Living with a food allergy makes eating out somewhat more difficult, but if you've lived with this allergy for a while, you probably have a routine set up that helps you eat safely no matter where you go. Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put forth, you may still end up eating something that you are allergic to. The results of this can be devastating in some cases, but you may be able to recover damages by suing the restaurant.
Responsibilities of Restaurants
More restaurants are taking steps towards learning about this subject, and many restaurants already have certain procedures in place to help prevent this problem from happening. Some of these things include:
- Offering a special menu or certain entrees for people with food allergies
- Educating cooks about prevention of cross-contamination and cross-contact
- Teaching servers about food allergies
While many restaurants have policies for this purpose, there are still some that do not, and there are still times when situations occur when guests are served food that contains an ingredient they cannot eat.
A restaurant is responsible for informing guests of ingredients in all items. They are also responsible for ensuring that they offer true and accurate information about ingredients. A restaurant should also take every necessary step to make sure that the guest is served the right plate of food.
One thing a restaurant can do to protect itself is to post warnings. For example, if a restaurant uses peanut oil to deep-fry foods, it may want to post this on the walls and in the menu. Anyone with a peanut allergy would see this, and this would alarm the person of the risks of eating any food at this restaurant.
What Happens When The System Fails
If you take every necessary precaution to find out what ingredients are in a particular dish and end up being rushed to the hospital because the dish had something you were allergic to, you might have the right to sue the restaurant for this.
There are many ingredients people are allergic to, but most food allergies fall into one of eight different foods. Some of these are fish, peanuts, and wheat. Health Central reports that approximately 150 people die each year from food allergies, but thousands of people are affected by food allergies every year.
Challenges of Lawsuits
While you have the right to file a personal injury case against the restaurant, the hardest part will be proving it. Proving that the restaurant caused your allergic reaction and that the restaurant is liable for this is the main challenge you will have. To prove this, you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer, like those at Meltzer and Meksraitis, that has experience with this subject.
Your attorney will probably want to know what precautions you took to make sure that you did your part to avoid eating the wrong ingredient. Next, the attorney will look into the procedures the restaurant uses for ensuring that cross-contact of food is prevented.
The best way to win a case like this is to prove negligence. Negligence is one of the main elements of personal injury law. In a food allergy case, negligence can occur in many ways, including:
- Customers being misinformed from employees
- Cooks preparing the wrong food and serving it to a guest with food allergies
- Cooks accidentally adding an ingredient they were supposed to omit
- Restaurant providing inaccurate ingredient lists for entrees
These are just some of the ways negligence can be proved. If you are able to prove that the restaurant was negligent in any way, you might have a good chance of winning the case. If this happens to you, contact a lawyer for help. You can find out from your lawyer if you have enough evidence to win the case, and this will help you decide whether to sue or not.