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If you or a loved one suffered a severe allergic reaction due to food that was prepared or served in a negligent manner, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Arrange a free consultation with our food allergy lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
Food allergies are common, and consumers cannot be protected from all harm. However, a restaurant, grocery store, manufacturer, or other party involved in a food product’s distribution chain can be liable if an allergic reaction was caused by their:
Failure to take reasonable care to ensure consumers are safe. For example, cross-contamination, giving incorrect information when customers ask questions about food ingredients, restaurant staff having an inappropriate response to a person having an adverse reaction, etc.
Companies that produce or sell food products have a responsibility to give consumers or patrons critical information they need to use or consume a product safely. Failure to warn can be, for example, failing to inform consumers about common allergens in a product, incorrectly informing consumers about ingredients in a product, etc.
If a company or employee intentionally tampered with food, resulting in a consumer’s allergic reaction, they can be held liable.
Other examples of parties commonly held liable in food allergy lawsuits include restaurant workers, hospital personnel, kitchen staff in healthcare facilities, and food workers aboard methods of transportation (e.g., airlines, cruise ships, trains with dining cars, etc.).
Damages is the legal term that refers to the types of compensation you can recover in a food allergy lawsuit to reimburse your financial and personal losses. For example:
This first type of damages are designed to make a victim feel “whole” again or as close as possible to the position they were in before the allergic reaction. There are two sub-categories under compensatory damages, economic and non-economic.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded and reserved for cases involving a defendant (at-fault party) who exhibited an extremely reckless disregard for the safety of consumers or patrons.
Lawsuits involving allergic reactions to food typically fall under product liability law, which holds parties involved in a product’s distribution chain liable for any resulting harm. There are three legal theories under which a food allergy lawsuit can be brought to hold a party responsible or multiple parties.
To hold a party responsible for a food allergy under the legal theory of strict liability involves being able to prove the following:
Claims can also be brought based on a breach of warranty. In these cases, it must be proven that the manufacturer failed to comply with a written or implied warranty or failed to provide adequate warning labels listing the allergen.
Some product liability claims are brought based on negligence, which requires demonstrating the following four elements:
However, most product liability cases are brought under strict liability since it is generally easier to prove.
Each state has a deadline, known as the statute of limitations, which limits the amount of time an individual has to file a food allergy lawsuit. Generally, it is two years in cases involving allergic reactions stemming from food products. This period usually begins on the date you suffer the reaction. However, some states have exceptions. For example, the discovery rule, which changes the deadline to two years from the date you find out about the allergic reaction or should have known. For instance, if the symptoms took time to progress and did not happen immediately after eating. However, if you miss the state-imposed deadline, you will be unable to file a claim and barred from pursuing compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a food allergy due to unsafe food practices, contact The Lange Law Firm, PLLC. We can arrange a free consultation to discuss a potential food allergy lawsuit. Call (833) 330-3663 or send us a message online today.