A Guide to Claiming Allergic Reaction Injury Compensation

If you have been affected by an allergic reaction we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an allergic reaction and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

According to Allergy UK, one in four people develop an allergy at some point in their life, with numbers increasing every year.

The latest 2019 NHS data shows that there were 28,177 hospital admissions in 2018. In the same period, there were 4,836 admissions for allergy-induced anaphylactic shock.

Hospital admissions for food allergies are increasing year on year.

If you have suffered an allergic reaction as a result of another person's actions or negligence, you may be able to claim compensation.

UPDATE - Full ingredient labelling from 2021

In September 2019, the Government passed a law making full allergen and ingredient labelling mandatory as from October 2021.  Critically, the legislation will also apply to food prepared and sold on the premises.

Read more about food allergy claims

Allergens and allergies

An allergen is any substance that causes the body's immune system to overreact and produce antibodies against it.

An allergy occurs because a person develops a sensitivity to the allergen when the body's immune system produces a type of antibody - immunoglobin E (IgE) - to fight off the allergen

If the body comes into contact with the allergen again, IgE antibodies are released, and chemicals produced that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Serious and life-threatening allergies

In sporadic cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction - anaphylactic shock - which may be fatal.

While most allergic reactions occur locally in a particular part of the body, in anaphylaxis, the allergic reaction involves the whole body, usually within minutes of coming into contact with a specific allergen.

What are the signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock?

The symptoms of anaphylactic shock can include any or all of the following:

  • Swelling of the throat and mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A rash anywhere on the body
  • Flushing and itching of the skin
  • Stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • A sudden feeling of weakness, due to a fall in blood pressure
  • Collapsing and becoming unconscious

Allergic reaction symptoms vary

Most common are airborne substances such as pollen, which cause the typical symptoms of hay fever - sneezing, blocked, itchy or runny nose; conjunctivitis - itchy, red, streaming eyes and asthma - wheezing, breathlessness and coughing.

People allergic to certain foods or medication may experience symptoms, including:

  • a raised, itchy red rash (urticaria or hives)
  • swelling that affects the mouth, eyes and face
  • abdominal pain and gastric upset
  • atopic eczema where the skin becomes dry, red and cracked.

Substances such as ingredients in soaps, cosmetics or hair dyes that come into direct contact with the skin may cause a type of eczema known as contact dermatitis.

Claiming for an allergic reaction

Despite precautions taken by the allergy sufferer, contact with the allergen may still occur due to the negligence of another.

For example: if an allergen is contained within a food, but not declared on the label, or a customer is wrongly informed that a menu item is free from an allergen and the food is consumed causing an allergic reaction, the food producer may be found liable for the incident.

Under the Food Safety Act 1990 individuals and businesses may also be prosecuted in relation to their management of food allergy risks.

A beautician or hairdresser who uses products containing ingredients that she has been informed the customer has an allergy to may have failed in her duty of care to the client if that client has an allergic reaction to the treatment.

Do I have an allergic reaction injury claim?

You should be eligible to make an allergic reaction injury claim if your injury happened:

  • within the last three years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out whether you may have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

What are the exceptions?

If these two points don't apply to you, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.

To get an impartial answer, you can speak to an allergic reaction injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will confirm whether you have a claim. We will never put you under pressure to start a claim.

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an allergic reaction injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?

A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.

Avoiding allergens

A person who knows of their allergy will generally take steps to avoid all contact with that allergen. For food allergies this would include checking labels on pre-packaged food, and if eating out, seeking confirmation that menu items were nut-free.

A person with a known allergy to certain cosmetic ingredients would use products that were free from the allergens and should advise a beautician or hairdresser before any treatment.

Contributory negligence and allergic reactions

Most people know what they are allergic to. In serious cases, an individual is likely to have been professionally diagnosed and prescribed adrenalin and perhaps other medications as well.

A claimant who does not carry that medication with her in an environment where exposure to an allergen is foreseeable may be found to have contributed to the injury and any compensation reduced. This is known as contributory negligence and will be heavily dependent on the circumstances of the case.

Collecting the evidence for a claim

Making a claim for an allergic reaction may require you to demonstrate that you informed the defendant of your allergy, or that you enquired whether an allergen was present.

You may also need to show that it was the particular substance that caused the reaction, not something she subsequently had contact with elsewhere.

In the case of anaphylaxis, where the reaction is generally within minutes of contact with the allergen, records made by healthcare professionals treating the patient may help to establish the cause. These include:

  • Measurement of mast cell tryptase over a period of time (the specific test to help confirm a diagnosis of an anaphylactic reaction)
  • A description of the reaction with circumstances and timings to help identify potential triggers.
  • A list of administered treatments.
  • Copies of relevant patient records, e.g. ambulance charts, emergency department records, observation charts, anaesthetic charts.
  • Results of any investigations already completed, including the timings of mast cell tryptase samples.

How much compensation can I claim for an allergic reaction injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your allergic reaction injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your allergic reaction injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an allergic reaction injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Allergic reaction injury compensation amounts

The following allergic reaction injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Dermatitis
A rash or irritation to hands £1,360 to £3,150
Affecting hands with recovery expected £6,890 to £9,100
Affecting hands with indefinite duration £10,960 to £15,300
Digestive system
Serious non-penetrating injury with ongoing sympto £13,380 to £22,130
Moderate non-traumatic injury £3,150 to £7,600
Severe toxicosis £30,630 to £41,860
Penetrating wounds, lacerations or serious pressure £5,280 to £10,040
Serious non-traumatic injury £7,600 to £15,200

What is the average injury compensation for an allergic reaction injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an allergic reaction injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your allergic reaction injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Allergic reaction injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an allergic reaction injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your allergic reaction injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an allergic reaction claim take?

How long it can take to settle an allergic reaction claim can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. See:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for an allergic reaction injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

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How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any fees if your allergic reaction injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an allergic reaction injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my allergic reaction injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my allergic reaction injury claim?

If your allergic reaction injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about how no win, no fee works

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Allergic reaction injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an allergic reaction injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the allergic reaction injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your allergic reaction injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an allergic reaction injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim allergic reaction injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an allergic reaction injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert