Can someone sue for being served food they are allergic to?

UPDATED: Dec 18, 2011

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Can someone sue for being served food they are allergic to?

A customer told my mom, who understands little English, that she’s allergic to crabs. She asked if there were crab in the meal she wanted and my mom said no. The meal came with soup, which did have crab, but she didn’t ask my mom about the soup. The lady drank some soup, she found crab meat, panicked, left the restaurant, and went to the ER. My mom doesn’t know if she actually had a reaction at the restaurant or how serous the damage is but the lady’s family did call the restaurant and wants to sue my mom if we don’t pay for her hospital bills. The expense amount is unknown right now. Do they have a good case against us?

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Personal Injury, Illinois


Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is tricky. Technically, if your mon understood the word crab then it is a battery. There can be emotional distress damage attached too. However, since you said she understands little English, all depends on what she understood at the moment. How could she answer no if she did not understand the question? You need to consult an attorney. There would be more on the intent, i.e., whether your mom understood the word crab before the other party can sue.

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