If, while dining in a restaurant, you were not informed that a food item on a menu contained a known allergen and you suffered an allergic reaction because of a food allergy, you may be eligible to file a restaurant negligence food allergy claim.
Common Food Allergy Symptoms
A food allergy reaction is essentially your immune system’s protective response to a food item or substance in a food item that it identifies as dangerous.
Some of the more common food allergy symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling of the throat accompanied by difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the lips, tongue, rood of the mouth and sometimes the eyes too
- Itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
- Raised itchy red rashes on the skin
- Anaphylactic shock
Anaphylactic shock is the most serious form of food allergy reaction and can be fatal. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include dizziness, rapid pulse, light-headedness and dropping blood pressure.
Legalities Pertaining To Restaurants And Food Allergy Responsibilities
The Food Information Regulations 2014 was introduced to make it easier for anybody eating out in restaurants to find out about the presence of any allergens in any item on the menu.
The authorities have identified 14 common allergens. Restaurant owners have a legal obligation to inform customers if any of these 14 allergens are present in any of the foods they’ve ordered:
- Nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts
- Shellfish, including prawns, crab, crayfish, and lobster
- Cereal containing gluten
- Sesame seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Molluscs, including mussels, clams, snails, squid and whelks
- Sulphur dioxide, which is sometimes used in dried fruit as a preservative
Why Food Allergies Might Occur In A Restaurant
Although most restaurants are very vigilant about adhering to the legal guidelines, incidences of negligence do happen. Restaurant negligence regarding food allergies could be in the form of:
- Failing to inform consumers about the presence of the listed allergens in the food item they’ve ordered
- Incorrectly naming the ingredients in a food item, inadvertently leaving out the allergen
- Providing incorrect information when a customer asks for clarifications about a certain allergen
- Cross contamination that may occur from using the same cooking or handling equipment for all foods
- Responding inappropriately or not responding at all when a customer has an adverse reaction after eating their meal
Restaurant owners have a legal duty of care towards their customers. If they fail in their duty of care in any way, you could sue the restaurant for an allergic reaction.
Important Things To Do If You Suffer An Allergic Reaction In A Restaurant
If you suffer an allergic reaction to food in a restaurant and your symptoms are severe, call for an ambulance so you can receive immediate medical attention.
Even if you think your allergic reaction is not severe enough to warrant an ambulance, you should still visit your doctor at the earliest to get appropriate treatment for your mild reaction. Your medical report will have details about the type and extent of your allergic reaction and the treatment you received at the hospital. This report will serve as solid evidence if you decide to pursue a restaurant allergic reaction claim.
If you’re unable to do so yourself, ask your dining companion to take some photographs or video of the menu that you ordered from. Should you decide to pursue a restaurant allergic reaction claim, this can act as evidence that no allergen information was provided on the menu.
Write down details of what transpired at the restaurant, from the conversation you had with the server to the order placed and the food that was served to you. Also keep detailed notes of your reaction and the medical treatment you received. With so much going on, you may forget some seemingly small detail. Writing everything down serves as a reminder of the sequence of events.
As soon as you are able to, get in touch with a personal injury solicitor to get legal advice on suing a restaurant for a food allergy.
Making A Restaurant Negligence Food Allergy Claim
If you believe you may be eligible to sue a restaurant for a food allergy reaction but would like expert advice, most personal injury solicitors offer a free, no-obligation consultation. This gives potential claimants the opportunity to get professional advice as to whether or not they should sue the restaurant for compensation. If your allergic reaction compensation claim has merit, the might offer to fund your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
Our No Win No Fee claims agreement is very straightforward. Essentially, if you were to start a claim, you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re not asked to pay any upfront fees or asked to cover any legal expenses associated with your claim until compensation has been awarded. So, if your claim is successful, you’ll simply pay a percentage of the compensation which is set out in the No Win No Fee agreement. If the claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay anything at all.
A No Win No Fee agreement gives you the benefit of the solicitor’s expertise and experience without any financial risk. Once you’ve signed the agreement, the solicitor will get to work researching similar restaurant negligence claims and their compensation payouts. They may also consult with medical professionals to find out more about your food allergic reaction and potential long term consequences. They will then use their findings to put together a strong claim asking for the maximum compensation due to you under the law.
Exact compensation amounts for an allergic reaction in a restaurant vary depending on the nature and the extent of the claimants’ injuries. In general, you can expect to be compensated for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, cost of ongoing and future medical treatments, cost of home care and loss of income if your wages were cut because of extended time off from work.
Restaurant Negligence Food Allergy Claims Time Limit
What you should know is that there is a 3-year time limit for filing restaurant negligence food allergy claims. If you don’t file your claim within this period, you may forfeit any compensation that may be due to you for your injuries. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to get in touch with a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. The earlier you consult with a solicitor, the more time they’ll have to put together a strong claim while also ensuring that it is filed before the deadline.
If you’ve suffered an allergic reaction in a restaurant due to a food allergy and would like to discuss making a restaurant negligence food allergy claim, please contact us for a free consultation with a personal injury solicitor.