Allergic reactions can cause a range of symptoms. In minor cases, your symptoms could be little more than annoying. However, in the most serious instances, allergic reactions can be life-threatening or even fatal. In this guide to claiming compensation for an allergic reaction to food, we’ll look at some scenarios that could lead to a claim, how the claims process works, and whether you’re likely to be eligible to make a claim.
Our personal injury solicitors are here to help if you’ve suffered an allergic reaction to food and want to take action. Initially, our advisors are available to provide a no-obligation consultation to review what’s happened. As part of the call, you’ll be given free legal advice about your chances of being compensated. If there is a reasonable chance, we could connect you with one of our solicitors.
If one of our solicitors take on your case, their legal expertise and experience will be provided on a No Win No Fee basis. That means you won’t have to pay anything for their work in advance. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay them unless you are paid compensation for your suffering.
Are you ready to claim compensation for an allergic reaction right away? If so, please call us on 0800 6524 881 today. Alternatively, please read on to learn more about the claims process.
Table of contents
- What Is An Allergic Reaction To Food?
- The 14 Food Allergens That Trigger Allergic Reactions
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For An Allergic Reaction?
- Negligence That Could Lead To Compensation
- Evidence To Support Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims
- How Much Compensation For An Allergic Reaction To Food Could I Claim?
- Fatal Allergic Reaction
- Time Limits For Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims
- Starting The Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Process
When you eat some foods, your body can wrongly label them as being dangerous. At this point, the immune system sends out antibodies to try and protect you. One of the most common antibodies that cause allergic reaction symptoms is called histamine.
Some of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food according to the NHS are:
- Itchiness or tingling in the mouth.
- Swelling in different parts of the body including the mouth and throat.
- Hives – a raised red itchy rash.
- Shortness of breath (or wheezing).
- Becoming lightheaded or dizzy.
- Vomiting or feeling sick.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Symptoms that are similar to hayfever including itchy eyes or sneezing.
These can come on immediately or take as long as 24 to 48 hours to appear after digesting an allergen.
The most severe type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. This should always be treated as an emergency as it can cause fatalities. The initial symptoms may be similar to those listed above but can also lead to:
- Breathing difficulties.
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing.
- A tight chest.
- Swollen tongue.
- A feeling of dizziness.
- Fainting or collapsing.
Usually, anaphylaxis will appear quickly after contact with the allergen. In all cases, the emergency services should be called.
By law, businesses that supply food products must provide information to consumers if their products contain any of the following 14 allergens:
- Cereals containing gluten.
- Tree Nuts.
- Sulphites or Sulphur Dioxide.
Failure to display warnings on menus or food packaging could be classed as negligence and entitle you to claim compensation if you suffer an allergic reaction as a result.
If a solicitor is to take on an allergic reaction compensation claim, they will usually ask three main questions:
- Did the defendant owe you a legal duty of care?
- Were they negligent in some way?
- As a result of negligence, did you suffer an allergic reaction?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you may have grounds to seek damages. Importantly, a duty of care is usually quite easy to ascertain in allergic reaction claims. As we’ve already explained, food businesses must tell you about any allergens in their foods. Additionally, they must also tell you about any potential cross-contamination if your food has been prepared in the same area as an allergen.
Let’s now look at what types of negligence could enable you to claim compensation following an allergic reaction. Claims might be possible where:
- Allergens were not clearly labelled on food packaging.
- Food hygiene standards were not used and this led to cross-contamination of your food.
- A restaurant failed to provide information about allergens on its menu.
- The wrong ingredients were used in your meal.
- An allergen was not removed from your meal despite a restaurant agreeing to do so.
- There was no notice in a shop, restaurant, pub or café telling you where you could find allergen information.
It’s important to note that you do not need to tell anybody about your food allergy. Allergic reaction compensation claims could still be possible because you should be able to make an informed decision about your meal choice without advertising the fact you have an allergy.
Proving why you suffered an allergic reaction and who was to blame is vital in any compensation claim. Also, you’ll need to prove the extent of your suffering. If you can’t you might not be compensated or you may receive less compensation than you should. Therefore, to help support your claim, you could provide:
- Food packaging. If you purchased pre-packed food, keep any packaging that it came in. This could be used to prove that an allergen was not advertised clearly.
- A photograph of the menu. In the same way as above, a photograph of the menu could prove useful.
- A video of the restaurant. Taking a video on your phone could help to prove that there was no signage to tell you where you’d find allergen information.
- Medical records. To help prove how serious your injuries were, you could ask the hospital or GP surgery that treated you for a copy of your medical notes.
- Witness information. If anybody else saw you discuss your meal with staff or witnessed your allergic reaction, they might be asked by your solicitor for a statement at a later date.
- A food sample. If your allergic reaction was caused by pre-packed food, seal a sample in a plastic bag and freeze it. Where necessary, an allergen test could be performed later on.
Once you’ve gathered evidence to support your claim, why not get in touch and let us go through it with you?
While most allergic reactions to specific ingredients and food types tend to be relatively minor, they can still attract compensation if caused by negligence. General damages cover compensation for pain and suffering while special damages cover reimbursement of expenses and lost income.
In general, compensation is awarded to try and put you in the position you were in (or as close as possible) before the incident happened. Therefore, you’ll need to fully justify every element of your claim. Allergic reaction compensation claims can include compensation for:
- The pain and suffering you went through.
- Any impact on your daily life, hobbies and social life.
- Any loss of income.
- Care costs.
- Medical treatment costs.
- Travel expenses linked to your treatment.
- Any future loss of income.
In the following sub-section, we’ll take a look at advised levels of compensation for minor injuries that may be brought on by an allergic reaction.
- Where a full recovery is expected within seven days the compensation available could be up to £690.
- Injuries, where a full recovery is expected within 28 days, can attract compensation in the range of £690 up to £1,370.
- Injuries, where a full recovery may take up to 3 months, can lead to compensation payments of between £1,370 and £2,450.
If your case is taken on, you’ll be provided with a more accurate compensation estimate once your medical reports and other evidence have been reviewed properly.
While no amount of money will ease the pain of losing a loved one following an allergic reaction, it is something you may need to consider. If you do wish to claim, one of our specialist solicitors could help. As well as claiming for your loved one’s death, you could ask for damages to cover your financial dependence. Further bereavement payments could also be made as well as claims for expenses like funeral costs. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Personal injury claims must be made within a 3-year limitation period in the UK. Usually, the time limit for allergic reaction compensation claims will begin on or near the date that you ate the food which made you ill.
If your child has suffered an allergic reaction, the 3-year time limit won’t apply. You can claim compensation on their behalf at any time before their 18th birthday. To do this, you’ll become their litigation friend and work with solicitors with your child’s best interests in mind.
If you would now like to discuss starting an allergic reaction claim, please get in touch. Our advice centre can be contacted on 0800 6524 881.
If your claim is taken on, we’ll provide a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor who always do their utmost to make sure you are paid the maximum level of compensation possible.
If you have any further questions about the allergic reaction compensation claims process, please don’t hesitate in contacting us.