A food allergy is a negative reaction to the consumption of certain foods. Large portions of the population are affected by food allergies, which can be present at birth, or developed over time. Not all persons have food allergies; in the cases that do exist, each individual type of allergy may be different from the next. Some types of food that people are commonly allergic to include:
- Dairy products;
- Shellfish and other types of seafood;
- Nuts (especially peanuts);
- Wheat products; and
- Various other types of food.
Food allergy symptoms are also diverse and can include: digestive disorders, skin rashes, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, and other symptoms similar to food poisoning cases.
What are Food Allergy Lawsuits?
Food allergy lawsuits may be filed if one party suffers injuries due to a food allergy. These types of claims usually involve the negligent serving or preparing of food. A common mistake is where a patron or customer is served the wrong food dish containing a food item that they are allergic to.
Different parties may be liable for injuries in a food allergy lawsuit. These can include:
- Restaurant workers and owners;
- Hospital staff;
- Kitchen staff at care homes or nursing homes;
- Food staff on airlines or cruise ships; and/or
- Other food service companies or restaurants.
Basically, any business, company, or institution has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with food allergies are not aggravated by the food served to them.
On the other hand, persons who do have a food allergy must also inform such places of any food allergy that they might have. If they contributed to their own allergic reaction, they may be prevented from receiving a damages award in a lawsuit.
Alternatively, their award may be reduced according to the degree of their own negligence (also known as “contributory negligence” in some jurisdictions).
Many food allergy lawsuits are sometimes based on a product defect theory of law. A common legal issue here is where the manufacturer fails to include proper warnings regarding allergies. This can lead to a warning label defect lawsuit.
What are the Legal Remedies for Food Allergy Injuries?
Legal remedies for food allergy injuries usually include a compensatory damages award to help the injured person cover lost expenses (including hospital bills, medical costs, court fees, and other costs like lost wages).
In some instances, the establishment that is found liable may be required to adjust their food service policies and practices. Product recalls can also result, especially for products that are defective or that have deficiencies with their labels.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Food Allergy Lawsuit?
Every year, many food allergy lawsuits are filed due to negligent serving or handling of food. If you need assistance with any legal issues involving a food allergy, it’s in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney in your area will be able to inform you of your legal rights, and can represent you in court as the legal proceedings develop.