Advice For Claiming For An Allergic Reaction At A Restaurant

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Allergic Reaction Claim After Eating At A Mexican Restaurant

By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 9th August 2023. Have you suffered an allergic reaction after eating at a Mexican restaurant? We should point out from the beginning that a person will not be allergic to a whole food cuisine but to certain ingredients that may be found in the food. For example, a person may be allergic to nuts that are found in a Mexican dish not the dish as a whole. To make a claim for an allergic reaction that has happened in a restaurant, negligence must be proven and be the established cause of the customers suffering.

Allergic reaction after eating in Mexican restaurant claims guide

Allergic reaction after eating in Mexican restaurant claims guide

Each claim and the circumstances leading up to it are usually somewhat unique in nature. Our expert team of advisors is on call to answer any questions that this guide doesn’t cover. They can also walk you through the claims process, and advise you on what your next steps should be. You may reach us on 0800 073 8804.

Select A Section:

  1. What Is An Allergic Reaction After Eating At A Mexican Restaurant?
  2. Can You Be Allergic To Mexican Food?
  3. Could You Request A Specific Ingredient Be Left Out?
  4. Legal Protections That Diners In A Restaurant Have
  5. When And How To Tell A Restaurant About Your Allergy
  6. Calculating Compensation For An Allergic Reaction 
  7. No Win No Fee Claims For An Allergic Reaction
  8. Useful Guidance

What Is An Allergic Reaction After Eating At A Mexican Restaurant?

What does it mean to be allergic to something? If you suffer from a food allergy, eating that particular food causes your body to react as if the food substance will cause you harm. Your body has a set response to deal with poisons, and this is what is triggered when an allergic reaction takes place. Your body is taking what can be extreme measures to neutralise the threat of the toxin. Mexican food as with any other foods may contain allergens. If you eat a particular food that contains this allergen ingredient you will suffer an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from almost unnoticeable to deadly. They may include:

  • An itchy area of skin, a red or sore rash.
  • Problems with loose bowels and stomach pain.
  • Being nausea.
  • Swelling in and around your throat or sometimes your tongue.
  • Your eyes watering a lot.
  • Your nose feeling as if it is blocked.
  • Anaphylactic shock (more on this in the next section).

Can You Be Allergic To Mexican Food?

Some people may ask whether it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to Mexican food. The answer is that there are some Mexican foods which certain people should avoid if they have specific allergies. So, what ingredients should food allergy sufferers avoid in Mexican food? Under UK law applied by the Food Standards Agency, there are 14 allergens that must be highlighted to customers and consumers when buying or selecting food. These allergens can be found in many foods, including the types of food we could encounter every day. To show how prolific allergens are, consider these examples below, showing how some common foods could contain one or more allergens:

  • A cup of coffee (milk, dairy or soy).
  • A bowl of mixed nuts (tree nuts or peanuts).
  • Fish and chips (fish or seafood).
  • Prawn crackers (shellfish or seafood).
  • A pre-packaged beef sandwich (mustard, wheat or gluten).
  • A fresh bean salad (lupin or celery).
  • Cereal that contains wheat.
  • A home-made smoothie (fruit or vegetables).

Numerous Mexican sauces can contain nuts. Other popular foods from Mexico can contain other allergens, particularly gluten and milk.

Could You Request A Specific Ingredient Be Left Out?

If you are an allergy sufferer, then you already know that you have to avoid certain things when you eat. To avoid an allergic reaction to Mexican food you could ask that certain ingredients be left out of the dish you have ordered. You can check with the serving staff if this is possible. They are not obliged to say yes, and they may advise that your request can’t be managed. If they agree to leave a particular ingredient out then they should follow this through completely.

Should Staff Follow Your Request To Leave An Ingredient Out?

If you do request a dish to be prepared in a special way, omitting an ingredient to avoid a food allergic reaction in a Mexican restaurant, and your request is accepted, then it must be actioned. If the serving staff forget to tell the chef or the chef does not comply without telling the customer the ingredient remains it is likely you will suffer an allergic reaction. This is negligence and you may be in a position to make a compensation claim.

Legal Protections That Diners In A Restaurant Have

The Food Standards Act 1999 sits at the centre of rules and regulations that are aimed at providing consumers with safe food. If these laws are not followed by a restaurant, this could ultimately result in you suffering an allergic reaction. If it can be proven that non-compliance was the cause, then a personal injury claim could be pursued if suffering is caused. This is something we can help you with if you call and talk to an advisor to find out how.

What Allergen Warning Information Must Be Provided?

One of the pivotal parts of food safety laws in the UK related to food allergies is that food manufacturers, retailers, and cooked food outlets must make sure that the 14 main allergens are communicated. This means that when you are ordering food from a Mexican restaurant, full Mexican food allergy info must be provided. The vehicle for providing this info will change, depending on specific circumstances. For example:

When seated at the table ordering food, then the allergen information must be easily found and comprehensive enough for you to choose safely from the food on offer.

If you are using a smartphone app or a website to order online, this same allergen information must be included on the site and must be easily found.

Takeaway or delivery through a phone call, the person who is taking your order on the phone must be able to provide allergen information or tell you where it is located.

When this information is omitted, not detailed enough, or is just plain wrong, then this could lead you to order something that could trigger your food allergy. In this case, this could be deemed as a failure on the part of the restaurant and a claim may be possible.

When And How To Tell A Restaurant About Your Allergy

You are not obliged to tell the employees of a Mexican restaurant that you have a food allergy. You might decide you want to, but you shouldn’t need to, as all of the allergen information you need should be provided for you, as we have seen in the previous section.

Some people like to tell the serving staff about their food allergy, as it speeds up to ordering process having the staff provide the Mexican restaurant allergy information, rather than having to find it and read it. When the serving staff do offer help and advice over choosing safe food, this needs to be entirely accurate information. If the staff provides inaccurate information, you might order something thinking it is safe for you to eat, only to suffer an allergic reaction to the Mexican food you ordered afterwards. This would be seen as negligence, and we could be able to help you to make a  compensation claim for the harm you suffered.

Calculating Compensation For An Allergic Reaction

If you can claim against a restaurant or another organisation for a Mexican food allergy, then there are up to two types of damages that your compensation payout may cover. These are called general damages and special damages. It’s usually only possible to claim special damages if you’re eligible to claim general damages.

General damages is the head of claim that compensates you for the pain and suffering your illness or injury has caused you. The payout for general damages in each successful food allergy claim is determined on a case-by-case basis.

However, many legal professionals may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) when valuing such claims. This is because the JCG features compensation brackets for various types of harm. In the table below, we have featured some of the figures listed in the latest edition of the JCG, published in April 2022.

The table should be treated as a guide only.


Health IssueCompensationNotes
Illness (i)£38,430 to £52,500This would be some form of severe illness, that will require the victim to be hospitalised to treat. Symptoms such as a high fever, dehydration, severe abdominal cramps, etc. would last for some time.
Illness (ii)£9,540 to £19,200This would be some form of serious illness, with painful and dilapidating symptoms. The victim may require hospitalisation to deal with the medical condition.
Illness (iii)£3,950 to £9,540This would be some form of moderate illness, food poisoning for example, that would have symptoms such as fatigue, moderate fever, sickness, diarrhoea, etc. The main symptoms would clear up in weeks, with some lingering for a year or two.
Illness (iv)£910 to £3,950This would be some form of minor illness, with symptoms such as cramps, sickness, impaired bowel function, etc. that would clear up within a few weeks.

What Are Special Damages In Personal Injury Claims?

There are also special damages, which are the flip side of the coin, they are paid for non-physical losses. You might be trying to claim back some expenses already encountered. If you are, then you need to know that you must provide evidence in the form of receipts, bills, invoices, etc. to support your claim.

Special damages might cover:

  • To make up for reduced earning potential in the future due to ill health.
  • To cover any lost income that you incurred because you had to take time off work.
  • If you had to pay for private medical care out of your own pocket, you can try and claim this cost back.
  • For paying a nurse or other professional to care for you in your own home.
  • To reimburse you for ad-hoc expenses such as bus tickets or other travel costs.

The kinds of damages you claim for will depend on the unique circumstances of your claim. To get a rough idea of what they might be, please have a chat with one of our expert advisors today.

No Win No Fee Claims For An Allergic Reaction

Have you come across the term No Win No Fee before? Maybe heard it in a radio advert or seen it on a billboard somewhere? You probably have a general idea of what it means, so here we will be more specific.

  • When you engage a solicitor under what is formally termed a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you have entered into a contract with the solicitors for them to provide you with legal services, under the following fee schedule:
  • There won’t be a fee at the start of the claim, similar to a retainer.
  • Regardless of how long the claim takes to process, the solicitor won’t ask you for any fees during the claim.
  • If the claim fails, and you win no compensation, the solicitor won’t try to collect their fee.

If you do win your claim, and the solicitor has received a compensation payment for you, then they will ask that you pay a (legally limited) success fee, which can be collected automatically. For a much more detailed explanation of how a CFA works, call and speak to an advisor.

Useful Guidance

These other guides elsewhere on our site may prove useful to you:

Checking these external links could also be of value:

Would you like to speak to an adviser about claiming for an allergic reaction after eating at a Mexican restaurant? You are welcome to contact Legal Expert for help using the contact details included in this guide.

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.