Allergic reaction injury compensation claims
This easy-to-follow guide covers everything you must know about making an allergic reaction compensation claim.
According to Allergy UK, one in four people develop an allergy at some point in their life, with numbers increasing every year.
Figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) stated that NHS hospitals in England dealt with 20,320 admissions for allergies in the 12 months to February 2014, an increase of almost 8%. Of these, 61.8% were emergencies, a 6.2% increase on the same period last year. Nearly one in five were for anaphylactic reactions, an increase of 9.9% per cent.
Hospital admissions for food allergies increased by 6.4 per cent.
If you have suffered an allergic reaction injury in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Despite precautions taken by the allergy sufferer, contact with the allergen may 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.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Bringing a claim for personal injury due to an allergic reaction may require the claimant to demonstrate that she informed the defendant of an allergy or enquired whether an allergen was present.
The claimant 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.
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.
Depending on which allergen a person is allergic to, reactions 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 a cough.
People allergic to certain foods or medication may experience symptoms which may include a raised, itchy red rash (urticaria or hives); swelling that affects the mouth, eyes and face; abdominal pain and gastric upset; or 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.
In very rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction - anaphylactic shock - which may be fatal.
Whilst 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 particular allergen.
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
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 who know what their allergy is triggered by. 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.
Typically a no win no fee arrangement (technically known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is entered into between the claimant and a personal injury lawyer.
The no win no fee agreement is in essence the conditions under which the solicitor represents the claimant.
It sets out what the solicitor will do and how he is rewarded if your compensation claim is won.
If you choose Quittance Personal Injury for your allergic reaction compensation claim there will be no additional fees , nothing to pay up-front and the peace of mind that you will not be financially out of pocket.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim allergic reaction injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Meet the QLS team
Our national panel of solicitors help injured people with all types of personal injury claims and have a wealth of experience in fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our lawyers are chosen on the basis of their professionalism and their winning track record.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert