Accident in a Public Place*

Nut Allergy Claims*

Each year there are a number of hospitalisations as a result of an allergic reaction*, with the most common type being an allergy to nuts. If you have had an allergic reaction following consumption of a nut containing food, you may be entitled to make a claim for damages, provided that it was caused by the negligence of another party.

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Anaphylaxis

Nut allergies are most commonly associated with anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction which can lead to a fatality if there is no rapid response given. In order to treat this reaction, an injection is required to subside the effects which the allergens have had. This can happen within either seconds or minutes of being exposed to what you are allergic to. Anaphylaxis causes your immune system to release chemicals which can cause you to go into shock and your blood pressure to drop suddenly. It can also cause your airways to narrow which could lead to a difficulty in breathing. The main cause of an allergic reaction to nuts comes following exposure or consumption of nuts which you are unaware of. 

Who is Liable?

When making any kind of claim it is important to determine who is liable. In some cases, this can be difficult to do depending on the circumstances in which you sustained your injury or illness. Many of these claims are made against a restaurant or shop who have failed to notify people of the possible presence of nuts in their food – this may lead to a public liability claim* against the business.

By law, anybody who supplies food to consumers must make it clear to people if there is a possible presence of nuts in the food. This should be written and displayed on both menus and packaging or the information should be given orally by waiters. This can greatly reduce the risk of an allergic reaction as people will be aware if they can consume a particular food. Failing to do so could mean that the supplier of the food is found liable for the cause of the allergic reaction. They also have a duty of care to follow health and safety practices in kitchens and food preparation areas to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

People who are aware that they are allergic to nuts are expected to take reasonable steps in order to ensure their own health and safety. There is an expectation that they will carry their medication with them at all times. They also have the option of carrying a nut allergy card which will make people aware of their allergies if they go into shock and are unable to inform others themselves. If they have an allergic reaction following the consumption of certain allergens and have failed to carry their medication with them, they may be found to be partly responsible for this. This is known as contributory negligence. This will depend on the circumstances in which they came in contact with nuts and if they were made aware that there may be traces of nuts prior to consuming the food.

Are Restaurants Liable for Food Allergies?

As a general rule, a restaurant must prepare food in a way that does not cause harm to their guests. They also must warn people of the presence of major allergens in their food on their menu. For example, if a dish contains peanuts, it should be clearly shown on the menu. If it isn’t and you suffer an allergic reaction, you may be entitled to make a claim*.

Can You Sue for Allergic Reaction?

While nobody would be held liable for your allergies, there are certain scenarios where a person or company may be held liable for an allergic reaction.

Failure to Warn

This particularly pertains to food production companies. Food companies are obliged to declare the presence of major food allergens, such as nuts. If a food product contains nuts and it is not clearly labeled on the packaging, you may be entitled to pursue a claim.

This is also important for restaurants to clearly label on their menus. If you order food that contains an ingredient, such as peanuts, and it is not clearly stated on the menu, you may be entitled to make a claim following an allergic reaction.

If you have suffered an allergic reaction because of the failure of an company or restaurant to warn you of the presence of an ingredient, you may be entitled to pursue a claim *.

Proving a Nut Allergy Claim

If you have decided that you wish to make a claim following an allergic reaction which was caused by a breach in duty of care by another party, it is important to gather the correct information which will help to speed up the process. This is very important if the food supplier has failed to make you aware of the presences of nuts in the food. 

This evidence includes:

  • Packaging from the food which caused the reaction.
  • A copy of the menu from where you ate.
  • Samples of the food which you consumed, if possible.
  • Medical report to prove that the reaction was caused by the consumption of nuts.

This can help to both speed up the claims process and determine who is liable for the cause of your allergic reaction.

Nut Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of a nut allergy include:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Anaphylactic Shock
  • Feeling of Dizziness
  • Swelling of the Face
  • Nausea
  • Itching or Tingling Around the Mouth and Throat
  • Drop in Blood Pressure
  • Abdominal Pain

Causes

Failing to Notify People

It is very important that any supplier of food inform people if there is any chance of any nuts or traces of nuts being present in the food. This can greatly reduce the chance of an allergic reaction being caused as a result of this. This information should be displayed on either food packaging or menus. Waiters should also make people aware of this prior to food being consumed.

Lack of Medication

If you believe that you may have a food allergy it is important that you have a food allergy testing so that you can be given the correct medication. This can reduce the risk of a fatality following the consumption of an allergen. It is also important that this medication is carried with you at all times as this will be needed if you have an anaphylactic shock. There is an expectation that people who are aware of their allergies should ensure that they take steps to ensure their health and safety.


What to do after an accident in a public place*?

Following an accident in a public place*, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after a public place accident*, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries and seek the relevant medical attention. If you have sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    If you have an accident in a public place* it is important to report it to the persons who are in charge of the upkeep of property.

    Examples of such are:

  3. Identify any witnesses

    If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of good use if you do decide to pursue a public place accident claim*. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where the accident happened.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    • How the accident happened
    • Details of any witnesses
    • If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused you to slip, trip or fall
  5. Speak to a public place accident solicitor*

    If you are considering moving forward with a public place accident claim* for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a public place accident claims solicitor* as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A public place accident solicitor* can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist public place accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your public place accident claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the public place accident claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or Hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your public place accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and your employer accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or your employer reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your public place accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a public place accident claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a public place accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the public place accident*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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