Schedule your free consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All fields are required



(833) 330-3663

Food Allergy Lawsuit

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.

Who Can Be Held Liable for an Allergic Reaction to Food?

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:

Lack of Reasonable Care

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.

Failure to Warn

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.

Intentional Tampering

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.).

What Damages Can I Claim in a Food Allergy Lawsuit?

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:

Compensatory Damages

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.

  • Economic Damages: Compensation for actual monetary losses that are fairly easy to calculate, such as:
  • Medical Bills: Past, present, and future medical care necessary to treat your allergic reaction and any complications. (e.g., emergency care, hospitalizations, procedures, prescription medications, etc.)
  • Lost Wages: Current and future lost income that you would have been able to earn had you not suffered an allergic reaction.
  • Legal Fees: Costs of filing the lawsuit, lawyer fees, expenses for travel, etc.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for intangible losses that are subjective and not easily calculated. For instance:
  • Pain and Suffering: The physical pain and discomfort you have had to endure.
  • Emotional Distress: Compensation for any psychological distress caused by the allergic reaction and any complications (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.)
  • Disability: If your food allergy is so severe that the reaction results in a long-term impairment.
  • Loss of Consortium: A spouse can recover this type of compensation if the victim’s allergic reaction results in a loss of companionship, sexual relations, services, emotional support, etc.
  • Wrongful Death: In cases involving a victim who dies as a result of a food allergy caused by unsafe food practices, their surviving family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover funeral and burial expenses, loss of expected income, and more.

Punitive Damages

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.

Proving a Food Allergy Lawsuit

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.

Strict Product Liability

To hold a party responsible for a food allergy under the legal theory of strict liability involves being able to prove the following:

  • The product is unreasonably dangerous.
  • The product’s defect directly caused your injury.
  • You suffered damages (e.g., injuries, financial losses, emotional distress).
  • The product was used as it was intended.

Breach of Warranty

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.

Negligence-Based Claims

Some product liability claims are brought based on negligence, which requires demonstrating the following four elements:

  • The defendant (at-fault party) owed you a duty of care. (e.g., to make or prepare a safe food product)
  • The defendant breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care (e.g., cross-contamination, failure to test a food product after production to ensure its safety)
  • The defendant’s negligence directly caused your injury. In other words, you would not have suffered an allergic reaction if the product had been safely prepared or you had been appropriately informed of its ingredients.
  • As a result, you suffered damages. (i.e., medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, etc.)

However, most product liability cases are brought under strict liability since it is generally easier to prove.

How Long Do I Have to File a Food Allergy Lawsuit?

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.

We Can Help

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.

Jory Lange: Experienced Food Allergy Attorney

Food Safety Lawyer Jory Lange

Related Content