What Are Your Rights After An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee?
What Are Your Rights If A Cafe Caused You To Have An Allergic Reaction?
If you can prove that you had an allergic reaction at Costa Coffee because they breached the duty of care they owed to you, then you may be entitled to compensation. That is provided that the allergic reaction was not your fault.
If you visit a cafe, an issue that you couldn’t foresee could lead you to drink or eat something which provokes an allergic reaction. It could potentially cause serious harm to you.
The cafe where the reaction happened could be considered liable if they made a mistake that led to your allergic reaction. In response, you may be able to gain compensation for your injuries by making a personal injury claim.
In this guide, we’ll explain what rights you have if you know that a cafe such as Costa Coffee has caused you to suffer an allergic reaction.
In this guide, we’ll explain what rights you have if you know that a cafe such as Costa Coffee has caused you to suffer an allergic reaction.
Get In Touch With Our Team
You can contact UK Law for free specialist advice about your legal rights if you experience an allergic reaction at a cafe. We can also advise on your potential legal options if you suffer an allergic reaction at other kinds of businesses that sell food and drink.
Services And Information
- Everything You Need To Know About Your Rights After An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee
- What Is An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee?
- What Can Trigger An Allergic Reaction?
- The Symptoms Of Food Allergies
- Your Rights For Allergens To Be Labelled
- What Allergens Should Be Labelled In A Cafe?
- Calculating Compensation For An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee
- The Law On Labelling Allergens
- What Are Catering Establishments?
- Check Your Eligibility To Claim Compensation
- The Consumer Rights Act 2015
- How Long Do I Have To Claim For An Allergic Reaction?
- What Should You Do After An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee?
- Do You Handle Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee Claims On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Contact Us For More Help
- Useful Information
- FAQs About Your Rights After An Allergic Reaction At Costa Coffee
Do you know you’ve had an allergic reaction from something you ate or drank at a cafe such as Costa Coffee? If so, you may be asking yourself what your rights are. You may also be asking if you are eligible to claim compensation for your allergic reaction and how this process usually works.
You can learn the answer to these important questions further on this guide. We’ll also look at how allergic reactions can occur in cafes. We’ll also explain UK legislation which gives you certain rights in the event of an allergic reaction at a cafe.
If you have any questions while reading this guide, or if you’d like to get started with a claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
An allergic reaction can occur at a cafe or elsewhere if someone consumes food or drink which their immune system has a negative reaction to.
Essentially, a certain food or drink can cause an allergic reaction if your body interprets the proteins within it to be a toxin. As a result, your body’s immune system reacts to this food/drink like it is a poison.
This can cause numerous symptoms which can range from being minor to lethal. How dangerous a food allergy is can vary from person to person.
Food allergies in a cafe or other businesses which provide food or drink can occur due to a wide range of ingredients. The foods which can potentially trigger an allergic reaction in people include:
- Cereals containing gluten
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
- Tree nuts
Being exposed to a food allergy at a cafe or elsewhere can cause a wide range of symptoms. Which symptoms you could experience depends on how strong the allergy is. For some people, their symptoms may be relatively mild if they consume something they are allergic to. For others, however, an allergic reaction can be serious and even cause permanent or life-threatening injuries.
Potential symptoms of a food allergy can include:
- Abdominal pain
- An itchy red rash (hives)
- Difficulty with swallowing or breathing
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Itchy or tingling sensations around the mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling around the mouth, face, throat or possibly other parts of the body
- Symptoms similar to hay fever such as itchy eyes or sneezing
A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, can cause the person experiencing it to become unconscious and eventually die if they do not quickly receive treatment. Those who are vulnerable to anaphylaxis may carry emergency treatment with them. These are commonly known as adrenaline auto-injectors. They can either be used by someone who has started experiencing anaphylaxis, or by someone else with them if they are trained to administer the medication.
Businesses in the retail and catering sector are required to follow certain food laws. They include regulations that address the provision of allergen information and labelling to consumers. These rules apply to all UK cafes including Costa Coffee stores.
To summarise, regulations on food require cafes and similar establishments to provide allergen information on both pre-packaged and non-prepackaged food and drink to consumers.
There are different techniques a food provider could follow to provide allergen information to consumers. For instance, prepacked food in a cafe can feature labelling which clearly indicates any allergens contained within. Starting from October 2021, an additional law will come into effect in the UK regarding food labelling for prepackaged foods directly for sale. It is known as Natasha’s Law and it will require businesses to provide full ingredient and allergen labelling on foods that are pre-packed for direct sale.
Inside a cafe or restaurant, a consumer could ask staff directly if a food or drink available contains allergens. Or they could ask if a meal that normally contains allergens can be changed to have them removed. The restaurant or cafe should be capable of providing an accurate answer to such queries.
It should be noted that cafes and restaurants aren’t legally obliged to remove an allergen. They may decline to do so, or say it’s not possible. However, if they agree to remove an allergen and do not, this could be considered negligent behaviour.
As mentioned earlier, there are 14 main allergens that cafes and similar businesses must highlight if they are contained in foods and drinks which they sell. These allergens can be found in a wide range of different foods and drinks, including coffees, teas, cakes, biscuits and peanuts.
That means cafes such as Costa Coffee are required to provide allergen information on labelling and/or in-person when selling products such as the examples mentioned.
The amount that could be paid out following a successful claim for an allergic reaction can vary a great deal. It depends on the type of injuries which you are claiming for and how severe those injuries are.
In the table below, we’ve included estimated payouts for different types of physical and mental injuries which you may claim for following an allergic reaction. The estimated figures come from the Judicial College guidelines. These may be used by solicitors to help work out the value of injuries.
Injury Severity Compensation
Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury Severe £36,060 to £49,270
Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury Serious But Short-Lived £8,950 to £18,020
Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury Significant Discomfort For A Few Weeks £3,710 to £8,950
Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury Disabling Pain For Some Days Or Weeks Up to £3,710
Mental Anguish Fear Of Impending Death/Reduction In Expectation Of Life £4,380
Psychiatric Damage Generally Severe £51,460 to £108,620
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderate £5,500 to £17,900
Psychiatric Damage Generally Less Severe £1,440 to £5,500
The compensation payouts covered in the table all fall under ‘general damages’. Payouts for general damages focus specifically on compensating you for your injuries, both physical and mental, and the impact on your quality of life.
You may also receive compensation for ‘special damages’. This covers financial losses directly caused by your accident and injuries. Examples of financial losses that could be covered under special damages include:
- Loss of earnings due to having to take unpaid time off while recovering from your injuries.
- The cost of repairing personal property damaged in the accident you were in.
- The cost of medical treatment you’ve received for your injuries.
- Travel expenses you’ve accumulated in order to get medical treatment for your injuries.
You can contact UK Law to get a more specific estimate on your potential compensation payout based on the details of your case.
All prepacked food requires a label that displays certain information. Required information includes details of ingredients and whether any of the 14 main allergens are present in the food being sold. The labels themselves need to be permanent, easy and clear to read and not misleading in any way.
If certain foods in a cafe or a similar business are sold without pre-packaging, then these are known as loose foods. For these loose foods, there are still rules which require the business selling it to provide allergen information to customers.
Allergen information for loose foods should be available either in writing or by speaking to staff. The info should be easily accessible, accurate and verifiable. On menus, logos or symbols accompanied by words can be used to provide allergen information.
A catering establishment is an outlet that provides either food, drinks or both. Cafes such as Costa Coffee are clear examples of catering establishments which offer both food and drink. A catering establishment usually falls into one of three main categories:
Cafes, restaurants, fast-food outlets and takeaways are considered non-residential catering establishments. Examples of residential catering establishments include guest houses and hotels.
Non-commercial catering establishments include prisons, residential homes and hospitals. If a company operates as a contract caterer, that means they provide food and drink at a location where catering facilities are not usually present.
Have you experienced an allergic reaction when visiting a cafe or a similar establishment that sells food and drink? If so, you may be asking if you are eligible to start a compensation claim.
One of the critical things to establish after experiencing an allergic reaction from food or drink is responsibility for the incident. To successfully claim against a business for an allergic reaction, you need to establish with evidence that their actions or inactions can be considered negligent. You also need to show that any negligent behaviour which did take place was the direct cause of your allergic reaction and any subsequent injuries.
Another crucial matter to consider is whether you sought medical attention after your allergic reaction. Some people may be tempted to avoid a trip to a hospital if they only experienced minor injuries. However medical evidence related to your allergic reaction can prove vital in making a successful compensation claim.
Another matter that has to be considered is whether you could have taken reasonable steps of your own to prevent your allergic reaction from happening. For instance, if you experienced an allergic reaction at a cafe and failed to declare your allergies while there, this could work against your potential claim.
You may still be eligible to claim, but your case could be weakened if it’s established that you could have taken steps to avoid drinking or eating something to which you were allergic to. The potential outcome may be that liability is split between you and the cafe where you had your allergic reaction.
You can contact UK Law online or by phone for free advice on the eligibility of your potential allergic reaction claim.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is a law designed to protect you when buying most kinds of goods and services. It applies certain obligations to traders when they supply goods to customers. Cafes and other businesses which sell food and drink must follow these obligations.
In summary, the products a business sells must match their description. It should also be fit for purpose, be of a satisfactory quality and (if applicable) installed correctly. If a product you’ve bought doesn’t meet all of these criteria, then you could possibly claim under the Consumer Rights Act. The rights under this Act are applied against the retailer (the company which sold you the product) rather than the manufacturer.
Thanks to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you can refuse to pay for food you ordered if it does not match the menu description. You can also refuse it if it does not meet ‘satisfactory quality’. Importantly, the Consumer Rights Act also gives you the right to claim a refund and compensation if you get food poisoning from a food or drink-selling business.
In most circumstances, there is a time limit for starting a personal injury claim after experiencing an allergic reaction. Usually, the time limit is three years from the date of the incident which caused your injuries.
In certain circumstances, the three-year time limit may be frozen at least on a temporary basis. For instance, if the injured party lacks the mental capacity to claim on their own behalf, then the time limit is frozen for them. The time limit remains frozen unless the injured party later recovers enough mental capacity to act on their own behalf.
An allergic reaction claim can potentially be started on behalf of someone lacking in mental capacity by a representative, formally known as a litigation friend.
If someone under the age of 18 has an allergic reaction at a cafe or similar business, then the three-year time limit for claiming is frozen for them as well. The time limit remains suspended until the day they reach their 18th birthday. Before they reach 18, the injured party is unable to start a claim on their own behalf. However, a claim can be started on behalf of someone under 18 by a litigation friend.
If you suffer an allergic reaction at a Costa Coffee or another cafe, then your first priority should be to seek medical care for injuries you have. If you are considering a compensation claim for your allergic reaction, then it’s worth obtaining evidence of any medical treatment you receive. Evidence could include medical notes or discharge letters.
Do you have evidence that shows that your allergic reaction occurred due to negligent behaviour by a cafe? If so, you could consider pursuing a compensation claim. When you have sufficiently recovered from your injuries, you could next start collecting other evidence if you wish to go forward with a claim. Other evidence you may be able to gather alongside medical evidence could include witness contact details, CCTV footage and photos related to your injuries and accident.
When you’ve finished gathering evidence, you may then want to get in touch with a solicitor who can support your compensation claim. We recommend hiring a solicitor who has experience in handling allergic reaction claims.
Your chosen solicitor can review the strength of your case based on the information and evidence available. If your solicitor is confident your case can succeed, you can then sign a contract with them. From this point onwards, your solicitor will guide you through all the following steps needed to complete your claim.
You can contact UK Law if you have any questions regarding the process of an allergic reaction claim.
At UK Law, our panel of lawyers can advise on allergic reaction claims made on a No Win No Fee basis. If a solicitor is supporting your claim, then you may have signed a No Win No Fee agreement with them. This type of agreement offers certain financial benefits, including the following:
- No legal fees need to be paid upfront to your solicitor
- No legal fees need to be paid during the process of your claim
- If your claim does not succeed, you will not be required to pay your solicitor’s legal fees. This gives your solicitor a lot of motivation to work hard on your case since they face extra risk.
If your No Win No Fee claim succeeds, then your solicitor will deduct a small percentage from your compensation. They will do this to cover their legal fees. The amount they can charge is capped by law.
If you have evidence to support a personal injury claim against Costa Coffee or another cafe, then you can contact UK Law for more advice. Our panel of lawyers can advise on a range of different personal injury claims. You can contact us through the following methods:
- By using our online live chat service
- Through our claim online form
- Through our call back form
- By calling us on 020 3870 4868
For further advice on making a personal injury claim for an allergic reaction, you can check out the guides below:
This guide gives an overview on how you could possibly start a food allergy claim against a range of businesses.
In this guide, we focus more specifically on why an allergic reaction may happen in a restaurant and what you could do if this affects you.
This guide helps to explain your legal options if you can prove that you had an allergic reaction at a fast food chain like McDonalds.
This guide discusses your potential legal options if you can prove that you had an allergic reaction at a bakery chain such as Millie’s Cookies.
This guide explains your potential legal options if you can prove that you had an allergic reaction at a Nando’s or a similar fast food restaurant.
In this guide, we talk about the legal options available if you can prove you had an allergic reaction while visiting a Caffe Nero.
In this final section of our guide, we have answered some frequently asked questions regarding claims for an allergic reaction at a cafe.
Could I claim for someone else?
You may be able to start a personal injury claim on behalf of someone else who has suffered an allergic reaction under certain circumstances. It may be possible when the injured party is under the age of 18. It could also happen if the injured party lacks the mental capacity to act on their own behalf. In such cases, you could represent the injured party as a litigation friend.
What happens to child injury claim settlements?
Allergic reaction claims involving an injured child operate mostly the same as any cases involving an adult. One difference, however, is that any settlement awarded to the child will usually be kept in a trust fund. The child can access this fund once they turn 18.
Do you need medical evidence?
Medical evidence is usually a crucial element of any compensation claim for an allergic reaction. If you hire a solicitor to support your claim, they can usually assist you with acquiring useful medical evidence which you don’t already possess.
Will your claim go to court?
There is the possibility that your allergic reaction claim could go to court. However, the chances of this happening are usually low overall. Before your claim reaches that stage, your solicitor will attempt to agree a settlement with the defendant and their legal representative. If a settlement can not be agreed upon by both sides in time, then the case may need to be decided in court. Your solicitor will usually only recommend taking your case to court if they are confident that the outcome would be successful.
Thanks for reading our guide about your rights if you can prove you had an allergic reaction at Costa Coffee or another cafe.
Guide by GS
Edited by BER