What Are My Legal Rights If I Had An Allergic Reaction After Eating At A Restaurant?

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 31st January 2024. If you have suffered an allergic reaction in a restaurant due to them breaching their duty of care, you may be able to make a restaurant allergies claim. Restaurants must inform you if any dish contains one of the 14 main allergens. If they fail to do so, and suffer an allergic reaction as a result, you may be able to claim compensation.

Within this guide, we will discuss the duty of care that restaurants owe you in regard to allergens. We will also explain the specific eligibility requirements you must meet to be able to pursue a claim. Furthermore, this guide will discuss the different heads of claim that could be awarded for a successful compensation claim and how one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you with claiming them.

If you have any questions regarding allergic reaction claims due to not listing allergies in restaurants, you can contact our advisors. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you and offer free advice. They can be reached via:

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Eligibility Criteria For Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

As occupiers of a public space, the owners and managers of restaurants have a responsibility to ensure the reasonable health and safety of people who use their services. If there are actions they can take to make their premises or services relatively safer, they are expected to take them.

This responsibility in regard to food allergies and customers means that restaurants must take steps to reduce the risk of someone with an allergy suffering harm. If a restaurant is serving foods with common allergens, then an allergy warning on the menu is mandatory.

If you were to inform a restaurant of a food allergy, the restaurant has a responsibility to ensure that any food that is served to you is prepared in a way that will not allow your listed allergies or contaminants to harm you.

If you could prove a restaurant did not take the appropriate steps to prevent you from suffering, and you experienced an allergic reaction as a result, you could potentially claim compensation.

Our guide will go into more detail about the laws surrounding allergens and how to start a claim for food poisoning, or an allergic reaction in a restaurant. If you have any questions you want answered directly, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our advice team.

What Does The Law Say About Restaurants And Food Allergens?

Before we proceed, let’s determine what legal responsibilities restaurants, cafes and other dining establishments are responsible for, regarding food allergies. Restaurants are of course in no way responsible for a customer’s allergies, or how they choose to manage their medical condition. However, according to the law, it requires food and beverage suppliers to clearly indicate 14 specific allergenic ingredients, either on the item’s packaging or on the menu. Not doing so is negligence.

Therefore if a customer suffers from a food allergy and consumes an allergenic ingredient because the allergenic ingredient was not labelled or indicated on food allergen labelling, the food supplier could be held legally liable for any injuries caused and have to pay the customer compensation. Many restaurants also have a policy of telling customers to ask restaurant staff about which foods are safe for them to eat if they have an allergy, which will cover any food allergies not covered by the law. If a staff member incorrectly informs a customer about the allergenic ingredients in a food items because of lack of staff training then this could also be taken as negligence on the part of the restaurant.

Personal Injury Claims Calculator

If your allergic reaction compensation claim is successful, you will receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the harm you suffered under general damages.

Those calculating general damages compensation could look at the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for assistance. This publication provides guideline compensation brackets for various injuries at different severities. You can see some figures from the JCG’s 16th edition (published in 2022) in the table below, aside from the first figure. 

This is only, however, meant as guidance. Your compensation would depend on the unique factors associated with your case.

Form of injurySeverity of injurySettlement
Multiple serious injuries causing financial expenses and/or loss. Combinations of serious injuries which cause financial losses, such as loss of income as well as pain and suffering. Up to £250,000+
KidneySerious permanent damage to both kidneys or loss of them.£169,400 to £210,400
Brain Damage - Moderate (ii)A moderate to modest intellectual deficit with some risk of epilespy.£90,720 to £150,110
Psychiatric General Damage - SevereImpact on all areas of the person’s life and a very poor prognosis. £54,830 to £115,730
PTSD - SevereImpacting every part of the person’s life, including ability to work and form relationships. £59,860 to £100,670
Psychiatric General DamageModerately Severe - Significant impacts as per the above bracket but with a more positive prognosis. £19,070 to £54,830
Digestive System (b) (i)i - Severe toxicosis requiring hospital admission and resulting in some incontinence and continuing bowel problems. £38,430 to £52,500
Digestive System (b) (ii)ii - Serious yet short lived. Diminishing over 2-4 weeks but resulting in some ongoing issues over enjoyment of food. £9,540 to £19,200

Additionally, you could receive compensation for monetary costs and losses caused by your injuries, under the head of claim special damages.

These could include:

  • Medical expenses, such as prescription fees, for example.
  • Travel expenses, for costs associated with getting to medical appointments, for example.
  • Care costs, for costs of care at home if your injuries have left you unable to care for yourself.
  • Loss of earnings, for the loss of your usual income because of time you’ve needed to take off work while recovering.

You will need to provide evidence of these losses with documents such as bank statements, payslips and receipts.

To find out more about compensation payouts for allergic reaction claims against a restaurant, please contact an advisor.

No Win No Fee Restaurant Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

One of our solicitors who has experience working on allergic reaction claims against a restaurant may be able to help you with your claim, provided that it is valid. They can assist you with gathering evidence, and can put together your claim for you. They can also negotiate a compensation settlement on your behalf.

Additionally, they may offer to take on your case under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee agreement. This means that you generally aren’t expected to pay any upfront or ongoing service fees to your solicitor. Additionally, you will not have to pay for their work if your claim fails.

Should your claim succeed, your solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation. This fee is a small percentage that is subject to a legal cap.

If you would like to see if one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could assist with your claim, or you have questions about making an allergic reaction claim, please contact an advisor.

Useful Links Relating To Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

Thank you for reading this guide to having an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant and making allergic reaction claims against a restaurant. Hopefully, we’ve answered the question of “are restaurants liable for food allergies ?”