Can I claim Compensation from my allergies caused by take-away food?
Posted on 13th February 2020
A dispute is brewing between McDonald’s and a customer over whether they served her almond milk or dairy milk in her coffee, purchased from a restaurant in Dapto, New South Wales. Savannah Kyriazopoulos states that she ordered a coffee with dairy milk, as due to her having a nut allergy she cannot drink alternatives such as almond milk. Having consumed some of the coffee, as she was driving home, Ms Kyriazopoulos began to feel her throat closing. Struggling for breath, she lost control of her car and collided with a post box. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the incident and Ms Kyriazopoulos was able to administer her epi-pen - an adrenaline pen that most people with life threatening allergies carry to reverse anaphylaxis.
The epi-pen allowed Ms Kyriazopoulos to telephone a relative who took her to hospital, where further treatment was provided to fully reverse the anaphylactic shock. Ms Kyriazopoulos believes that, even though she asked for dairy milk and her receipt from the restaurant stated dairy milk was used, she states the coffee was the only viable source of any nut intake within that window of time.
McDonald’s rigorously deny the use of almond milk, or any other kind of nut-based milk, releasing a statement that confirms their CCTV footage shows that dairy milk was utilised. This could, it appears, if Ms Kyriazopoulos wishes to pursue the matter, be a hard-fought and prolonged process.
Ms Kyriazopoulos will need to demonstrate that she had no other viable source of exposure to her allergen, nuts, whilst McDonald’s will need to show that they have proper procedures and practices in place to separate potentially allergens from other ingredients which could be used in food and drink served. MG Legal, your local accident injury solicitor, fully understands that there are a variety of factors that constitute an act of negligence which can then go on to cause injury to individuals.
Whilst this incident occurred in Australia, very much the same duty of care applies to restaurants in England and Wales.
MG Legal, your local accident injury solicitor, has successfully pursued a number of large organisations for compensation for customers - and even an employee - who were not afforded a proper duty of care in respect of their allergies. Any establishment that provides or prepares food or drink must have allergy warnings clearly displayed, and they must have regard for those who report allergies to them. This does not, however, act as a complete buffer to either the business or the customer, and each must have a sensible regard for their own safety. This is why, for example, many packages carry warnings that even though the product contains no nuts, it was packed or produced in a factory that does also produce nut-based products.
However, if you have advised a business that you have an allergy and you are not warned of the dangers of contamination of your food or drink, or you are assured that there is no danger, it is likely that you would have the right to make a claim for any illness or injury suffered as a result of an allergic reaction. Each case does, of course, turn on its own merits and so individual circumstances would have to be examined but, should you be served a bowl of soup with a seafood based stock in it, having advised you are allergic to shellfish, it is highly likely that you have a viable claim and a right to compensation.
There are, of course, numerous reasons for allergic reactions. However, should you believe that you have sustained an injury as a result of food, drink or any other product served to you which contained an ingredient you were allergic to, please contact MG Legal, your local accident injury solicitor, to see if you have a viable claim.
We aim to assess all personal injury claims and accept instruction on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) to ensure that you have can have access to the legal representation necessary to conclude your claim successfully and for the maximum compensation possible.
We have offices in Lancaster, Garstang and Longridge and you can get in touch by phone, email, contact form via our website or in person by calling into one of the offices.
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