Nut allergies are not just a mere annoyance that can be taken lightly. They can in fact be downright dangerous. While someone who is mildly allergic to nuts may experience temporary digestive distress, more severe reactions may range from facial swelling, and shortness of breath. In a worst-case scenario, nut allergies may be life-threatening. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to claim compensation if you suffer an allergic reaction after eating any food item that contained nuts.
The Law Regarding Nut Allergies
Acknowledging the seriousness of nut allergies, the government has imposed certain regulations to safeguard the interests of individuals suffering from nut allergies.
According to the Food Information for Consumers Regulations introduced in 2014, all foods and drinks sold in the UK must clearly state on the label if it contains any common allergens such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans and Brazil nuts. This mandatory disclosure must be written on the packaging or labels of all food that is pre-packaged or sold loose in the UK as well as all foods that are served outside of the home. In restaurants, it must be displayed on the menu. This makes it easier for consumers to avoid inadvertently purchasing foods and drinks that may contain nuts or any other allergens.
All consumer establishments across the UK are covered by the 2014 Food Information for Consumers Regulations and are required to inform their customers about the presence of potential allergens in any of the food items they stock or serve. This includes shops that sell pre-packaged foods and drinks, fast-food outlets, fine-dining restaurants, hospital and workplace kitchens, mobile catering vans, and school canteens.
Any vendor, restaurateur or food provider who fails to provide customers with any type of warning about the presence of nuts in a food item may be held liable for the consequences of an allergic reaction. If you file and win a nut allergy compensation claim, the negligent person will be required to compensate you for your injuries. To win a compensation claim of this type, you must be able to provide irrefutable proof that the vendor or food provider was at fault.
Steps To Take If You Have An Allergic Reaction To Nuts
Regardless of whose fault it is, if you suffer from a severe allergic reaction to nuts such as anaphylaxis, you must seek urgent medical attention. Everything else can wait.
As soon as you can, after an allergic reaction, you must recall and write down everything you’ve consumed in the 48 hours prior to the reaction. Keep the packaging of all the foods and drink that you consumed during this time that were bought from a retailer. If you still have any food left-over, keep that too.
If you ate out at a cafe or restaurant in the past 48 hours, keep those receipts to provide as evidence.
Get in touch with the retailer or dining establishment and let them know that their failure to inform you or to properly label their products resulted in your allergic reaction.
Speak to a personal injury solicitor to determine your legal rights to file a nut allergy compensation claim. If you have a strong case, the solicitor will advise you to go ahead with your claim. Before asking any solicitor to represent you, find out if they will do so on the basis of a No Win No Fee agreement.
No Win No Fee Nut Allergy Compensation Claims
A No Win No Fee agreement is a special type of contract that many reputable solicitors offer their clients so they can get the legal help they need without having to pay for it upfront. When you are injured, your medical expenses can add up quickly. Added to it is the loss of income if you’ve had to stay home from work.
A No Win No Fee agreement makes it easier for victims to get the compensation they deserve for their no-fault injuries. According to the terms of this agreement, your solicitor will help put together a a nut allergy compensation claim on your behalf and file it in court using their resources and funds. All expenses should be borne by the solicitor throughout the proceedings.
If the court decides in your favour and you are awarded compensation, only then do you have to pay the solicitor. Both you and the solicitor have to decide on the amount you will pay at the time of signing the No Win No Fee agreement.
If the court does not decide in your favour and you are not awarded compensation, you do not have to pay the solicitor any fees (check the small print).
With an agreement such as this, you get all of the benefits without taking any of the risks.
Filing A Successful Nut Allergy Claim
To file a successful nut allergy compensation claim, you must be able to prove that:
- Your allergic reaction was caused by the food or drink you bought or consumed at the defendant’s establishment and not by something you ate or drank at home.
- There were no details of potential allergens listed on the product packaging.
- The restaurant menu did not provide any details about possible allergens in the food item you ordered.
- The restaurant staff did not warn you about potential allergens – e.g. peanut oil or almond paste – used in the food preparation when placing your order.
In addition to being able to prove the above facts, you will also need to provide details of the medical treatment you had to undergo to manage your allergic reaction. Getting the contact details of other customers in the store or restaurant who heard you asking if the food contained nuts can also be helpful as they could provide witness statements to support your case.
How Much Compensation For An Allergic Reaction To Nuts?
The amount of compensation that is awarded to you will depend on several factors. In general, you will be awarded compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenities as well as for actual expenses and financial losses. Actual expenses might include cost of medication, travel to and from the hospital and loss of income and perks from having to stay home from work. The severity of the allergic reaction will also be taken into consideration when calculating the total amount you are awarded as compensation.