By Lewis Winehouse. Last Updated 28th October 2022. Do you have a gluten food allergy, whether as a sufferer of coeliac disease or gluten intolerances? If so, you would probably know how these allergies and intolerances affect you if you consume gluten. But what if you are served products contaminated with or containing gluten when you have expressed your allergy to restaurant staff, or you’ve purchased pre-packaged food that did not have the allergen listed in its ingredients? If this is the case, and you could prove that your gluten allergic reaction occurred because of someone else’s negligence, then you could be eligible to claim compensation. Within the sections below is information about gluten allergies and intolerances, along with an explanation of how you could go about claiming if an allergic reaction has been caused by someone else. If you would like to gain advice on your own situation to see if you could claim for an allergic reaction, then we can be reached on 0161 696 9685. However, there may be information below that could answer your questions, so why not read the sections below to find out?
Jump To A Section
- A Guide To Gluten Allergy And Allergic Reaction Claims
- What Is An Allergy To Gluten?
- What Is Celiac Disease?
- What Are The Symptoms Of A Wheat Allergy, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity And Celiac Disease?
- How To Find Out If You Have A Gluten Sensitivity
- Severe Anaphylaxis And Fatal Allergic Reactions
- I Think I Have A Gluten Intolerance, What Should I Do?
- Foods Which Are Safe To Eat With A Gluten Intolerance Or Allergy
- Gluten Intolerance – Compensation Due To Negligence
- Gluten Allergy And Allergic Reaction Compensation Claims Calculator
- Why Choose Legal Helpline To Make A Food Allergy Compensation Claim?
- No Win No Fee Gluten Allergic Reaction Claims
- Start A Claim With Legal Helpline
- Supporting Information
There are many people within the UK that suffer from gluten food allergy and intolerances. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, evidence from 2004 suggested that as many as 1 in 100 people suffered from coeliac disease. If someone is diagnosed as having coeliac disease, or with an intolerance to gluten, they could avoid the allergen by watching what they eat carefully. More information on foods to consume and avoid could be found in a section further down this page.
But, what happens if, despite a coeliac sufferer or gluten intolerant person taking time to tell restaurant staff and other food service providers of their allergies, they are served foods containing such allergens? Or, they purchase pre-packaged foods that do not have these allergens listed? Since the resulting reaction could not be the fault of the sufferer, then could someone else be held liable and made to pay them food allergy compensation? In some cases, the answer could be yes.
Here, we provide guidance for those that have suffered a gluten allergic reaction because of someone else’s negligence. You will find information on foods to avoid and foods that are safe for those that are gluten intolerant, as well as information regarding some common symptoms of gluten intolerance or allergy. There is also a detailed explanation on how to go about getting the advice and support you may need when looking to claim for allergic reaction compensation.
Simply put, a gluten food allergy is where a person is allergic to a protein contained in barley, wheat and rye. These types of allergic reactions could be suffered by a person consuming gluten, or, in some cases inhaling wheat flour, which contains gluten. The allergic reaction happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly sees gluten as a threat and then attacks the protein, which leads to the gluten allergy symptoms we describe later on in this guide.
Gluten could be considered a common protein, and it can often be found in loaves of bread, cakes and biscuits. However, it could also be present in lots of other foods, such as ice creams, sauces and many pre-packaged foods. This is why it is vital for those with a gluten food allergy to check the labels on products before they eat them, to avoid consuming the allergen.
As long as people with a gluten allergy avoid foods with gluten contained within them, a gluten allergy should be relatively easy to manage.
However, if a person with a gluten food allergy consumes gluten because of negligence by a food vendor, restaurant or food manufacturer, this could lead to allergic reactions claims, if it could be proven that the vendor, restaurant or manufacturer was to blame for a gluten allergy attack.
Some examples of gluten food allergy cases that could lead to a claim could include:
- A diner in a restaurant informs the staff of their allergy before they order their food. The restaurant staff fail to inform the kitchen, or the kitchen staff are negligent in their preparation of the food, and the diner is served foods that have been contaminated with gluten, provoking an allergic reaction.
- An allergy sufferer purchases food from a street vendor. Before doing so, they ask if the product that they are buying contains gluten. The vendor says no, but the food does contain gluten. The buyer then suffers a reaction after consuming the food.
- Someone with a gluten allergy purchases a pre-packaged food product from a supermarket, which does not list gluten as an ingredient. They consume the food and suffer a reaction because the food does, in fact, contain the allergen.
In order to be eligible to make a personal injury claim for a gluten allergic reaction, you would have to prove that negligence by a third-party caused you to suffer gluten allergy symptoms. You would also have to ensure you were claiming within the personal injury claims time limit that was applicable to your case. This is, in most cases, three years from the incident or discovery date, but exceptions may occur in some cases.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition. Sufferers’ immune systems attack their own tissues, mainly in the gut, when gluten is consumed. These attacks can damage the gut and could lead to the small intestine being unable to absorb nutrients in your food properly. Symptoms, which are described in the section below, can be uncomfortable in the short term and damaging in the long term. It is thought that some children who have coeliac disease may not grow as quickly as they should, and it could lead to puberty being delayed.
Without a diagnosis, coeliac disease could cause complications, including:
- Osteoporosis – A weakening of bones within the body
- Anaemia (Iron deficient)
- Folate and vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia
- Some cancers – which could include cancer of the bowel
- Pregnancy issues (low birth weights, etc.)
People with coeliac disease can develop the condition at any age. Symptoms are often seen:
- During later adulthood (40-60 years)
- During early childhood (8-12 months old)
Those who have a higher risk of developing the condition include:
- Sufferers of autoimmune syndromes affecting the thyroid
- People with Down’s Syndrome
- Those with Turner syndrome
- Those with type 1 diabetes
- Those with a family history of the condition
Treatment involved eliminating any form of gluten from a sufferer’s diet. However, other treatments may be required as in some cases, gluten allergy sufferers’ spleens work less effectively, meaning they might require more vaccinations than the average healthy person. They could require vaccinations against:
- Hib/MenC – Protecting them against blood poisoning, meningitis, and pneumonia
- Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria
It may also be recommended for coeliac sufferers to take vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure they get the nutrients needed in their diet.
Some of the symptoms of a wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease could be similar. In general terms, suffers of all of the above could include:
- Stomach pain
- Skin rashes
For coeliac sufferers, the symptoms may also include
- Nerve damage
- Weight loss (unintentional)
Sufferers of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity could also include:
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Numbness in legs and arms
In order to figure out whether you could be sensitive to gluten, you may wish to consider taking the following actions:
Keep a diary of what you eat – noting down what you eat and how you feel, i.e. if you experience any symptoms could help you work out if something you’re eating could be causing symptoms.
Trying to eliminate possible allergens from your diet – this is something that should be done one allergen at a time. The NHS page on food intolerances suggests that you eliminate one allergen only for a short period for two to six weeks to see if there is any improvement of your symptoms. Then, try reintroducing the food into your diet to see if symptoms return. However, it could be wise to seek advice from a registered dietician while you try eliminating foods from your diet so that you could do so safely.
In rare cases, a severe wheat allergy could lead to anaphylaxis, which, if not treated quickly, could be fatal. Symptoms of anaphylaxis could come on rapidly and could include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest Tightness
- Chest Pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin turning pale and blue
If you suspect someone is suffering from anaphylaxis due to a gluten food allergy, it would be wise to get immediate medical assistance. If you have lost a loved one due to a gluten allergic reaction caused by someone else’s negligence, then you could look into whether you could make a claim on your loved one’s behalf. Compensation for a gluten allergy resulting in a death could include payouts for funeral expenses, a bereavement award and more.
If you think you may be gluten intolerant, it could be a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. In some cases, it may be appropriate for the GP to order a blood test or biopsy, or a combination of the two. However, this would not usually be the case unless you have symptoms of coeliac disease, or you have a risk of developing symptoms because of a family history of the disease, or other factors. In any case, seeing your doctor in the first instance would allow them to offer the most appropriate diagnostic tests for your symptoms.
If your doctor suspects you may have an intolerance, but do not think you have coeliac disease, they would not usually order a gluten intolerance test, but they may advise you to try eliminating gluten from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.
Upon diagnosis of a gluten food allergy, you may be confused as to what foods you would be able to consume. In some parts of the country, you may be able to get gluten-free foods on prescription. These could include bread, bread mixes, flours, biscuits, and more. However, not all patients would be offered gluten-free foods on prescription. It would depend on where a person lives as to whether they would be offered these types of foods on prescription.
In general terms, foods that contain gluten could include the following items, unless they are specifically labelled as being gluten-free:
- Pastries and cakes
Foods that do not contain gluten include:
- Fish and meat – without breadcrumbs or batters
- Rice noodles
- Gluten-free flour
Any product labelled as being gluten-free must, by law, contain no higher than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten. If it is not correctly labelled, and you suffer gluten allergy symptoms because of mislabelling of products containing gluten, then you may be able to claim compensation for a gluten allergy.
If you have had a gluten reaction as a result of a third party’s negligence, you may be able to make a claim. Whatever type of gluten intolerance symptoms that you suffered, for example you may have endured symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you could be owed compensation.
Compensation can be divided into two heads of claim:
- General damages relate to any physical or mental pain, suffering or harm inflicted by your injuries.
- Special damages account for any financial losses caused by your injuries. This could include loss of earnings, medical costs and travel expenses.
Continue reading to find out how much you could receive for gluten intolerance claims.
In regards to general damages, compensation amounts for a gluten allergic reaction could vary, depending on the severity and length of suffering. Below, as an alternative to a personal injury claims calculator, we have provided some guideline payout amounts for injuries associated with gluten allergies. We have taken these details from the Judicial College Guidelines.
|Toxicosis (Severe)||Requiring hospital admission and resulting in IBS, incontinence and haemorrhoids. There would be a significant effect on the enjoyment of life and the claimant's ability to work.||£36,060 to £49,270|
|Short-term serious food poisoning||Lasting over 2-4 weeks with continuing disturbance and discomfort for a few years.||£8,950 to £18,020|
|Food poisoning||Significant levels of discomfort and altering bowel movements for some weeks. Hospital admission may have been required. Complete recovery within one or two years||£3,710 to £8,950|
|Cramps, diarrhoea and pain||Lasting for days or weeks||£860 to £3,710|
If you believe your condition is missing from the table above, then please do get in touch. We could give you more information over the phone.
Here at Legal Helpline, we have years of experience and are committed to providing a fantastic service to claimants looking to make a wide variety of personal injury claims. We can provide free, no-obligation advice to you if you or someone you know has had a gluten allergic reaction and would like to consider making an allergic reaction claim. If you get in touch with our team, we will be able to assess what has happened to you to see if you could be eligible to make a claim, and if we believe you could, we could then connect you with a personal injury lawyer that could take your claim forward for you.
We believe that every person who falls victim to food allergy negligence in the UK deserves the right to make a claim if they are eligible to do so, and we do not believe that cost should be a factor in determining whether you could utilise the services of a personal injury lawyer for your claim. This is why we work with a panel of solicitors that work on claims on a No Win No Fee basis. We explain more about this in the section below.
Claiming compensation for a food allergy could involve a lot of paperwork and could be quite complex. We would recommend for potential claimants to consider using a personal injury lawyer to help them with this. Experienced lawyers would have the capability to not only help claimants navigate the claims process, but could also advise them on whether a settlement offer would be appropriate or whether they could fight for a higher allergic reaction compensation amount. You may not already know this, but you could retain the services of such a lawyer without having to pay them until your allergic reaction settlement is paid out. You would agree a success fee with your lawyer at the beginning of your claim, which would be detailed in a No Win No Fee agreement that you would be required to sign at the beginning of your claim. This success fee would be a percentage of the total payout amount, and it could not be more than 25%. If the lawyer successfully achieved a compensation settlement for you, then this success fee would be paid out of the compensation. If your claim was valid, but your lawyer did not get you a settlement, then the success fee wouldn’t be payable.
Here at Legal Helpline, we would like to help you if you have suffered a gluten food allergy due to someone else’s negligence. Whether you would like further advice on making a food allergy compensation claim or you would like to be connected with a personal injury solicitor that works on a No Win No Fee basis, we can be reached on 0161 696 9685. Alternatively, you could fill out our contact form, and a specially trained advisor will get in touch with you.
Coeliac Disease – An NHS Resource – This page from the NHS offers information on Coeliac disease.
More Information On Food Intolerances – This NHS resource offers guidance on food intolerances and could be useful if you suspect you have an intolerance.
Allergen Advice For Food-Based Businesses – Here, you can read about food allergens in terms of how they should be handled by a business in the food and catering industry.
Hotel Claims – If you suffered a gluten reaction in a hotel, then this guide could offer some advice on making a claim.
School Or Nursery Claims – Here, you could find some information on making a claim against a school or nursery.
Accident Abroad – If you were on holiday when you suffered a gluten allergy reaction, this guide could offer some useful information.
Article by Jo