Food Allergy Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a food allergy injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a food allergy injury 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
food allergy compensation:
According to AllergyUK, more than 44% of people in the UK are affected by allergies.
An estimated two million people in the UK have food allergies, including 6 to 8 per cent of all children. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), around 5,000 people are hospitalised each year due to allergic reactions to food.
Wheat, dairy products, peanuts, and seafood are among the foods most likely to evoke an allergic reaction.
Symptoms vary from person to person. Typically symptoms eczema, asthma, hives, allergic rhinitis, stomach pain and facial swelling. In the most severe cases, a person may enter anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening.
The majority of food allergy-related hospitalisations are caused by restaurants and takeaways giving misleading information about the allergenic ingredients contained in their food.
If you have suffered an allergic reaction to the food you have purchased, you may be able to claim food allergy compensation.
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.
What does the law currently say?
The Food Information for Consumers Regulations came into force in the UK on December 2014. The Regulations are designed to make it easier for allergy sufferers to find out about the presence of any allergenic ingredients in food when eating out.
Restaurants and takeaways, as well as shops that sell pre-packaged foods, must now warn customers about the main 14 food allergens that are present in the food they serve to customers. These are:
- Cereals containing gluten
- Crustaceans (prawns, lobster, crabs, crayfish)
- Molluscs (clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid)
- Mustard seed
- Sesame seeds
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts)
- Sulphur dioxide (sometimes used as a preservative in dried fruit.)
In pre-packed food, allergens must be listed on the food label. Restaurants and takeaways have flexibility in terms of how they deliver the allergy warning. For example, details of the allergens may be written on menus or explained verbally by staff.
Who is liable for a food-related allergic reaction?
In general, any business that serves or sells food is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their customers. If the establishment created a food containing one of the 14 major allergens and did not warn you about it, then the establishment could be liable if you become ill.
To establish liability, your solicitor will have to show that:
- The food you consumed contained a known allergen.
- The establishment did not give you an appropriate allergy warning.
- You suffered an allergic reaction as a result.
What if my allergic reaction was not immediate?
Your solicitor will need to prove that the food containing the allergen was consumed at the particular restaurant, not subsequently at another establishment.
Do I have a food allergy claim?
You should be eligible to make a food allergy injury claim if you sustained an injury:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - 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 a food allergy claim on their own behalf.
What if I was diagnosed months after the food allergy?
Depending on how your food allergy happened, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injury. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.
What if I did not tell the restaurant staff about my food allergy?
14 major allergens
Restaurants and other food sellers must warn you about the presence of any of the 14 major allergens, regardless of whether you have notified them of your food allergy.If you did not mention, your food allergy it will not prejudice your claim.
However, if you are allergic to a different allergen (one not on the list of 14), then you are responsible for notifying staff of any food allergies before eating.
If you did not alert the staff of your allergy, you may still be able to claim. However, the courts may decide that you are partly responsible for your injuries and apportion blame using a split liability agreement.
The amount of money you could claim for your food allergy 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 food allergy 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 a food allergy? (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
Food allergy compensation amounts
The following food allergy 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.
|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|
|Digestive system||Minor||Minor non-traumatic injury||£730 to £3,150|
|Food poisoning||Moderate||Significant discomfort||£3,150 to £7,600|
|Food poisoning||Serious||Serious but short-lived||£7,600 to £15,200|
|Lung disease||Moderate||Slight breathlessness recovery in a few years||£8,480 to £24,950|
|Lung disease||Serious||Breathing difficulties needing use of an inhaler||£24,950 to £55,830|
|Lung disease||Severe||Life-threatening disease affecting a young person||£80,250 to £108,370|
What is the average injury compensation for a food allergy claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a food allergy will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your food allergy 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.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a food allergy injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Food allergy compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a food allergy 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 food allergy claim could be worth now:
How long does a food allergy claim take?
How long it can take to secure compensation for a food allergy can vary considerably.
A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a couple of months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your food allergy claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
How does no win, no fee work?
With a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a food allergy claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your food allergy claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a food allergy injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my food allergy claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my food allergy claim?
If your food allergy claim is not successful then you will not have to pay 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, 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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Food allergy 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 a food allergy claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the food allergy to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your food allergy claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a food allergy 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 food allergy compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a food allergy 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.
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