Allergic Reaction Injury Compensation Claims
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.
In our guide to claiming
allergic reaction injury compensation:
According to Allergy UK, one in over 20% develop an allergy at some point in their life, with numbers increasing every year.
The latest NHS data shows that there were 27,172 hospital admissions in 2020. In the same period, there were 4,756 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.
Serious and life-threatening allergies
In some cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction - anaphylactic shock - which can 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.
Given the risk of serious harm, food manufacturers, restaurants and shops should take care to correctly label and inform patrons of any allergens.
If you suffer an allergic reaction due to another party's failure to notify you about a allergen (or the risk of contamination), you could be entitled to claim compensation.
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
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.
Peanuts and ground nuts are allergens that can cause serious symptoms to affected individuals. Milk, soy, fish and shellfish can also trigger a severe reaction.
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.
What allergy symptoms can I claim for?
Whether you can claim compensation following an allergic reaction will depend on the seriousness of the reaction and the impact on your life and health. The compensation for minor, short-lived conditions is usually relatively low.
However, compensation may be higher for severe anaphylactic shock, even if you make a complete recovery.
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.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
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.
Can I claim if the allergic reaction injury made an existing injury worse?
Yes, although demonstrating this can be more difficult, so legal and medical advice should be sought as early as possible.
Can I still claim if I didn't report the allergic reaction injury?
If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue an allergic reaction injury claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.
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.
Can I still claim if I forgot my medication or epipen?
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.
If you do not carry your medication with you, in an environment where exposure to an allergen is foreseeable, the defendant may argue that you contributed to the seriousness of your injury. This is known as contributory negligence.
Whether your compensation will be reduced (or your claim rejected) on this basis will depend on the circumstances of the case.
What evidence do I need or an allergy 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 your reaction, not something else you had contact with elsewhere.
Receipts, menus, food labels and/or witness statements will help support your account. You should also write down everything you can remember about the incident, such as details of any conversation you have with a server or restaurant staff about your allergies.
Will my medical records help?
Definitely. 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.
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 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 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
- 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, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
|Dermatitis||Minor||A rash or irritation to hands||£1,360 to £3,150|
|Dermatitis||Moderate||Affecting hands with recovery expected||£6,890 to £9,100|
|Dermatitis||Serious||Affecting hands with indefinite duration||£10,960 to £15,300|
|Digestive system||Moderate||Serious non-penetrating injury with ongoing sympto||£13,380 to £22,130|
|Digestive system||Moderate||Moderate non-traumatic injury||£3,150 to £7,600|
|Digestive system||Severe||Severe toxicosis||£30,630 to £41,860|
|Digestive system||Serious||Penetrating wounds, lacerations or serious pressure||£5,280 to £10,040|
|Digestive system||Serious||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 and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Can I see the complete judicial college tables?
The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common allergic reaction injury claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.
Will I have to pay tax on my allergic reaction injury compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following an allergic reaction injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.
Calculate my allergic reaction injury compensation
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:
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?
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. Read more about making a No win, no fee 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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
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.
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.
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 376 1001 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.