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A Complete Guide: Filing a Food Allergy Lawsuit

 Posted on May 08, 2023 in Food Allergies


Did you know that 26 million adults and 5.6 million children in the United States have food allergies? Every year, hundreds of individuals suffer from food allergic reactions, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock due to ingesting ingredients that might harm their health. According to the FDA, the nine common food allergens include eggs, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soybeans, milk, and sesame seeds.

So, if you recently went to a restaurant and they failed to provide you with adequate attention and care, which resulted in a bad food allergy, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. To help you better understand, we have created a complete guide on filing a food allergy lawsuit. Keep reading to learn how to sue the responsible party for your food allergic reaction.

What Is a Food Allergy Lawsuit?

A food allergy lawsuit is filed if a person suffers injuries from a food allergic reaction. The purpose of the lawsuit is to prove that the restaurant, cafeteria, nursing home, or any other food-serving facility showed negligence while preparing and serving food.

For example, you went to a restaurant and ordered your favorite dish. However, neither the menu itself nor the staff provided you with information about the allergens in the food. As a result of this, you ended up having a severe allergic reaction. In another case, you informed the food server about your allergy, but they didn’t address your request.  

Depending on the details of your case, different parties can be held liable for the food allergic reaction. For instance, if your child had an allergic reaction at school. Then you can file a lawsuit against the cafeteria worker, the school, and the food distributor or manufacturer. Other parties that can be held responsible in food allergy lawsuits include:

● Hospital personnel.

● Owner and workers of the eatery.

● Food workers on airlines, trains with dining cars, and cruise ships.

● The kitchen staff of a healthcare facility or nursing home.

● Food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

● Labeling company for misprinting ingredients or warning labels.

Even though every company, institution, or business has a duty to take all reasonable steps in order to ensure the safety of the consumers. It is also the responsibility of the customer to inform them about their food allergy. If not, the customer will have no liability claim against the eatery, but it might also reduce the amount of their claim.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Food Allergy Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for filing a food allergy lawsuit is within 3 years after the incident has occurred. You only have three years to prove that the defendant company or another person is to blame for the food allergic reaction.

Filing a Food Allergy Lawsuit | Step-by-Step Guide

Depending on the state laws and the circumstances of your case, the requirements for filing a food allergy lawsuit might vary. Sounds complicated, right? To make things easier, we have created a step-by-step guide on how to sue for a food allergic reaction:

Step 01: Determining Which Claim Suits Your Situation Best

Go back to the day of the incident to determine which legal theory best fits your case:

1. Negligence: Restaurant owners are legally obligated to ensure that all meals served to the customers are safe. If the restaurant has failed to provide proper care while preparing and serving food, you can file a negligence claim.

2. Intentional Tampering: The eatery staff sometimes purposely tamper with the food, giving rise to an intentional tort claim.

3. Failure to Warn: The lawsuit is filed if the restaurant has failed to provide sufficient information about the allergens in the meals or the staff didn’t warn you while taking the order.

Step 02: Gathering Evidence

Now you (the plaintiff) will need to collect evidence to prove the following:

● You have a severe allergic reaction.

● The allergic reaction was triggered because of the food served.

● The food service or restaurant negligently prepared and handled the food and failed to provide adequate warning.

● The food allergic reaction resulted in physical injuries and emotional damage.

Here are some tips to help you make a strong case against the restaurant or food provider (defendant):

● Prove that you visited the restaurant by keeping a receipt safe, a copy of the menu, the name of the waiter that served you, the name of the manager, and details of witnesses, if any.

● Call the manager to report the incident. You will be surprised to know that most restaurants might deny that you were even their customer.

● Ask if the restaurant is insured.

● Find out if the eatery has an unhealthy environment.

● Keep the medical records safe – prescriptions and bills.

Step 03: Negotiations

The compensation award for a food allergic reaction (commonly known as a personal injury claim) is divided into two categories:

1. General Damages: You will be compensated for the loss of amenities, pain, and suffering.

2. Special Damages: You will be compensated for the quantifiable financial losses you incurred due to the food allergic reaction. These include lost days of work, medical expenses or treatment costs, traveling costs, and incidental losses.

Negotiation is the trickiest part of filing a lawsuit. Because most of the restaurants will want to handle the case out of court, you will need a food allergy lawyer to represent your case and help you get the financial award you deserve. However, if the defendant isn’t cooperating, don’t hesitate and take the case to court.

Hire a Food Allergy Lawyer to Win the Case

Even though it might sound easy, there are many legal remedies that you will need to look into to file a food allergy lawsuit. Thus, hiring a reliable food allergy lawyer is highly recommended. At Newland & Newland, LLP, our food allergy attorneys will thoroughly study your case and help you determine the best approach to get the financial claim you deserve for the missed workdays, mental anguish, and medical bills. We will work with you to prove that the restaurant failed to provide a warning of allergens and duty of care, resulting in the food allergic reaction.

Remember that when it comes to seeking justice and compensation, the only way to win is to have a committed team of lawyers advocating every move of yours. Contact us today to discuss your case with a skilled and reliable food allergy lawyer in Illinois and Arlington Heights!

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