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

By Joanne Jeffries. Updated 29th October 2021. Welcome to our guide on allergic reaction claims against a restaurant. Do you suffer from a serious food allergy? If you have suffered from a serious food allergy reaction after eating at a restaurant, cafe, bar or another establishment that serves food, you might be wondering are restaurants liable for food allergies? You could be entitled to make a food allergy claim for compensation, if the allergic reaction was caused on the part of the restaurant or establishment.

Restaurant food allergic reaction are restaurants liable for food allergies

Restaurant food allergic reaction

Trust Accident Claims UK to provide you with an excellent food allergy claims solicitor to handle your compensation claim. We are a well respected personal injury law firm, that provide specialist solicitors with up to 30 years experience to claimants across Great Britain who could help you sue a restaurant for a reaction. Our solicitors have up to 30 years of experience handling personal injury claims for allergies and other injuries, so you’re bound to be in safe hands when it comes to making them meet their legal obligations. Our solicitors will always fight to help you when suing a restaurant and strive to win you the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to claim and you will have the option to make a no win no fee claim.

If you have suffered an extreme allergic reaction such as an anaphylactic shock after eating at a restaurant or a cafe, because of negligence on the part of the cafe, you could be entitled to claim damages & compensation for your injuries, plus additional special damages to reimburse you for any expenses associated with your injuries. If you are wondering, What are my rights if I had an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant? or are restaurants liable for food allergies, call Accident Claims UK to receive free legal advice and enquire about making a claim. One of our legal advisors will be able to determine whether or not you have legitimate grounds to make an allergy claim. If you have the right to claim, we will find the right personal injury lawyer to handle your claim and allow you to access free legal advice from a friendly solicitor as well as estimate how much money your allergic reaction personal injury claim could be worth.

To start your allergy personal injury claims process, call Accident Claims UK on 0800 073 8801. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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A Guide To Finding Out What Your Rights Are After Having An Allergic Reaction In A Restaurant

In this guide to food allergy claims, we will answer the question; “What are my rights if I had an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant?”  and Are restaurants liable for food allergies? We will go into depth to explain a food allergy definition, which common food allergies are a danger to sufferers and food allergies symptoms. We will explain what legal responsibilities a restaurant has towards their customers regarding food allergies, and under what circumstance you can make a claim for compensation. We will also explain what special damages you can claim compensation for as well as explaining Are restaurants liable for food allergies’ in more detail and we have included a personal injury claims calculator, to help you to determine how much compensation you could claim.

Are restaurants liable for food allergies?

To hold any restaurant liable for a food allergy that causes a reaction when you have checked the menu before you order, the restaurant’s menu must state clearly that an item is free from allergens.  For example, if it states is ‘gluten-free’ but you consume it and have a gluten allergic reaction, you could have a claim.

If you have experienced a serious allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant, because of the negligence on the part of the dining establishment, you could be asking ‘Are restaurants liable for food allergies?’ If they are negligent, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Call Accident Claims UK for your free personal injury claims consultation and if you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, we will provide you with an excellent allergy solicitor who will start working on your food allergy personal injury claim right away.

Food Allergies Definition

A food allergy is defined as the body’s immune system reacting unusually to specific foods. The body’s immune system wrongly mistakes proteins or other substances in certain foods as a threat. The immune system floods the body with chemicals as a result.

Common food allergies include:

  • nut allergy
  • egg allergy
  • milk allergy
  • dairy allergy
  • wheat allergy
  • soy allergy
  • fruit allergy
  • cereal allergy
  • gluten allergy
  • celery allergy
  • seafood allergy
  • fish allergy
  • lupin allergy
  • mustard allergy
  • shellfish allergy

If you believe you have a food allergy, speak to your GP immediately to arrange some food allergy testing.

Sometimes allergic reactions to food bring about minor symptoms which can still be very uncomfortable and unpleasant for the sufferer. Other times, the allergy sufferer can experience a anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if it goes untreated. If you are with someone who you believe is having an anaphylactic shock, act immediately. Call 999, ask for an ambulance and say you believe that the victim is suffering from “anaphylaxis” or “anaphylactic shock”.

This NHS Guide to Food Allergies has lots of helpful information about the causes, symptoms and treatment of food allergies.

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.

What Common Food Allergies Should Restaurants Warn You About?

If you’re wondering are restaurants liable for food allergies, according to Annex II of the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No.1169/2011 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 78/2014 amending Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. The following products must be indicated or labelled as being present in foods for sale in a dining establishment or shop:

  • Cereals containing gluten, which can trigger someone suffering from a cereal allergy, wheat allergy or gluten allergy, amongst other problems.
  • Crustaceans, which can trigger someone suffering from a seafood allergy or a fish allergy
  • Eggs, which could trigger someone suffering from an egg allergy or dairy allergy
  • Fish, which could trigger someone suffering from a fish allergy
  • Peanuts and nuts (especially hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecan nuts, pistachio nuts, Brazil nuts, & macadamia nuts), which could trigger someone suffering from a nut allergy
  • Milk and lactose, which could trigger someone suffering from a milk allergy
  • Soybeans, which could trigger someone suffering from a soy allergy
  • Celery and celeriac, which could trigger someone suffering from a celery allergy
  • Mustard, which could trigger someone suffering from a mustard allergy
  • Sesame, which could trigger somebody suffering from a sesame seed allergy
  • Lupin, which could trigger somebody suffering from a lupin allergy
  • Molluscs, which could trigger someone suffering from a shellfish allergy
  • Sulphur dioxide & sulphites, where they are added and present at a level above 10mg/kg or 10mg/L in the finished product. This can be used as a preservative in dried fruit. This can trigger an allergic reaction.

What Causes A Food Allergy?

If you suffer from a food allergy, it means that your body’s immune system mistakes proteins, or other substances in certain foods as harmful substances. The body releases chemicals in reaction to this, which can cause medical symptoms. Some allergic reactions are more minor, others can be very serious or even fatal. Different people’s bodies may react to allergenic ingredients in different ways.

Food Allergies Symptoms

Food allergy symptoms can vary from sufferer to sufferer. Some food allergy sufferers will experience minor injuries as a result, which can still be uncomfortable, painful or deeply unpleasant. Other individuals can experience food allergy symptoms that are so severe, the individual’s life could be put at risk.

Common symptoms of food allergies can include:

  • Angioedema: swelling around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth.
  • Itchy red rashes such as “hives” or urticaria
  • Vomiting
  • An itching inside the mouth, ears or throat

As have already mentioned, an anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis is the most serious form of food allergy reaction and can be fatal. Symptoms of an anaphylactic shock can include:

  • The throat swelling making breathing difficult
  • A tightening of the airways
  • A rapid pulse
  • Blood pressure dropping
  • Dizziness which can result in unconsciousness

An anaphylactic shock can be fatal. Another consequence can be that people who suffer from an anaphylactic shock can slip into a coma, which they may never wake up from. Remember, if you believe that someone is suffering from an anaphylactic shock, dial 999 immediately and request an ambulance. Tell the operator that you believe the victim is suffering from “anaphylaxis” or an “anaphylactic shock”.

Your Right To Be Informed About Allergens

The law states that retailers and owners of restaurants and other dining establishments must indicate which of the 14 common food allergies causing ingredients (listed earlier) are included in pre-packaged food, or a purchased meal. On pre-packaged food, the food allergen information has to be indicated on the packaging in bold, italic or coloured letters to make it stand out. At a restaurant, cafe or another venue that offers dining options, the allergenic ingredients have to be indicated in writing on the menu. This is to the benefit of people suffering from food allergies, and related illnesses such as coeliacs disease or food intolerances.

Many of our clients who have suffered an allergic reaction ask us “What are my rights after I had an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant?” and Are restaurants liable for food allergies? If you suffered an allergic reaction after eating food, or food with ingredients you were allergic to because of a misjudgement on your part, you will not be legally entitled to make a food allergy claim for compensation. However if the restaurant where you ate the food that caused the allergic reaction did not inform you in writing of the allergenic ingredients, then you could be entitled to make a food safety claim. Call Accident Claims UK, to be provided with an excellent food allergy claim solicitor, who will represent you in your food allergy claim for compensation.

Definitions Of Catering Establishments

Different catering establishments and methods of selling food, are defined according to the guidelines below.

Mass caterer/catering establishment:

This can include, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, static and mobile food stalls, canteens at workplaces, colleges or schools. In short, an establishment that serves prepared food for business purposes.

Prepacked food:

This is when food has been packed for sale, to a mass caterer or consumer. There is no communication between the producer and consumer. Examples of this will be wrapped confectionary or tinned foods.

Prepacked for direct sale:

These are foods that are packed on the premises where they are sold, such as takeaway sandwiches at a cafe. The customer can communicate with the producer about the ingredients in the product.

Non pre packed or loose foods

This definition would apply to foods that are sold loose, such as a takeaway pizza, or food from a salad bar at a supermarket.

Criminal Law And The Labelling Of Allergens

There are a number of food safety laws that are enforced in the United Kingdom, which are mostly from EU directives. These laws state that allergenic ingredients must be correctly labelled and food must be safe and of reasonable quality for human consumption. If a retailer or caterer fails to do so, and the customer who consumed the food becomes ill as a result, the customer may make a food safety claim against them and they may have to pay them personal injury compensation.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 And Compensation Claims

The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 states that if a product is: not fit for purpose, not of satisfactory quality (for example damaged) and not as described, then you have a right to make a claim for a refund. This legislation also applies for services. If you ate a meal at a restaurant that unfortunately fits the above criteria, you have the right to claim a refund. If unfortunately you were made seriously ill as a result of the low quality food, for example, you experienced food poisoning then you could be entitled to make a food safety claim for compensation. If you’d like to know how the Consumer Protection Act could affect your claim, please don’t hesite to get in touch.

What Damages Can I Claim For After An Allergic Reaction At A Restaurant?

If you experience a serious allergic reaction to food served at you at a restaurant or other dining establishment, which was due to negligence on the part of the business, even through cross contamination, you could be entitled to make a food allergy claim for compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries as a result, your claim could be worth a large amount of money in some cases. If you make a successful food safety claim, your personal injury compensation package will be awarded in two parts, general damages and special damages. We will look at what this means in more detail below.

General Damages

General damages will compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity that your allergic reaction to your food caused. This will usually be the large part of your food allergy claim payout.

Special Damages

Special damages are a reimbursement of any expenses you experienced as a result of your allergic reaction. This could include the cost of transportation to the hospital, or the cost of any medical treatment you needed. You can also claim compensation for any loss of income you experienced if you were unable to work because of your injuries.

If you have experienced an allergic reaction to food after eating at a restaurant because of negligence on the part of the restaurant, call Accident Claims UK today, to enquire about finding a food allergy solicitor.

Personal Injury Claims Calculator – Updated July 2021

If you believe you have the right to make a food allergy claim for compensation, use our personal injury claims calculator, to see how much you could claim. The calculator will estimate how much food allergy compensation compensation you could be entitled to. Your quoted price will not include special damages, so you could be owed even more money.

Form of injurySeverity of injurySettlement
Food poisoning (allergic reaction)(iv)£860- £2710
Food poisoning (allergic reaction)iii£3,710 to £8,950
Food poisoning (allergic reaction)ii£8,950 to £18,020
Food poisoning (allergic reaction)i£36,060 to £49,270
Loss of (anticipated) earningsN/ADepends on situation - call for details
Loss of (anticipated) benefitsN/ADepends on situation - call for details
PTSDSevere£56,180 to £94,470
Psychiatric General DamageSevere£51,460 to £108,620
Psychiatric General DamageModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460

Please note, this is automated information. For a more accurate estimation of how much compensation you can claim, call Accident Claims UK today for your free estimation and personal injury claims consultation.

No Win No Fee Restaurant Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

If you have been injured in a restaurant because of an allergic reaction to the food that you were served, you could be entitled to claim compensation. At Accident Claims UK, we will give you the opportunity to make a no win no fee claim. What does this mean? No win no fee means that your solicitor will handle your claim and provide you with an excellent service, but they will only charge you a fee if you win your claim. In the unlikely event that you do not win your claim, you will not have to pay a fee, so there is no financial risk towards you. For many of our clients, making a no win no fee compensation claim is the less stressful way to claim and the more cost effective.

Call Accident Claims UK today for your free food allergy claims consultation and to enquire about using a no win no fee food allergy solicitor today.

Contact Us To Start Your Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

Many potential compensation claimants contact Accident Claims UK to ask us, “What are my rights if I had an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant?”. If you experienced an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant, because of negligence on the part of the restaurant, call us today for your free legal consultation. We will determine if you are entitled to make a food allergy claim and if you are, we will provide you with an excellent food allergy claims solicitor to handle your claim. We will also estimate how much money you could receive in your compensation package and will give you the option to make a no win no fee claim, so there’s no risk of you going out of pocket.

Call Accident Claims UK today and it could be the start of your food allergy personal injury claims process. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Useful Links Relating To Allergic Reaction Claims Against A Restaurant

Restaurant Accident Compensation Claims Guide – Find Out How To Claim

Accidents At Work Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

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FAQ on are restaurants liable for food allergies

Are restaurants liable for food allergies when people are hospitalised?

According to a report released by the Food Standards Agency in 2017, 65% of the food-related hospital admissions were from food hypersensitivities, compared with 35% that were due to diseased foods. However, the FSA does acknowledge that usually, the recovery time is shorter for hypersensitivities than for disease caused by foodstuffs. You can see below how many days of hospitalisations were caused by hypersensitivities when compared with disease below. This does not, however, answer the questions of are restaurants liable for food allergies in these cases.

are restaurants liable for food allergies statistics graph

Are restaurants liable for food allergies when they cause psychological injuries?

It could be entirely possible for a restaurant to be held liable if someone suffers an allergic reaction due to a restaurant’s negligence and suffers mental trauma of some kind. Much emphasis is given to mental health these days, and conditions such as trauma and PTSD are more talked about. If you thought you were about to lose your life because of the allergic reaction, this could have an ongoing effect on your mental health. Should it stop you from working or enjoying life as you did before, this could be considered a psychological injury, and if the restaurant is responsible, they could be asked to pay you compensation for such injuries.

Are restaurants liable for food allergies if I take my own food in?

If you have consumed your own food that caused a reaction, you may be wondering are restaurants liable for food allergies of this type. The answer would usually be no, as if you purchased the food elsewhere, the restaurant you were eating in could not be held responsible for someone else’s food.

Could I make allergic reaction claims against a restaurant without using a personal injury solicitor?

If you are considering making a claim for compensation against a restaurant for a food allergy, you might be interested to learn that you could do so without a lawyer, however many people choose to work with one. This is because the claims process can be a little complex for the uninitiated. If you do not have experience in pulling together a strong claim, it might be wise to let a legal professional take on the legal legwork of making your claim. That way you could be sure that they would build as strong a case as possible, and fight for the maximum compensation possible for your claim.

Does it matter if my solicitor is local when making allergic reaction claims against a restaurant?

Whether you are claiming for anaphylaxis, or a milder allergic reaction,  you might be under the misapprehension that you’d have to use a solicitor that is based close to where you live. You may feel that the claims process would be easier if you could just pop in to see them. However, since most of the claims process is dealt with via letters, emails and phone calls, it doesn’t matter where your solicitor is based when you claim for compensation. We could provide you with a solicitor that is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and has years of experience in helping claimants just like you. It does not matter where in the UK you are, we could help you.

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 ?”