If you’re shopping in town or taking a few minutes away from your desk at lunchtime, you might easily find yourself drawn towards the smell of coffee or freshly baked sausage rolls being sold in a café. Whether you decide to eat inside the café or take your food with you, they are one of the most convenient ways of re-energising quickly. If you’re somebody who has a food allergy, choosing food in a café can pose a few problems and you’ll find yourself checking the menu multiple times before ordering. Thankfully, cafes and restaurants must supply information as to whether certain allergens might be present in the foods they prepare. If they don’t you could go on to make a café allergic reaction claim for any suffering that’s caused by their negligence.
Legal Helpline can support you through the claims process. We have a dedicated team of specialist advisors who provide a no-obligation assessment of any claim along with completely free legal advice. Should your claim have merit, they could refer you on to a personal injury solicitor from our panel. For peace of mind, all claims they agree to work on are handled on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you would like to discuss claiming for a café food-allergic reaction today, please call 0161 696 9685 right away. If you’d prefer to learn more about the claims process first, please carry on reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claiming For A Cafe Allergic Reaction
- What Is An Allergic Reaction After Drinking Or Eating At A Cafe?
- Top 10 Coffee Shops And Cafes
- Food Safety Protections For Cafe Customers
- Should I Tell The Restaurant I Need To Order From An Allergy Free Menu
- How To Request Drinks Or Food From An Allergy Free Menu
- Rates Of Food Allergies
- Frequently Experienced Types Of Food Allergy
- Calculating Compensation For An Allergic Reaction
- No Win No Fee Claims For A Cafe Restaurant Allergic Reaction
- Start An Allergy Claim
- Resources Supporting This Guide
A Guide To Claiming For A Cafe Allergic Reaction
Cafes offer many different food and drink options ranging from a mug of tea with a full English breakfast through to coffee with a slice of carrot cake! Whatever takes your fancy can usually be found in one of the many cafes frequenting the high street. For those who suffer from a food allergy, though, choosing a meal isn’t as simple. They’ll need to review the ingredients of any food before ordering.
Because allergic reactions to food can be life-threatening (and sometimes fatal), there are laws that govern how allergens are advertised. If those laws aren’t upheld, and the customer suffers an allergic reaction, it’s possible they could make a claim for compensation. However, making a claim can be complex and difficult to prove. That’s why we advise you to have a specialist personal injury solicitor representing you.
If you decide to make a claim, we advise discussing legal representation as soon as possible although it is not a requirement of the law that you have a solicitor pursue your case. That’s because a solicitor needs time to gather medical reports along with other evidence to support your claim. Also, there is a 3-year personal injury claims time limit. It usually starts from the date that the allergic reaction happened and while 3-years is a long time, you’ll find it much easier to remember what happened if you begin sooner rather than later.
Throughout this guide, we’ll look at what types of negligence could lead to a café allergic reaction, what responsibilities the café has and when you could be compensated. When you’re ready to begin, why not ask one of our advisors to assess your claim. They’ll guide you through your options and could link you to a specialist solicitor from our panel.
What Is An Allergic Reaction After Drinking Or Eating At A Cafe?
Allergic reactions are caused by an anomaly in the body’s immune system. They occur because it wrongly thinks that an ingredient is dangerous and sends antibodies such as immunoglobulin E (IgE) or histamine to try and protect you.
You might think that because allergies are not really anybody’s fault, that claiming compensation for one is not possible. However, due to food legislation, all cafes and restaurants are legally obliged to follow food safety and labelling laws. If they fail to do so, you could find you’re eligible to claim compensation for any suffering caused by their negligence.
We’ll look at how a café should highlight allergens to customers, some of the laws that they need to follow and what foods could lead to an allergic reaction.
If you require any advice on claiming as you continue through this guide, please let us know an advisor will happily answer any questions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Severe Allergic Reactions?
The worst type of allergic reaction that’s possible is known as anaphylaxis. It is so dangerous that, if not treated quickly enough, it can be fatal. For that reason, anybody suffering from anaphylactic shock should be treated as a medical emergency. Thankfully, deaths caused by an allergic reaction are relatively rare. For your information, some of the most common symptoms of anaphylactic shock (source) include:
- Becoming unconscious or fainting.
- Clammy skin.
- Fast, shallow breathing and other breathing difficulties such as wheezing.
- Feeling faint or lightheaded.
- A faster than normal heartbeat.
- Anxiety or confusion.
As well as these, some of the more common allergy symptoms might present at the same time. We’ll review these later on. If you’ve suffered anaphylactic shock (or a loved one has), why not discuss your case with a member of our team. They’ll assess what’s happened and let you know if you have a valid claim.
Top 10 Coffee Shops And Cafes
Here are some of the most popular cafes on the high street today:
- Pret A Manger.
- Greggs Outlets.
- Costa Coffee.
- Café Nero.
- Muffin Break.
- M&S Café.
- Wild Bean Café.
Popular Cafe And Coffee Shop Food and Drinks
Here are some popular dishes and drinks served by cafes up and down the country:
- Full English breakfast.
- A mug of tea.
- Croissants and pastries.
- Pie and chips.
- Sandwiches and baguettes.
- Soup of the day.
- Cakes and muffins.
- Sausage rolls and pasties.
Food Safety Protections For Cafe Customers
There are so many pieces of legislation surrounding food safety that it’d be impossible to list them all here. Howev.er, for your information, here are two of the key pieces that apply to businesses
Wherever you’ve had an allergic reaction, and whatever food or drink you’ve consumed, if you can prove that the food provider through negligence and failure to comply with safety food laws caused your reaction you may have the basis for a claim. Our advisors can provide free claims advice and might be able to refer you to one of our panel of specialist solicitors if your claim is strong enough so please get in touch today.
Allergy Warning Information Which Should Be Provided
Cafés, restaurants and other food retailers have to provide certain allergen advice. There are a number of ways this can be done, including:
- Clearly labelling any prepacked food and clearly highlighting any allergens.
- The use of ‘might contain’ labels for foods where cross-contamination could occur.
- Using posters to tell customers where allergen advice can be obtained.
- Listing allergens on the menu or advertising.
- Staff providing allergen information when asked.
Should I Tell The Restaurant I Need To Order From An Allergy Free Menu
You may think that, as an allergy sufferer, you should tell anybody who supplies food to you about the allergy. In fairness, that could be quite a good idea. However, don’t be put off from starting a claim because you didn’t tell the café staff on the occasion you went on to suffer a reaction.
Businesses selling food have a legal duty to ensure customers can find certain allergen information easily. Therefore, if your reaction caused because you weren’t aware of the allergen being present in your food, you may be able to make a claim even if you didn’t tell anyone that you suffer from an allergy.
How To Request Drinks Or Food From An Allergy Free Menu
When you choose a meal or drink in a café, you are perfectly entitled to ask for something to be removed. Some people do so because they don’t like the flavour of the ingredient while others know that it could cause them to suffer an allergic reaction.
That means that if your request was accepted, although food providers can refuse but you suffer an allergic reaction because the ingredient wasn’t removed, you could have the foundation for a claim.
What Could Happen If You Were Not Served From The Allergy-Free Menu?
If the waiting staff didn’t tell the chef about your request or the chef failed to fulfil the request properly and leave out certain ingredients without informing you that the allergens remained in the food then if you consume the food and go on to have an allergic reaction you may suffer mild or severe symptoms.
To support your claim, gather details of any witnesses who heard you make your request. Their statement, along with medical records and photographs of your meal could be used as evidence to support your claim. Let us review your claim for free and we’ll then explain your options.
Rates Of Food Allergies
To demonstrate how common allergies (including food allergies) are, we’ve provided some statistics from the charity Allergy UK below:
- In 2013/14 19.2% of emergency hospitalisations were caused by anaphylaxis.
- The cost to the NHS for treating allergies is estimated to be around £900 million per year.
- 44% of the UK’s adult population suffer from one form of allergy – around half of those suffer from two or more allergies.
Frequently Experienced Types Of Food Allergy
It’s fairly common for people to know about nut allergies or gluten allergies because they’re quite often referred to on the news or in the press. However, not everybody is aware of the number of food allergens that can cause problems for allergy sufferers. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of different allergens for your information below:
- Nut Allergies.
- Shellfish Allergies
- Milk Allergies.
- Fruit Allergies.
- Gluten Allergies.
- Wheat Allergies.
- Mustard Allergies.
- Cereal Allergies.
- Lupin Allergies.
- Dairy Allergies.
- Seafood Allergies.
- Fish Allergies.
- Egg Allergies.
- Celery Allergies.
- Soy Allergies.
- Sulphur Dioxide Allergies.
Any of the allergies listed above could cause anaphylaxis in the most serious circumstances. However, according to the NHS, an allergic reaction is more likely to lead to common symptoms such as:
- Swelling of the tongue, eyes, face or mouth.
- Dry, cracked and red skin.
- A tight chest, wheezing, a cough or shortness of breath.
- Vomiting, diarrhoea or nausea.
- Hives (a raised itchy rash).
- Sneezing and an itchy nose.
- Red watery eyes.
Calculating Compensation For A Cafe Allergic Reaction
If you’ve suffered an allergic reaction, you’ll probably want to know how much compensation you’ll receive. Well, from our experience we know that every single claim is different. Therefore, we’ll only be able to provide a compensation estimate once your claim has been assessed. For now, though, please look at the table below that includes compensation figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) which is a document that solicitors use to value claims.
|Allergic Reaction (severe)||In this type of allergic reaction, the claimant will experience the most severe symptoms. They will require a hospital stay of some weeks and longer-term symptoms could have an impact on life enjoyment and work.||£36,060 to £49,270|
|Allergic Reaction (serious)||In this type of allergic reaction, the claimant will experience serious symptoms that are relatively short-lived. There should be no permanent consequences.||£8,950 to £18,020|
|Allergic Reaction||In this type of allergic reaction, the claimant will suffer minor symptoms but they might need to stay in the hospital for a few days.||£3,710 to £8,950|
|Allergic Reaction (minor)||In this type of allergic reaction, the claimant will suffer symptoms that only last for a matter of days or weeks.||From around £860 to £3,710|
As you’ll see from the JCG figures, settlements are based on the severity of the allergic reaction. That means that your solicitor will need ample evidence to show the true extent of your suffering. For that reason, as part of the claims process, you’ll be asked to attend a local medical assessment.
During your appointment, a doctor or medical specialist will review your medical records. They’ll also examine you and discuss what impact your injuries had. Once they’ve completed their enquiries, a report will be prepared and sent on to your solicitor.
Special Damages Calculated For Injury Claims
When a personal injury solicitor prepares a claim, they’ll usually consider two main parts: general and special damages. General damages aim to compensate you for the pain and suffering that your injuries caused. Examples were included in the previous section’s table.
Special damages are paid to try and ensure that you’re no worse off financially than you were before the allergic reaction happened. That means you could include the following costs in your claim:
- Care Costs.
When your reaction means you’re unable to complete everyday functions while you recover, you might need support. That means you could claim back any carer’s fees, or an hourly rate might be calculated to cover the time of a loved one who cared for you.
- Medical Expenses.
The cost of prescriptions and treatments from a pharmacy can soon build up which means you could include them in your claim. Also, even though you’ll usually get free treatment on the NHS, there might be non-NHS treatments that you might want to claim for.
- Travel Expenses.
When your reaction prevents you from driving as you normally would, you might ask for the cost of other transport arrangements to be paid pack. Furthermore, if you are left out of pocket because of fuel or parking costs due to medical appointments, you could claim these back too.
- Lost Earnings / Future Lost Earnings.
Any allergic reaction that means your ability to work is impacted, could mean you’ll lose some of your income. For short-term injuries, you could claim back those losses. For injuries which leave you with a permanent disability that affects your work, a calculation could be made to cover any future losses too.
No Win No Fee Claims For A Cafe Restaurant Allergic Reaction
One of the main reasons people decide not to seek compensation is because they’re worried about losing money. To reduce your financial risk, and to lower your stress levels, our panel of solicitors provide a No Win No Fee solution for all claims they accept.
When you’re referred to a solicitor, they’ll check that there’s a reasonable chance of winning your case. After that, if you’re both willing to continue, a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA will be supplied.
The CFA is the contact that will fund your case. Within the CFA, you’ll find confirmation that:
- You won’t be expected to pay any upfront charges which allows the claim to begin quickly.
- There are no solicitor’s fees to be paid while the claim is being handled.
- You won’t have to pay for any solicitor’s fees if the claim fails.
When a case is won, and you are paid compensation, the solicitor’s work and costs will be covered by a success fee. This forms a small portion of your compensation award. So that the success fee is not a surprise, you’ll find it listed within the CFA, but you needn’t be too concerned as, legally, they are capped.
Start An Allergy Claim
We’ve now covered everything we set out to regarding making a claim for a café allergic reaction. Hopefully, we’ve managed to demonstrate how Legal Helpline can support you if you decide to make a claim. If you’re now interested in claiming, why not get in touch? Here are our details:
- Start your claim by contacting our team on 0161 696 9685.
- Provide a summary of your case in an email sent to [email protected].
- Submit an online claim using our enquiry form.
- Ask an online advisor for support using our online chat channel.
The process will start with a no-obligation consultation about your claim. A member of our team will ask you to explain what happened and they’ll review the circumstances with you. If they believe your claim is valid, you’ll be referred to a personal injury solicitor from our panel. Any claim they agree to support will be carried out on a No Win No Fee basis.
Resources Supporting This Guide
In addition to the information already provided about claiming for a café allergic reaction, we’ve decided to add some further information that you might find useful. Please take a look at the resources listed below and get in contact with us if there’s anything else you need.
Anaphylaxis Information – A detailed glossary of terms related to anaphylaxis.
Intolerance To Food – This NHS article shows some of the key differences between a food allergy and an intolerance.
The Food Standards Agency – The main government department that enforces food-related legislation.
Supermarket Claims – Guidance on personal injury claims relating to injuries sustained in a supermarket.
Peanut Allergy Claims – This guide provides advice on one of the most high-profile types of allergic reaction.
Milk Allergy Claims – A look at when you could claim compensation following an allergic reaction to milk.
Guide by BE
Published by MA.