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Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Allergies?

Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Allergies?

Updated: 4/18/2024

Although a food allergy lawsuit can be a tough nut to crack (pardon the pun), our attorneys have successfully sued restaurants for failure to warn of potential allergens in their food.

A large percentage of the population must carefully monitor what they eat because they are highly allergic to nuts, or gluten, or dairy, or nightshade vegetables, or anything else. In fact,

an estimated 26 million, or over 10 percent, of U.S. adults do have a food allergy. With so much of the population affected by food allergies, shouldn’t restaurants have a duty to warn of allergens in their food?

We believe restaurants do owe this duty of care to their customers, because when a restaurant provides food that contains any of these things but fails to warn the patron, and the patron unknowingly consumes that food, this results in great discomfort for the patron, and sometimes severe injury or even death. This is completely preventable.

Is it possible to sue for this? You bet.

Why are Food Allergy Lawsuits Difficult to Win?

Suing over an allergic reaction is a challenge for several reasons.

Proving Cause and Effect in a Food Allergy Lawsuit

Let’s say, for example, that someone who knows he or she is severely allergic to peanuts, then mistakenly eats something with peanuts and suffers an extreme allergic reaction.

This can happen when a restaurant fails to warn that known allergens are present in the food.

Showing Liability in a Food Allergy Case

After showing that the restaurant food the plaintiff ate caused plaintiff damages, we must show that the restaurant had a duty of care to plaintiff to warn plaintiff that the food contained the allergen.

In one recent case, our client bit into an eggroll having no idea that peanut butter was used to enhance the flavor. Peanut butter was not mentioned on the menu, nor was our client warned in any other way. Our client immediately had an allergic reaction that developed into anaphylaxis.

Because there was a duty to warn that the eggroll contained peanut butter, we filed suit on behalf of our client and the restaurant quickly settled.

Showing Damages

If you suffer monetary damages from an allergic reaction caused by eating out and not being warned of allergens, you can sue and recover those damages from the restaurant.

For example, if you have a severe allergic reaction to something in your food, employ your prescribed EpiPen, and go to the emergency room for treatment, your uninsured/unreimbursed medical expenses can be recovered. If you must miss work because your allergic reaction results in illness lasting several days, you can sue to recover your lost wages. If you had tickets to the theater that night but ate something at the restaurant next door that made you so ill you could not ou could try to recover the cost of those tickets and your parking expenses.

If you suffer a debilitating injury or illness requiring hospitalization or other continuing care, you can make a case for pain and suffering damages as well as loss of consortium, if you are married.

Restaurants Owe a Duty of Care to Customers to Warn of Allergens

Food allergy cases are not just about securing compensation for our clients. We think there is more to it than that. Litigating food allergy cases is about achieving justice and helping to prevent similar instances in the future by holding restaurants accountable. In the afore-mentioned case, not only was our client compensated, but the restaurant changed its menu to warn customers of the presence of allergens.

Restaurants, food providers, and manufacturers should have a duty to inform customers of what is in their food because food allergies are not just inconvenient or a nuisance: they can cause long-term injuries and even death. For this reason, in any kind of food allergy case, the party responsible for making or providing the food and failing to warn of the potential risks should be held liable for the damage they have caused.

This is where having skilled, experienced counsel by your side becomes important.

Contact Your Philadelphia Food Allergy Attorneys

At Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys remain dedicated to individuals and families who have been affected as a result of negligence, including a restaurant’s failure to provide a duty of care or failure to warn of allergens. We are backed by decades of collective experience and always put our clients’ best interests to the forefront of our practice.

When it comes to seeking the compensation and justice you deserve, you need to have a committed team behind you, advocating at your every move. Contact us today to discuss your potential case if you have been harmed and we will take the time to explain your rights and options every step of the way.