Approximately one out of every 25 Americans suffer some type of food allergy, where specific foods cause an anaphylactic reaction ranging from mild to life threatening. Every year an estimated 1500 deaths are caused by food-related allergic reactions. Statistically, children have an increased risk of food allergies compared to adults.
Any company in business to sell food has a legal responsibility to protect their customers. This includes restaurants, grocery store delis, food trucks, coffee stands, educational facilities and others. No cure is available to tackle or manage food allergies other than avoiding specific foods that contain allergens. The largest food groups known as major food allergens include:
- Crustacean shellfish including shrimp, lobster and crab
- Fish including cod, flounder, bass, trout and others
- Tree nuts including walnuts, pecans and almonds
- Soybeans and wheat
When a victim consumes a major allergen from any food group, they often experience a variety of symptoms including a digestive disorder, skin rash, difficulty in swallowing and breathing along with swelling of the face and other reactions including death.
A Lack of Training of Servers and Kitchen Staff
Often times, restaurants fail to adequately train their chefs and wait staff to better serve the public suffering from food allergies. Many waiters, chefs and managers do not have a comprehensive understanding of how to serve customers suffering from food allergies. One common mistake by the wait staff involves confusing intolerance of specific food to having an allergic reaction, which is typically much more severe.
As an example, an allergic reaction to milk as compared to lactose intolerance is significantly different and often much more severe. Inexperienced restaurant personnel can create a significant issue to food allergy sufferers by cross contact with potentially harmful food.
Cross contact is the type of contamination that is not easily undone. Simply taking a slice of cheese off a hamburger before serving it still contaminates the product, and can cause an allergic reaction in an individual who suffers from milk allergens. It is more than just the bulk of the food that makes it dangerous, but its molecules that make the product potentially lethal.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Restaurant for a Food Allergy Illness
Individuals suffering allergic reactions from food served in a restaurant might have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries in a claim or lawsuit. These types of cases typically happen because the restaurant management, chefs, wait staff or others carelessly prepare and serve the foods containing allergens. In most cases, a lawsuit will involve more than just a single defendant. A skilled personal injury attorney specializing in food allergy injuries may be able to find multiple parties to be held accountable for their negligence, including:
- The restaurant staff, management and chefs
- Restaurant owners
- Hospital staff treating food allergen sufferers
- Food preparers and servers in nursing homes, assisted living homes and other facilities with an in-house cafeteria
- Food service companies
- Food product manufacturers
Every company preparing and serving food has a legal responsibility to protect the health of individuals that are allergic to specific foods. However, every affected individual is duty bound to inform the establishment of all known food allergies immediately before consuming any food or beverage on the premises. Any customer neglecting to communicate the restrictions they have on foods and beverages might not have a case to collect damages.
Let Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Handle the Complexities of a Food Allergy Lawsuit for You
To obtain financial compensation for medical costs, hospital bills and other expenses after being injured by an allergy attack in a restaurant, the victim must prove negligence of other individuals or entities. The victim will need to demonstrate that the food prepared by the restaurant was somehow labeled improperly or food allergen ingredients were not clearly indicated to the consumer before it was consumed.
However, food allergy lawsuits and claims for recompense are complex. Many cases take years to resolve. In addition, state tort law is complicated and often requires the skills of a personal injury attorney to handle the case properly.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have represented many clients who have suffered serious injuries from food allergens prepared by restaurants. We fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients when seeking compensation from restaurant management, wait staff, chefs and owners. Call our law office at (888) 424-5757 to schedule an initial free consultation to discuss your case.