If you’re an allergy sufferer, you’ll know how careful you need to be when you’re eating out. Whether it be at a fast food restaurant or a fine dining establishment, you’ll always be on the lookout for allergens in any food you purchase. However, mistakes with food preparation or labelling can sometimes lead to allergic reactions that can result in serious illness. This article on allergic reaction compensation claims will explain when you could be compensated for such mistakes and what you could claim compensation for.
We specialise in personal injury claims. We offer free consultations with regard to claiming allergic reaction compensation where your claim will be reviewed and you’ll be offered advice about your next steps. If your claim is strong enough and accepted by one of our personal injury lawyers, you won’t need to pay any legal fees upfront because of their No Win, No Fee service. Usually, that makes the whole claims process much less stressful.
Please carry on reading to find out more about claiming compensation for an allergic reaction or give us a call on 0800 652 1345 to discuss your claim today.
What causes an allergic reaction?
Essentially, if you suffer an allergic reaction after eating or coming into contact with certain foods, it is because your body has wrongly identified that an ingredient is dangerous. When that happens, the immune system sends chemicals such as histamine to try and protect you from the allergen. It is this process that causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Importantly, allergic reactions to food are not the same as food intolerances although, in milder cases, the symptoms may be similar.
Additionally, allergic reactions can also occur after exposure to some chemicals such as those used in hair dyes, medications and manufacturing processes. If you’ve suffered any type of allergic reaction, you could be entitled to claim compensation for your suffering.
Symptoms of a food allergy
The most common type of food allergy is called an IgE-mediated food allergy. Some of the symptoms associated with this type of allergic reaction include:
- Itching or tingling in and around the mouth.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Swelling of the mouth, throat and face.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Hives – a raised red itchy rash.
- A shortness of breath.
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
Symptoms can be mild and last for a matter of minutes or longer-lasting for some sufferers. For non-IgE mediated food allergies, symptoms might not present until a few days after contact with the allergen.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis
In more serious cases, the sufferer could go on to suffer anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening condition that must always be treated as a medical emergency. Some of the symptoms caused by anaphylaxis include:
- Breathing problems.
- Swollen tongue.
- Fainting or becoming unconscious.
- Tight chest.
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing.
If you believe you should be compensated after suffering an allergic reaction, why not call our team today?
Can I sue for an allergic reaction?
In general, you’ll need to prove the following to make a successful allergic reaction compensation claim:
- You were owed a duty of care by the defendant.
- The defendant’s negligence caused you to suffer an allergic reaction.
- You suffered some form of physical or mental harm because of the allergic reaction.
Later on in this article, we’ll look at what types of proof could be used to support an allergic reaction claim.
Food allergy claims
Food businesses such as restaurants, cafes, bars and fast food outlets must display details of allergens used in their products. Legally, these are the 14 allergens that must be advertised: peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, lupin, fish, mustard, milk, celery, sesame, molluscs, eggs, sulphites, crustaceans and cereals containing gluten.
The way the allergen information is advertised can vary. Businesses can choose to advertise them on the menu, on a noticeboard or even on their website. If they choose the latter, there must be clear signage in the restaurant about where you can find the information you need.
Allergens in prepacked foods
The rules for prepacked food are different to that above. Here, the packaging should clearly indicate any allergens that are present (i.e by using bold fonts, CAPITALS or underlining) as well as any that could be present (may contain nuts for example). As such you could sue a food business if you’ve suffered an allergic reaction because:
- There was no obvious way to identify the presence of allergens in your food.
- You were given incorrect information about allergens after asking the staff.
- Poor hygiene or food handling procedures led to cross-contamination of your food.
- An ingredient was used in your meal that was not advertised on the menu.
Allergic reaction at work
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers need to try and keep their staff as safe as possible. As such, they may need to mitigate for any potential allergens in the workplace such as:
You could be entitled to compensation from your employer if you’ve suffered an allergic reaction at work because:
- Your employer failed to find out if you were allergic to known allergens used in the workplace.
- You were not provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Your employer failed to react when you raised concerns about allergens at work.
- There was inadequate ventilation in the workplace.
- You were not able to take adequate rest breaks.
If you believe you should be compensated after suffering an allergic reaction at work, please get in touch with our team today.
Allergic reaction to a medication
Some people are allergic to certain drugs like penicillin and other antibiotics. For this reason alone, medical professionals should always check before prescribing medicines known to contain allergens.
You may be entitled to claim for an allergic reaction to drugs if:
- A doctor prescribed a drug you were known to be allergic to because they failed to check your records.
- A pharmacist dispensed a drug you were allergic to rather than the prescribed medication.
- A nurse or doctor administered a drug in a hospital without checking your medical records for allergens.
Our panel of solicitors can help with allergic reaction claims caused by medical negligence so please get in touch to discuss your options.
How much compensation for an allergic reaction can I claim?
The suffering caused by an allergic reaction can vary from case to case. As such, it’s essential to fully understand how you’ve been affected before submitting your claim.
In most cases, your claim will be based on general damages (physical and mental suffering) as well as special damages (costs incurred). That means your claim could compensate you for:
- Your physical symptoms and the associated suffering.
- Fear for life, anxiety, depression and other forms of psychiatric injury.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal hobbies.
- Loss of earnings. If you suffer a life-changing injury, you could also claim for future income loss as well.
- Care costs to cover the time of a family member or professional carer.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel costs.
- Vehicle or home modifications to help you deal with any permanent disability resulting from your allergic reaction.
We believe you stand a better chance of being fully compensated if you work with a personal injury solicitor. If your claim is taken on by a solicitor on our panel, they’ll strive to secure the maximum compensation for an allergic reaction possible by getting a full understanding of how you’ve suffered.
Providing proof for an allergic reaction claim
When you make an allergic reaction claim, you’ll typically need to have proof that shows the cause of your reaction and any subsequent injuries, how they affected you and who was to blame. This is needed to convince the defendant’s insurers about why you should be compensated.
The types of proof that might help with this include:
- Food packaging and menus. To help prove that there was a lack of allergen labelling, it’s a good idea to retain any food packaging or take photographs of the menu.
- Medical records. It’s important to have your allergic reaction diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. Hospital or GP records can be obtained to help prove the extent of your suffering.
- Witness statements. Anybody else who was present when you suffered an allergic reaction to food or chemicals could be asked for a statement by your solicitor. This could be to confirm what happened or what was said by staff if you’d asked about allergens before ordering food for example.
- CCTV footage. In more serious cases, if your allergic reaction was caught on camera, you may be able to get a copy of the footage if available. This should be done quickly as it’s usually not retained for too long.
- Food samples. If you can, it can be worthwhile to keep a sample of the food in an airtight container in case it needs to be tested to prove the presence of an allergen.
- Incident reports. If you suffered an allergic reaction on a company’s premises, you should report it as soon as possible. A copy of the accident report form could make it easier to prove when and where you were made ill.
If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll help you to secure as much proof as needed to support your allergic reaction claim. If you already have any, please let us know when you call to discuss your claim.
Claiming for a fatal allergic reaction
Unfortunately, some allergic reactions can be fatal. If you’ve lost a loved one because of an allergic reaction caused by negligence, we know that compensation won’t make your loss any easier.
However, we could still help you with a fatal accident claim at a later date if that’s what you decide to do. Compensation could be sought to cover the death and any pain suffered by your loved one on behalf of their estate. Additionally, you could be compensated if you were financially dependent on the deceased or if you incurred costs such as funeral expenses.
Please let us know if you do wish to claim and we’ll provide free legal advice about your next steps.
Allergic reaction compensation claim time limits
In the UK, any type of personal injury claim has a 3-year time limit. For allergic reaction compensation claims, this will usually start from the date you were made ill. However, it could begin later if your symptoms were not diagnosed right away.
If you’re claiming after your child has suffered an allergic reaction, you can claim at any time before their 18th birthday by applying to be a litigation friend. If you don’t claim yourself, they’ll have until their 21st birthday to submit a claim.
Finally, if you’re claiming for a fatal allergic reaction, you’ll have 3-years from the date of death or from when you found out about the death.
To clarify how long you have to start an allergic reaction claim, please get in touch.
No Win, No Fee claims
All the personal injury solicitors on our panel provide a No Win, No Fee service for all allergic reaction claims they take on. As a result, you won’t be asked to pay any upfront legal fees and you won’t pay a penny if the claim is unsuccessful.
At the start of the claims process, your solicitor will forward you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to sign. This is your contract and it sets out the work that your solicitor will do for you.
It will also inform you of the success fee you’ll pay if the claim is won. This is a percentage of any compensation paid to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work. Legally, success fees in personal injury claims are capped at 25% of any settlement when using a CFA.
Start an allergic reaction compensation claim today
Please call our team of advisors on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like to discuss an allergic reaction compensation claim. The call is free as is any legal advice you receive even if you don’t go on to start a claim.
All accepted claims are managed on a No Win, No Fee basis to make the claims process as risk-free as possible.
You can contact our live chat advisors at any time if you need immediate advice on starting an allergic reaction compensation claim.