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What happens after deadly food allergies lead to loss of life?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Wrongful Death

Food allergies can be a major health and safety issue. People with certain allergies have to carefully monitor what they eat. Parents who have children with known food allergies often need to be very cautious about what restaurants they visit, what foods they purchase and even what cleaning processes they use in their own home.

Some of the most debilitating food allergies are to relatively common items including milk, grains and nuts. Despite the best efforts of individuals with food allergies and their families, sometimes people ingest contaminated food products. Depending on the details of the situation, a severe allergic reaction to food could prove fatal. People who experience anaphylactic shock may lose consciousness or stop breathing.

What can families do after a preventable food allergy reaction claims the life of a loved one?

Establish the origin of the contamination

There is no way to undo the harm caused by a deadly allergic reaction, but those grieving may still want to respond proactively. After all, there are likely hundreds of others in the same community with similar allergies who might be at risk. Beyond that, the family of the deceased likely experienced a variety of financial consequences triggered by their loved one’s passing. Determining the source of the allergen exposure can help families pursue justice for themselves and protect others from a similar tragedy.

Maybe the server who took an order did not relay the details about someone’s food allergy to the kitchen staff. They may have failed to employ proper cleaning techniques to limit allergen exposure and cross-contamination. Perhaps there was a prepackaged food item purchased at the grocery store that did not have proper allergen labeling. The first step in the pursuit of justice is the establishment of how the exposure to the allergen occurred.

File a wrongful death lawsuit

Once there is a clear reason for the tragedy, the family can take necessary action. A wrongful death lawsuit can name a business, not just an individual, as the defendant. Negligence relating to cleanliness, allergen disclosures and kitchen procedures could be sufficient grounds to take legal action against a restaurant or a food manufacturer. The family can potentially secure compensation for the costs associated with their loved one’s death. The financial impact of a successful lawsuit can also be a strong motivator for businesses to be better about their practices surrounding allergen exposure.

While it is normal to grieve the unexpected loss of a loved one, surviving family members should not ignore the need to take legal action after a deadly allergic reaction to food. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is an appropriate response to a family tragedy that a business could have prevented with better practices.