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Who is liable for an allergic reaction to food?


When it comes to accidents in public, allergic reactions in restaurants do not immediately spring to mind as the obvious example. Whilst the physical injuries caused by slips, trips and falls may be easier to notice or give a clearer indication that an accident has occurred, allergic reactions can be every bit as serious. Certain foods are more likely to evoke an allergic reaction than others. The most common offenders include:

  • Wheat products;
  • Dairy products, such as milk and cheese;
  • Shellfish and other varieties of seafood;
  • Nuts, especially peanuts; and
  • Some fruits and vegetables, including carrots and apples.

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from person to person. The most common signs that someone is struggling include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Rashes developing on the skin. Existing conditions such as eczema may also get noticeably worse;
  • Disruptions to the digestive system, such as diarrhoea or vomiting;
  • Swelling around the face and lips;
  • Breathing difficulties, which may be similar to those of an asthma attack; and
  • Difficulty swallowing.

Suffering allergic reactions in public places can be a deeply distressing and worrying experience for both the victims and those who are with them at the time. Therefore, it is important to remember that you may be due some personal injury compensation.

A key part of a successful accident compensation claim is establishing who is at fault. As a general rule of thumb, any business which prepares or provides food is responsible for ensuring that the health of people with food allergies is not put at risk. If the restaurant or a similar food establishment created or carried the food without due care and attention, then a food allergy claim may be forthcoming from someone who is injured as a result.

However, some responsibility also falls on the person who has the allergy. It is important that you inform the staff of institutions immediately of any food allergies you have before eating. Failing to do so will significantly decrease your chance of making a successful food allergy claim in the event of an allergic reaction.

Apportioning blame in food allergy cases can be complicated. You must demonstrate both that the food consumed contained the relevant substance and that it was this that caused the reaction. Our legal team here at Accident Advice Helpline can answer any claim questions you have and guide you through the process. Call us today on 0800 689 5659.