By Fern Mitchell. Last Updated 3rd March 2021. Welcome to our guide on allergic reaction compensation claims, where we’ll address the question, “can I claim compensation for a food allergy reaction?”
Do you have a food allergy, such as nut allergy, egg allergy, or dairy food allergy? If so, you will understand the need for businesses involved in the production, distribution, and sale of food to take every possible measure to avoid cross-contamination of allergens, and notify people of potential food hazards, such as warnings that a product may contain nuts, dairy or gluten.
If, however, you have suffered an allergic reaction that was caused by a food product, either because it had not been correctly labelled, or if a restaurant, cafe, or shop had not provided a warning that a product may contain an allergen, then you may be able to make a food allergy compensation claim for the harm suffered.
Whilst the UK does have stringent legislation in place to try and protect those with food allergies, this country does still have one of the highest rates of incidents of allergic reaction globally. This has included a trend for there to be more incidences of this, and in some cases the reaction is fatal. This was seen in 2018, where there were high profile cases of people dying due to eating food with allergens, served in takeaway coffee shops. It has been put forward that the country is in the midst of an epidemic of allergies.
We have handled a variety of food allergy compensation claims, such as nut allergy claims. In this guide, you can find out more about food allergies, their causes and symptoms, what steps a business should take to protect its customers, and finally, how we can help you to claim compensation.
If you’d like to claim compensation for a food allergy reaction, you can do so by contacting our team at 0800 073 8801 or continue reading for more information.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Making A Food Allergy Compensation Claim
- What Is The Difference Between A Food Intolerance And A Food Allergy?
- What Causes Food Allergies To Develop?
- Who Is At Risk Of Having Or Developing A Food Allergy?
- 14 Foods Which Can Cause Allergic Reactions
- Guidelines On Handling Allergens For Businesses
- Managing Allergens And Notifying Customers Of Risks
- What Are The Different Types Of Food Allergy?
- What Are The Most Common Signs And Symptoms Of Food Allergies?
- What Is Anaphylaxis And What Are The Symptoms?
- Who Is Responsible If I Did Not Tell The Restaurant About My Allergy?
- How Is Negligence Or Liability Established?
- Deaths Caused By Food Allergies
- What Can My Allergy Compensation Claim Include Damages For?
- Calculating My Food Allergy Compensation Claim Settlement
- No Win No Fee Claims For An Allergic Reaction
- How Our Team Of Experts Can Help You
- Talk To Our Team Today
- Useful Contact Information And Helpful Guides
In this guide, we look at everything you need to know to successfully make an allergy compensation claim.
In most cases, whether they are instances of food or another type of allergy, the reaction will be minor or mild, and will not need serious medical care. However, for some, they can lead to a very severe reaction, or even to deaths in the most serious instances.
As mentioned, the UK has one of the highest rates of allergies globally. Some allergy statistics include;
- As many as 20% of people in the UK have some form of allergy.
- 44% of the adult population has one or more allergies.
- 48% of people with an allergy suffer from more than one.
- Between 1992 and 2012 the rate of people being admitted to hospital for anaphylactic reactions rose by 615%.
You can find out more about the statistics surrounding allergies at the Allergy UK website. If you suffer from milk, wheat or dairy allergy, or indeed from any other food allergy and have been harmed due to contaminated foods, then we may be able to help with allergic reaction compensation claims.
“What is the difference between an intolerance and an allergy?” “What happens to your body when you have a food allergy?” “Can food allergies be cured?” and “Can I claim compensation for a food allergic reaction?” are just some of the commonly asked questions which we will address in this article.
The symptoms of intolerance and an allergy, and your reaction to certain foods could present in similar ways to each other. As such, people often confuse food intolerances and allergies. An allergic reaction means that the immune system is reacting to the food in question. This can affect several of the organs and could even cause a life-threatening reaction in you. An intolerance will generally result in a far more mild reaction.
Those with food intolerance may still be able to eat smaller amounts of food without having a reaction. You can find out more about food intolerances in this NHS guide.
At a basic level, a food allergy and the reaction to the food is caused by a problem in the immune system. This means that it sees an otherwise harmless protein as a potential threat and reacts accordingly. It then releases certain chemicals which cause your symptoms.
Food allergies take several forms in the body; the most common of these are caused when a type of antibody called IgE or immunoglobulin E mistakes harmless proteins as a threat to the body. This then releases histamine, hence taking antihistamine medication to control certain allergic reactions.
What happens to your body when you have a food allergy?:
- Expansion of the smaller blood vessels, causing your skin to swell up and redden.
- Your skin may become itchy.
- Your nose produces more mucus as well as causing burning and itchiness.
There are competing theories as to why the proportion of the population affected by food allergies has risen in recent decades. Some argue that peoples, and children in particular’s, diets have changed, causing the rise in allergic reactions. Others argue that as children and adults spend more time in germ-free environments, our immune systems are not developing as fully in childhood.
Whilst many people wonder ‘can food allergies be cured’, at this time they can only be treated and managed.
As the causes of food allergies have not been clearly identified, we can not fully say who could will or will not get an allergic reaction. However, there are some factors that might increase a person’s risk of developing allergies. These risk factors might include;
- Having a family history of allergies: can increase your risk of having a food allergy. Family history might include close family members suffering from eczema, asthma, or similar food allergies. This does not mean you will develop the same allergy.
- Having another allergy: a child who developed eczema at an early age has a higher chance of later having food allergies.
Today the law states that the 14 main types of food allergen which can be present in a food must be clearly labelled to warn customers that a portion of food does contain or may contain these foods. These rules pertain to places that are serving pre-packaged foods. Restaurants and similar eateries must ensure that allergens are either explained by the staff or clearly marked on a menu.
What foods trigger allergies, and what food allergies might you be able to make a personal injury claim for?
- Nut allergy, this can include a variety of different nuts and legumes.
- Cereal allergy, including wheat allergy and gluten allergy,
- Soy allergy
- Peanut allergy
- Seafood and shellfish allergy,
- Molluscs allergy
- Fish allergy,
- Sesame allergy
- Celery allergy,
- Egg allergy,
- Milk and dairy allergy,
- Mustard allergy,
- Lupin allergy,
- Sulphur dioxide allergy, often used in preserving fruits
You can find more information on each of these types of food allergy in this PDF guide produced by the UK’s Food Standards Agency.
Food producers and any business selling foods have to follow the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC). You can find details of the regulation here. The basic rules are that food businesses must make sure that they provide customers with any necessary information on allergens contained in a product. This includes pre and non packaged drinks and foods. They also say that foods and the allergens identified above must be correctly handled to prevent cross-contamination.
Businesses must also provide the correct training to their staff about how to handle allergens, and how to warn customers if necessary that foods may contain or have been produced in the same areas as those ingredients listed above. Businesses must also consider if any ingredients they are using contain or were produced in places using these ingredients.
If you are a business and require further information on guidelines for handling allergens, you can find them in this guide from the Food Standards Agency.
At both the UK and the EU level there are regulations and guidelines on how businesses should or must handle ingredients that could cause someone to have an allergic reaction, such as someone with a wheat allergy accidentally being served foods with wheat in.
Restaurants and anywhere serving foods must ensure that customers are aware of any potential ingredients to which they may be allergic. Staff must make sure whether the customer is either intolerant or allergic to an ingredient. If the product is sold pre-packaged, the restaurant, takeaway, or cafe must ensure that the customer is aware of any allergens marked on the label.
You can find more information about labelling products and notifying customers on potential allergens in the Food Standards Agency guide referred to in the previous section, or this guide from the EU Safe Food website.
When claiming compensation for a food allergy reaction, there are three main types of food allergy which you could have experienced and be claiming compensation for the effects of. Depending on the symptoms which present, and how quickly they happen after eating the food in question, your allergy might be one of these three types.
- IgE-mediated allergies: These are the most common form of food allergy. These can be triggered by the body producing the IgE antibody. Typically, symptoms will present between a few seconds and a few minutes. They can even cause anaphylactic reactions.
- Non-IgE-mediated allergies: Those reactions not caused by IgE. They can be harder to provide a diagnosis of and could take several hours for the symptoms to fully present.
- Mixed food allergies: In these cases, the person might experience the symptoms of both IgE and non-IgE allergies.
Next, we will look at some of the more common signs and symptoms of food allergies and allergic reactions.
Whilst there are three main types of food allergy, there are more than three symptoms of a food allergy. The symptoms of a soy allergy or a shellfish allergy can vary in severity. In the next section, we will look at the more severe, but, these are those which can be less serious and more common.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
- Itchiness or tingling in your mouth.
- Itchiness in the skin with or without a raised and red rash.
- Swelling can present in the mouth, face, the throat, or elsewhere on the body.
- Problems trying to swallow.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Being light-headed or dizziness.
- Sickness, vomiting, or nauseated feelings.
- Pain in the abdomen and/ diarrhoea
- Symptoms similar in presentation to hay fever
If you experienced these symptoms due to being exposed to a food you have an allergy to, contact Accident Claims UK to find a personal injury lawyer for your case.
Anaphylaxis is a serious and potentially quickly fatal form of reaction to an allergen, such as those experienced by people with a nut allergy. Such reactions can be swift and could get worse in a short period of time.
When anaphylaxis presents, the early symptoms can be the same as those above. However, they can quickly get worse, leading to the following;
- Serious difficult in breathing.
- Tachycardia, commonly known as a very rapid heartbeat.
- A fall in blood pressure leading to confusion and lightheadedness.
- Following the previous symptoms, you may also experience Intense feelings of fear and anxiety.
- These symptoms will lead to unconsciousness and even death.
This condition is a serious emergency and needs rapid treatment. If you or someone else may be having this type of reaction you need to call for an ambulance immediately.
To find out what might affect the amount of compensation you get for a food allergy reaction, read on.
The law is clear in that those selling and serving the food must warn customers if any of the foods which may trigger a food allergy listed above are contained in their food, or prepared in the same area. This applies whether or not the customer has informed them that they have a particular food allergy, such as a cereal allergy. Whether or not a customer informs the restaurant or staff about an allergy does not affect their ability to make a personal injury claim.
If the diner is allergic to an ingredient that the restaurant does not have to provide a warning about, then it is the responsibility of the customer to make this allergy known before ordering and eating any food.
If you did not inform the restaurant about an allergy, you might be able to make a claim through a personal injury lawyer. However, the courts may need to establish liability and could split liability in such cases.
A common question we’re asked is “can I claim compensation for a food allergic reaction?”. If you have been made ill because of an allergic reaction in the past three years, and if someone else caused it, you might be able to make a claim. In order for your solicitor or lawyer to make your claim, you need to demonstrate the following;
- That the food did contain a known allergic ingredient, such as those which can cause a gluten allergy.
- That the claimant was not provided with warnings that the food either did or could contain this allergen.
- That you did suffer an allergic reaction
- Medical evidence, you will need to visit a doctor or medical practitioner as soon as possible. This is so that the doctor can diagnose your condition. This will provide the first piece of evidence of your claim, medical evidence.
In some cases, it can be several hours after eating food till the symptoms present. In such cases, the solicitor will then need to show that the food in question, served by or bought from the defendant, was the cause of the allergic reaction.
If the allergen led to the person suffering a fatal allergic reaction, the compensation claim might be much higher. However, each and every case is different and each and every claim is also unique. This means that we can not say how much your particular fatal accident claim could be worth, without assessing your unique claim.
No matter the type of allergy claim, whether a celery allergy claim, sulphur dioxide allergy claim, or a mustard allergy claim, you are making, there are certain things that you may be able to claim alongside your illness itself.
These other components to an allergy compensation claim, or any, are called special damages. Some of the most common forms of special damages are;
- Income, earnings, and benefits which you have lost as a result of any time off due to your illness.
- The cost of getting to and from any medical appointments, or other necessary appointments for your case.
- Medical treatments which you have had to pay out of pocket for, such as any private healthcare which were necessary.
- The cost of any care in the home which you need, either provided by a friend, family member, or a professional carer, as well as the costs of any equipment you may need, or changes that need to be made to your house or vehicle.
In the next section, our personal injury claims calculator will look at how much you may be able to claim in general damages.
If you’re curious as to the potential value of allergic reaction compensation claims, this section will tell you everything you need to know.
How much compensation your claim could be awarded will depend on a combination of factors. As an alternative to a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve provided estimates of how much people can claim for different consequences of this type of injury. These figures have been taken from the Judicial College Guidelines.
|Form of injury||Severity of injury||Notes||Settlement|
|Illness - food poisoning||Minor||Short term food poisoning which would (usually) clear up within a few days.||£860 to £3,710|
|Illness - food poisoning||Moderate||More moderte cases of food poisoning might last up to a week.||£3,710 to £8,950|
|Illness - food poisoning||Serious||Serious cases of food poisoning might last much longer, at one to two weeks, and require hospital treatment.||£8,950 to £18,020|
|Illness - food poisoning||Severe||The most severe cases of food poisoning can last for more than ten days with longer term symptoms lasting as much as a year.||£36,060 to £49,270|
|Loss of earnings||N/A||This takes your income into account to calculate how much you could be awarded.||Up To - £400,000 + This depends on your earnings|
Remember, these figures are provided for illustrative purposes and how much your claim may be awarded will differ from these. To chat with someone about your case and see how much compensation for food allergy reaction you could be owed, contact our team today.
One of the best and easiest ways to make a claim for the effects of being exposed to an allergen when you had an allergy (such as a lupin allergy), is to do so through a claims management company offering a no win no fee service.
No win no fee or conditional fee agreements will set out and explain the work that a solicitor or lawyer will do, what the ‘success fee’ will be, and the conditions under which this will be paid.
When you choose to make a claim with us we will explain how the agreement works, and make sure you know there are no hidden fees or charges. With no upfront payments, you can spend more time and effort getting better. We’ll work to get you the amount of compensation you deserve for a food allergy reaction.
So, with so many personal injury solicitors and claims management companies across the UK, why should you choose to work with our team of experts? At Accident Claims UK we work with a nationwide panel of solicitors, some of which have decades of experience in securing claimants like you the settlement you deserve. They have proven track records of getting people the right outcome to their claim and doing so through no win no fee agreements.
Claiming compensation for a food allergy reaction doesn’t need to be difficult. There are several quick and easy ways in which you can get in contact with us to start your claim.
- You can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 073 8801
- You can send an email to our team at Office@AccidentClaims.co.uk
- Fill in our online contact form here www.accidentclaims.co.uk/contact-us
Or simply click ‘Online Claims Advisor’ on this page.
Whichever way you choose to get in touch with us, we are ready to start working on your claim.
Allergic reaction compensation claims FAQs
How much of a food allergen does it take to trigger an allergic reaction?
There’s no standard dose of an allergen that can trigger an allergic reaction in someone with allergies. It’s something that can vary from person to person, which is why extreme caution should be taken whenever possible.
Some people with allergies to certain foods need to ingest the allergen in order for an allergic reaction to be triggered. But for some people, cross-contamination with an allergen is enough to trigger anaphylaxis, which can be dangerous. This is why it’s really important that all possible steps are taken to prevent cross-contamination when preparing food for someone with allergies.
How long do food allergy symptoms last?
When you have an allergic reaction to food, the symptoms will usually start within a few minutes of you consuming the allergen. But just because your symptoms go away after an allergic reaction doesn’t mean you’re no longer in danger.
Sometimes, the symptoms of an allergic reaction can ease only to return hours later. This is known as a “biphasic reaction”. Because of this, people who suffer from severe allergic reactions should be under medical supervision for four to six hours after suffering their initial reaction.
If you need more help or information on allergic reaction compensation claims, you can find this through the useful contact details and additional helpful guides below, or get in touch with our team using the methods listed above.
Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency helps to ensure that the food we buy and eat meets the UK high food safety standards.
Food Standards Agency Resource
This online resource for employers and staff helps to ensure that your team is fully up to speed with the required food standards in the UK.
Medical negligence compensation claims
If you’ve been the victim of medical negligence and want to claim compensation, read our guide.
A guide to claiming compensation after an allergic reaction to peanuts.
Our guide to claiming for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Thank you for reading our guide to allergic reaction compensation claims. We hope that we’ve been able to answer the question “can I claim compensation for a food allergic reaction?”