What Are Your Rights After An Allergic Reaction At McDonalds?

What Are My Rights After An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s?

When you visit any type of café, pub, restaurant or fast food outlet, you will usually have a good look over the menu before choosing your meal. That’s even more true if you’re an allergy sufferer. To help you choose a meal that’s safe for you, food laws exist relating to how allergen information is displayed. If that information is not available and you suffer an allergic reaction as a result, you could seek compensation for any suffering that results. In this guide, our aim is to explain when you could claim for an allergic reaction at McDonald’s.

Allergic reaction at McDonald's

A guide to an allergic reaction at McDonald’s

UK Law can help you if you would like to talk about your case. Our trained advisors provide free advice on how to claim and will review your case as well.

You don’t have to go on to claim but, if your case has strong grounds, we could connect you with a solicitor from our panel to help you. If they decide to work with you, their service will be provided on a No Win No Fee basis.

Get In Touch With Our Team

Are you ready to get started right away? If so, please call us on 020 3870 4868 to get the ball rolling. You can also write to us via our live chat service, or tell us about your case via our claim online form.

Otherwise, please read more about claiming for an allergic reaction after eating at McDonald’s in the rest of this guide.

Services And Information

Everything You Need To Know About Claims For An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s

McDonald’s has been a fixture on the UK’s high streets for decades. Their famous golden arches are often the first thing people will search for when they are out shopping. As a food business, they have the same obligation as others when it comes to allergens. While it is fair to say that the company do work hard to provide ample information about allergens present in their meals, it is also true that accidents could happen.

It is those accidents that could cause an allergic reaction to happen. For example, those mistakes could include:

  • Where a meal is prepared using the wrong ingredients.
  • The restaurant fails to remove items from a bespoke order.
  • Where inadequate allergen information is available.

In these cases, if you can prove their failings, you could take action to sue McDonald’s for any suffering that results from an allergic reaction. As we progress through this guide, we’ll look at what causes allergic reactions, what symptoms can occur, what rights you have and how much compensation could be paid.

We should clarify that whether you suffer an allergic reaction to McDonald’s BBQ sauce or you get a skin rash after eating McDonald’s, you don’t automatically become entitled to compensation. You would need to prove that the restaurant had been negligent. Furthermore, you would need medical evidence to prove you’d suffered the reaction because of the restaurants’ failings. We’ll look into this more throughout this guide.

If you would like us to check if you could have a valid claim, please get in touch. Whether you make a claim or not, we’ll provide free advice on your options.

What Is An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s?

As we have touched on already, in terms of claiming compensation for an allergic reaction at McDonald’s, you’ll need to show that:

  • McDonald’s owed you a duty of care (which is generally the case for all customers), and;
  • The restaurant breached that duty of care, and;
  • Because of that breach, you suffered an allergic reaction.
  • The allergic reaction happened within the last 3 years.

To demonstrate these things, you’ll need evidence to substantiate your allegations. That is something we’ll look at later on. However, if you believe your case matches all the criteria set out above, we could help you begin your claim.

Please contact our team and we’ll review why you suffered in a free telephone consultation.

What Could Cause An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s?

The NHS guide to food allergies explains that allergic reactions to foods are mistakes made by the body’s immune system. They are triggered when you eat a certain ingredient (the allergen) which is perfectly safe but is identified as being dangerous. When that happens, your body sends out antibodies like histamine to try to protect you.

It’s important to note that nobody is to blame for the fact you have an allergy, but restaurants should comply with the law to try and reduce the risk of you suffering a reaction.

Common Symptoms Of Allergic Reactions?

Here are some of the most common symptoms seen during an allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Vomiting or nausea.
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth.
  • Shortness of breath (and wheezing).
  • Diarrhoea or stomach pain.
  • Swelling around the throat, face, mouth or other parts of the body.
  • Hives – an itchy red raised rash.
  • A feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness.

While these symptoms can be over quite quickly, they can sometimes cause problems for a number of weeks or months. Any form of suffering could mean you’re entitled to compensation if the reaction was caused by the restaurant’s negligence.

More serious forms of allergic reactions can be life-threatening or fatal. These are called anaphylaxis and should be treated as a medical emergency. For more information on anaphylaxis, please read this NHS advice.

Your Right To Be Informed Of Potential Allergens

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that operators of food businesses must:

  • Supply consumers with allergen information relating to fresh and prepacked food.
  • Ensure allergens are handled safely during the food preparation service to avoid cross-contamination.

Furthermore, they say that it is a legal requirement to declare 14 different allergens. They are tree nuts, cereals that contain gluten, celery, crustaceans, sulphites (and sulphur dioxide), soybeans, eggs, fish, sesame, peanuts, lupin, molluscs, milk and mustard.

In the next section, we’ll look at what measures should be implemented to declare that these allergens have been used.

What Allergy Warning Information Should A Restaurant Provide?

There are many different ways to declare the presence of these allergens. For prepacked food, this means listing all ingredients and highlighting any allergens in a different colour, underlined or in bold print.

For restaurants, the methods that could be used include notice boards, allergens listed on the menu, an allergen-friendly menu, or an information pack.

Where preparation processes mean that there is a chance of cross-contamination in the kitchen, the company should use ‘may contain’ notices. For example, if your meal doesn’t contain nuts but is prepared near to another that does, a ‘may contain nuts’ label should be used.

If you have evidence that you suffered an allergic reaction at McDonald’s because the rules weren’t met, please get in touch. Our specialists can review what happened and consider your evidence. They’ll supply free advice on what else could help you proceed to a claim.

If your case is strong enough, they could connect you with a personal injury lawyer from our panel. To make your claim less stressful, they’ll manage your case on a No Win No Fee basis.

Calculate Compensation For An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s

We are now going to review what amount of compensation might be awarded for injuries that are caused by an allergic reaction. At this point, we should say that the figures in our compensation table are for guidance. If you would like us to offer a more relevant compensation estimate for you, please get in touch for a free case review.

The part of your claim that covers the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries is called general damages. Potential compensation awards for this part of your claim are contained within the Judicial College Guidelines, a document used by lawyers to value injuries. Therefore, we’ve used those figures in our compensation table.

ClaimDetailsRange of Compensation
Injury related to allergic reactionThis category is for injuries that result in fever, acute pain, vomiting and diarrhoea due to severe toxicosis. Some days or weeks will be spent in hospital. Also, some continuing symptoms will impact significantly on life enjoyment.£36,090 to49,270
Injury related to allergic reactionThis category is for injuries with short-lived but serious symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting. They will ease after around two to four weeks.£8,950 to £18,020
Injury related to allergic reactionInjuries that cause alteration of bowel function, fatigue or cramps. Complete recovery will take around a year but hospitalisation might be required for a few days.£3,710 to £8,950
Injury related to allergic reactionInjuries that cause stomach cramps diarrhoea and varying degrees of pain for up to a few weeks.Up to £3,710

An important part of your case is proving the extent of any injuries you’ve claimed for. Therefore, you will need to attend a medical assessment during the claims process.

The assessment will be conducted by a specialist medical expert. During your appointment, they will assess your injuries by asking questions and analysing your medical records. This should provide them with the evidence to supply a report detailing how you’ve suffered. They will also offer a prognosis for the future.

The report will be used to prove that your injuries were caused by the reaction. It also allows your lawyer to accurately value your case.

Special Damages

When you make a personal injury claim, you may also be able to claim back any costs associated with your suffering. What you could be entitled to will vary, but you could claim back:

  • Medical expenses – to cover the costs of prescriptions or non-NHS services.
  • Travel costs – where they are linked to GP or hospital appointments.
  • Care costs – if somebody was needed to help with daily activities during your recovery.
  • Lost income – where time off work has meant you’ve lost earnings.
  • Future lost income – in cases where your ability to work will be affected in the longer term.

Again, you will need to provide evidence to support a financial claim. Therefore, we’d advise sending any receipts, bank statements or other documents to your solicitor that show the amount you have spent.

What Does The Law Say About Allergic Reactions In Fast Food Chains?

At the time of writing, the UK is transitioning from the European Union. That means that legislation is being updated to reflect the move away from EU laws. As a result, the regulations listed in the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011 may be altered. However, at the time of writing, it still applies.

However, it is worth pointing out that it was this piece of legislation that brought in the requirement to provide information about the 14 allergens that we listed earlier.

The main food law in this country is the Food Safety Act 1990, which sets out to protect people from consuming food that could potentially harm them. The Act applies to all companies that produce, store, transport, label or sell food products.

While there are many different food laws that could apply in relation to fast food restaurants, you won’t need to know about them if you work with a lawyer from our panel.

If your case is taken on, they’ll use their skills, experience and training to base the claim on the correct piece of legislation. If you would like us to check if your case could be taken on, please get in touch today?

Our team offer free legal advice on claiming even if you don’t wish to proceed.

What Is Classed As A Catering Establishment?

Food businesses need to be registered with the FSA. They say that this includes:

  • Cafes, takeaways and restaurants.
  • Food stalls, pop-up shops, food vans and marquees.
  • B&Bs, temporary businesses, mobile catering and food businesses run from home.
  • Care homes, schools and nurseries.
  • Companies selling food online.

Essentially, any company that cooks, sells, stores, handles, labels, distributes or prepares food must be registered to comply with the law.

Do You Have The Right To Make An Allergic Reaction Claim?

If you would like to claim damages because you’ve suffered due to an allergic reaction, you will need to show that it happened because of negligence. That means you would need to show that:

  • Allergens that were not listed in the product’s ingredients were used in your meal.
  • Staff gave you inaccurate information about the presence of allergens.
  • There was no way of finding out about allergens i.e. they weren’t displayed on the menu and signs weren’t present to tell you where to look.
  • Insufficient safety measures were being used to prevent cross-contamination.

In addition, you would need to prove that any pain and suffering you suffered were a result of the allergic reaction caused by the restaurant.

Allergic Reactions And The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that your food should be fit for purpose, be of satisfactory quality and made with reasonable care and skill. Therefore, you could request a refund if:

  • Your food included an allergen that was not listed on the menu.
  • A customised order was not fulfilled correctly meaning an allergen was present.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll be compensated for any suffering caused by the allergic reaction. If you want that to happen, you will need to begin a personal injury claim in addition to any complaint you raise about the incident.

How Much Time Do I Have To Claim For An Allergic Reaction?

As with all compensation claims, time limits apply to those relating to allergic reactions. For most adults, the time limit will be 3-years from the date of the reaction.

Where the claim involves a child, a parent or responsible adult could claim on their behalf at any time before they become 18-years  old. If a claim hasn’t happened by then, when the child becomes an adult, they’ll have 3-years to claim themselves.

In a similar way, if somebody is incapacitated by an allergic reaction, you could represent them in a claim as well. To represent a child or somebody else who can’t represent themselves, you would need to become a litigation friend. If your case is deemed suitable by a solicitor from our panel, they’ll help you with this process.

Please contact our team if you’d like more information on how long you have left to make your claim.

I Suffered A Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s, What Should I Do?

If you do wish to claim for the suffering caused by an allergic reaction at McDonald’s you will need evidence to back up your allegations. This could include:

  • Medical notes from the hospital or GP surgery that treated you.
  • Details of any witnesses who heard your discussions with staff about the presence of allergens.
  • Photographs of the restaurant you visited if you believe signage was missing or inaccurate.
  • Copies of receipts that show your customised order.

Once you have this evidence, you could contact us to see if you have enough to proceed. If we believe the case has strong grounds, we could pass it to a specialist solicitor from our panel. Remember, their work will be conducted on a No Win No Fee basis if they take you on.

Claim For An Allergic Reaction At McDonald’s On A No Win No Fee Basis

Are you worried about losing money on solicitor’s fees when making your claim? If so, you needn’t. That’s because we have a panel of solicitors who provide a No Win No Fee service for their work if your case is accepted. By doing so, you could benefit from expert legal representation but with minimal financial risk.

As not all claims are suitable, the solicitor will need to validate the viability of your case. After reviewing what’s happened, the solicitor will draft a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you if they’re happy to work for you. Once signed, the CFA (the formal name for a No Win No Fee agreement) will be used to fund the solicitor’s work. It will show you what they need to do before they are paid. Essentially, if they don’t win your case and you are not compensated, you won’t need to pay any of your solicitor’s fees.

Where there is a positive outcome, a percentage of any compensation will be used to cover the solicitor’s work and costs. You’ll find the percentage listed in the CFA at the start of your claim. Legally, success fees are capped to stop you from being overcharged.

We can check if your case might be suitable for a No Win No Fee service. Therefore, why not call today for a free claim review?

Related Illness Claim Guides

You are almost at the conclusion of this article on claiming for an allergic reaction at McDonald’s. Therefore, you’ll find some extra resources below that we think might help you further.

Anaphylaxis Treatment – NHS information that explains what treatment they can offer for those affected by anaphylaxis.

Allergy UK – This charity gives information, advice and support to those who suffer as a result of an allergy.

Restaurant Allergy Claims – This guide offers a more generic look at claiming for an allergic reaction due to poor allergen advice.

Claiming On Behalf Of Somebody Else – Details of when you could claim on behalf of a child or somebody else who doesn’t have the capacity to claim themselves.

Accidents In Shops – Free claims advice on what to do if you’re injured in a shop because of the owner’s negligence.

FAQs People Ask About Fast Food Allergy Claims

This section provides answers to some common questions about food allergies. If you would like further support in relation to fast-food allergic reaction claims, please call our specialists.

How long after eating something you’re allergic to can you have a reaction?

In most cases, reactions to food allergens will trigger within minutes or hours of eating. However, there are occasions where the process can be slower and develop over a few hours or even days.

What are the symptoms of a delayed allergic reaction?

Symptoms of delayed reactions can be similar to those of a reaction that happens instantly. They can include itchiness, facial swelling, rashes, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

What are 2 signs of an allergic reaction?

Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary from case to case. Some are much more common than others. For example, 2 common symptoms of mild allergic reactions include angioedema (swelling of the lips, tongue, eyes or face) and hives (a raised itchy red rash).

Thanks for reading our guide on what to do if you have an allergic reaction at McDonald’s.

Guide by HB

Edited by BER