
- What Is A Restaurant Food Allergy?
- The Symptoms Of Food Allergies
- What Could Cause Someone To Experience An Allergic Reaction?
- What Restaurant Allergy Information Should Be Provided?
- How Are Catering Establishments Defined?
- The Law On Food Allergens And Restaurants
- Consumer Rights To Restaurant Allergy Information
- Criminal And Civil Laws Relating To Allergen Labelling
- No Win No Fee Restaurant Food Allergy Claims
- Contact Us
A Guide To Restaurant Food Allergy Claims
You might think that an allergen sufferer should tell a restaurant about their condition when ordering a meal. In fact, the legal duty of care is for the restaurant to take reasonable steps to make sure the customer can safely consume their food. That means, if a customer has a reaction because allergen information wasn’t available or was incorrect, they could be entitled to claim compensation for any suffering caused. While some allergic reactions to food can be mild and irritating, more serious cases could lead to life-threatening conditions like anaphylactic shock.
In this article, we are going to look at what causes food allergies, what rules apply to restaurants and how much compensation could be awarded. Later on, we will look at what allergens need to be advertised (the 14 allergens) and different laws surrounding food safety. As well as claiming for the suffering you incur because of the allergic reaction, we will review if you could claim for financial losses linked to your suffering too.
As with other personal injury claims, there are time limits that apply. Generally, claims have to be made within 3 years of the allergic reaction taking place. We could also help if you wish to claim on behalf of a child who’s suffered a reaction. The process is slightly different, and you can call us for details at no charge and with no obligation for you to proceed with our services.
Advice.co.uk is here to help if you decide you would like to make a restaurant allergy claim. We have a group of trained specialists waiting to assess your case. You are able to ask any questions you need to, and you are not obliged to proceed to make a claim. Once you’re ready to discuss your claim, please call the number at the top of the page.
Calculating Compensation For A Restaurant Food Allergy
You might be viewing this site because you want to know how much compensation you’ll receive. In truth, it is very difficult to determine until we have assessed your claim properly. However, we are able to provide some general information in this section.
Using the table below, you can see what amount of compensation could be paid for some relevant injuries or illnesses. We have supplied figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document is often used by legal professionals, insurers and courts to help settle claims.
|Type of Illness / Injury||Severity||Compensation Range||Explanation|
|Illness resulting from non-traumatic injury||Severe||£36,060 to £49,270||This category includes severe toxicosis that leads to acute pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and requires hospitalisation for a couple of weeks. There will also be some continuing symptoms that cause problems with the ability to work and enjoy life.|
|Illness resulting from non-traumatic injury||Serious||£8,950 to £18,020||Serious symptoms that are similar to above but which are resolved in a 2 to 4-week period.|
|Illness resulting from non-traumatic injury||Significant||£3,710 to £8,950||The symptoms in this category (such as bowel function problems and stomach cramps) will usually last for a few weeks. They will cause significant discomfort, might cause hospitalisation for a few days, and complete recovery could take a year or two.|
|Illness resulting from non-traumatic injury||Minor||Up to £3,710||Symptoms such as cramps and diarrhoea last days or weeks.|
It is important that you supply evidence about the severity of your injuries because that is one of the factors used to work out the level of compensation. Therefore, as part of the claims process, you will need to attend a medical assessment. During your meeting, an independent medical expert will look at your injuries. They will also ask you how you’ve been impacted by them. Finally, medical records may be referred to during the appointment. Once that assessment has finished, the medical specialist will detail their findings in a report for your solicitor.
Additional Damages That May Be Awarded
You might also have incurred financial losses because of your injuries. If that’s true, you could ask for them back as part of a special damages claim. Each claim is different but special damages might include:
- Care Costs.
This might be relevant if a friend carried out your daily chores while you were recovering. You may also be able to claim if you paid a professional carer.
- Medical Expenses.
While you may be treated by the NHS, the cost of some non-NHS services might need to be claimed back. Also, you may wish to claim prescription medication costs too.
- Travel Costs.
The cost of visiting a doctor or hospital could soon build up. For example, you may wish to claim back the cost of fuel and car parking fees.
- Lost Earnings.
When you don’t receive full sick pay from your employer, you could be left out of pocket when taking time off work due to your injury. Therefore, you could ask for these losses to be included.
- Disability Adaptations.
In more serious cases, if your allergic reaction leaves you with a long-term disability, you might need to claim the cost of adapting your home to help you cope.
- Future Lost Income.
Finally, should you suffer long-term injuries that mean you can’t work at the same level as before the allergic reaction occurred, you could claim for future loss of income too.
What Is A Restaurant Food Allergy?
There are many different reasons why you could suffer an allergic reaction in a restaurant. If you suffer because a reaction was caused by negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Examples of negligence that may lead to a claim include:
- Insufficient labelling of the allergen on the menu or on notice boards.
- Being given incorrect advice by a member of staff.
- Cross-contamination that you aren’t warned of.
- Failing to remove an allergen from a dish which the restaurant had agreed to do.
The Symptoms Of Food Allergies
In this part of the guide, we’re going to look at the symptoms of a food allergy. Don’t worry if you don’t see yours listed here though. So long as you had an allergic reaction caused by the restaurant, you might be able to begin legal proceedings.
Common Food Allergy Symptoms
Here is a list of some of the more common symptoms associated with allergic reactions to food (from the NHS):
- Itching or tingling in the mouth.
- Shortness of breath (and/or wheezing).
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Hives – a red, itchy rash that is usually raised.
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting.
- Swelling of the body – usually around the face, throat or mouth.
- Becoming dizzy or lightheaded.
- Diarrhoea or abdominal pain.
- Symptoms that are similar to hay fever such as like sneezing or itchiness in the eyes.
Even if these symptoms seem minor, it may be possible to claim compensation for them. Give us a call today and we will review if a claim could be made.
Uncommon Food Allergy Symptoms
Anaphylaxis is the most severe (but less common) form of allergic reaction. It can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. On the same NHS website, the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- A swollen tongue.
- Tight chest.
- Collapsing or fainting.
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Feeling dizzy.
Anaphylaxis must be treated as a medical emergency. Without immediate treatment, it can be fatal.
What Could Cause Someone To Experience An Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction is caused when the immune system acts to protect you from food that it wrongly labels as dangerous. You may experience an allergic reaction if you eat what you ordered but staff haven’t:
- Correctly warned you of allergens when you asked
- Advised you that they can’t remove an allergen from food after you requested it to be removed
- Advised you of the potential for cross-contamination if they knew of your allergy and the likelihood of contamination
You may also have read a menu that had incorrect allergen information on it and ordered a meal you were unaware could harm you.
In the most common type of reaction, mast cells with specific antibodies attached protect you from ‘attack’. The antibody is called immunoglobulin E (IgE). The mast cells with IgE attached release histamine. Histamine causes many of the symptoms shown in the previous sections.
Another type of allergic reaction, called non-IgE-mediated reactions, can be much harder to diagnose. Generally, these cause symptoms affecting the skin and gastrointestinal tract.
What Restaurant Allergy Information Should Be Provided?
By law, restaurants and other businesses must tell customers if their food contains any of the 14 allergens. The list of ingredients that must be declared include:
- Tree nuts
- Sulphur dioxide (sulphites)
- Cereals with gluten in them
- Sesame seeds
How Are Catering Establishments Defined?
There are many different types of food businesses that need to abide by food labelling and handling regulations. According to the Food Standards Agency, businesses such as the following must register with them:
- Cafes, restaurants, and takeaways.
- Schools, nurseries, and care homes.
- Food stalls, pop-up shops, and food vans.
- B&Bs, mobile catering, and home-run food businesses.
The Law On Food Allergens And Restaurants
There are many laws relating to food safety in the UK. One piece of legislation that plays an important role is the Food Safety Act 1990. Another is The Food Information Regulations 2014. Due to the complexities of legislation, you may find it easier to have a lawyer represent you during your claim. Using their expertise and knowledge of the law could make the process of claiming much easier.
If you’d like us to check if your food allergy claim could be handled by a lawyer on our panel, please call our advice line today.
Are Restaurants Liable For Food Allergies?
There are occasions when a restaurant could be liable for an allergic reaction. They include:
- Where the menu included incorrect information.
- If staff advised you about allergens incorrectly.
- Where kitchen staff did not follow the correct safety procedures causing cross-contamination of your meal with an allergen.
- Where a request to remove an allergen was agreed to but was not actioned correctly.
If you believe a restaurant has caused you to suffer an allergic reaction, our advisors could help you. They will consider what’s happened, how you’ve been affected and who was to blame. If they believe you have a reasonable chance of claiming successfully, they’ll refer you to one of the specialist lawyers on our panel.
Consumer Rights To Restaurant Allergy Information
As we have established, you should be told about some allergens that are found in food purchases. That means that either a restaurant needs to provide the information when asked, display it on signs or on the menu, or use food labelling.
Where food labelling is used, the allergens contained within the item should be clearly indicated. For example, a bold font, a strong colour or underlining should be used to make the allergen stand out from other ingredients. In other cases, labelling could include a “may contain” notice to highlight the potential of cross-contamination.
It is a good idea to photograph any menu or food packaging if you are unsure whether allergen information is clear. This could be used as evidence to support your claim. For more advice on the types of evidence you could supply, please contact one of our advisors today.
Criminal And Civil Laws Relating To Allergen Labelling
Another piece of legislation that could offer some protection is the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Essentially, this law could enable you to claim compensation if a product defect causes personal injury, death or damage.
The manufacturer of a product could be liable for harm that results from a defect. Therefore, if a food product should have a label on which should tell you about any allergens that are present, then you could sue if the label was missing. The defect here could be that the label was not secured properly or robust enough.
As with all claims, you will need to show that your suffering was a cause of negligence. That means you would need to show that any illness you suffered was caused (or worsened) by the defect or negligence of restaurant staff or menus.
Again, if you’d like legal representation to overcome the complexities of claiming, we could help. Our team are more than happy to consider your case and its evidence. Why not call today and let us assess your case for free?
No Win No Fee Restaurant Food Allergy Claims
For many, the cost of hiring a lawyer to handle their allergy claim might seem off-putting. However, if you want to have legal representation, you could lower the financial risk by using a No Win No Fee service. That’s how our panel of lawyers handle any claims they take on. By doing so, the whole process of claiming becomes less stressful.
When you’re introduced to a lawyer from our panel, they’ll assess the chances of winning your claim. If they agree to work for you, they will draw up a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This agreement will explain under what circumstances your lawyer will be paid. It will also show that:
- Payment of their fees is not required prior to your case beginning.
- Lawyer’s fees won’t be charged as the claim progresses.
- If the claim is not won, you aren’t liable to pay the lawyer’s fees at all.
The only situation in which your lawyer will be paid is if they win compensation for you. In that case, a success fee will be deducted from your compensation. By law, success fees are capped to a small amount of any compensation awarded.
You are approaching the end of this guide regarding restaurant allergy claims. We do hope that the information we have supplied has been useful. If you’d like to speak with us about starting a claim, you can:
- Call one of our specialists on 0161 696 9685.
- Use our contact page to tell us what happened. (We’ll call you back at a suitable time.)
- Use our live chat function to discuss your claim right away.
During your conversation, an advisor will listen to what’s happened, look at the evidence and explain what options are available to you. If they suspect your claim is strong, they could refer you to a lawyer from our panel. As a reminder, any claim which is accepted will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.
You have reached the final section of our article about claiming for a restaurant allergy. We are now going to list some useful articles which might prove useful if you decide to make a claim.
Anaphylaxis Treatment: Details of what treatment can be used to treat the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
Business Allergen Advice: Details of food labelling requirements for businesses from the Food Standards Agency.
Anaphylaxis Campaign: This UK charity aims to raise awareness of anaphylaxis and support sufferers.
As we are also able to offer free legal advice on other types of compensation claims, here are some more of our guides:
Food Poisoning Claim: This case study shows how compensation could be awarded for suffering relating to food poisoning.
Pub Injury Claims: Advice on starting a claim for an injury caused by an accident in a pub.
Work-Related Stress: Guidance on how to claim for suffering caused by stress in the workplace.
If you need help with any other type of claim, please don’t hesitate to call a specialist.
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