Negligent Beauty Treatment Claims

The beauty industry is big business in the UK, with figures suggesting that there are almost 55,000 hairdressing, barbering, and beauty establishments across the country. With a £6.2 billion annual turnover and a total employment of 245,795, it is a significant industry that employs almost 1% of the nation's workforce.

Despite its size, which is estimated to be in a state of growth, the beauty industry remains largely unregulated and the UK are one of the few countries in the world that does not have a system of compulsory regulation for workers in the industry.

The standards operated across the industry and from technician to technician can vary and often consumers are misled by seductive advertising promising impeccable results, or by chic salons that disguise unsafe practices.

Far from being trivial, the pain and embarrassment caused when a beauty treatment goes wrong can be very serious indeed. Not only do these types of claims cause physical discomfort but often they have a larger reaching psychological impact where the treatment or procedure has resulted in visible injuries.

At Simpson Millar, we understand the implications for clients who have suffered because of the negligence of a hairdresser or beauty technician and we are here to assist in getting the help and compensation they deserve.

Due to beauty treatment claims being a niche area of law, many clients are unsure of their rights after they have had a nightmare appointment.

What Sort Of Injuries Can Be Sustained By Beauty Treatment?

While most appointments at a beauty parlour, nail salon, or barbers is innocuous and will pass without any issue, the injuries and ailments that can be suffered at the hands of a negligent employee can be wide ranging.

Common injuries or complaints that could result in a claim for negligent beauty treatment include:

  • Infections or other painful complications arising from tattoos or body piercing
  • Scalp damage or inflammation caused by products or equipment
  • Bleaching burns or reactions
  • Lacerations and infections caused by waxing
  • Burning or scarring from laser treatment
  • Allergic reactions to hair dye caused by a member of staff failing to perform a patch test
  • A reaction to latex gloves, which are used in some businesses and can cause those allergic to latex to go into anaphylactic shock
  • Damage to the eyes suffered during eye lash treatments
  • Burns caused during tanning
  • Incorrectly applied semi-permanent make-up
  • Post procedural infections
  • Beauty parlour syndrome, also known as vertebrobasilar insufficiency, which can cause strokes and is thought to be linked to poorly designed wash basins in hair salons

These injuries vary in likelihood, with conditions such as beauty parlour syndrome being extremely rare, while injuries such as allergic reactions to hair dyes and bleach burns are more common.

If you have sustained any kind of injury or ailment while receiving beauty treatment and you think the therapist, technician, beautician or hairdresser was at fault, please contact us so that we can start assisting you with a claim, which can help to ensure that practices are improved moving forward.

Negligent Beauty Treatment Injuries

What Laws Can Back Up Claims?

Claims for poor beauty treatment are usually brought under common law negligence. In order to succeed with a claim in negligence you must be able to show:

  • That the business/beautician/hairdresser owed you a duty of care;
  • That they breached that duty of care and;
  • As a consequence you have suffered loss

During your claim, we will be looking to prove that the therapist, technician, beautician, or barber failed to carry out the treatment or procedure to a reasonable standard expected from a competent professional.

In addition to common law, we may look to see if the technician breached their statutory duties pursuant to:

  • Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act etc 1974. Anyone providing treatments or procedures has a duty to ensure that customers are not exposed to an unacceptable risk resulting from their working activities.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2012. Some ingredients in beauty products can irritate the skin or cause allergies or asthma and may be controlled by the points covered in these regulations.

How Can I Find A Safe Salon Or Beauty Parlour?

Due to the often serious nature of injuries that can be suffered during beauty treatment, it is important to do some research before you book an appointment at a new business. Asking some simple questions and being aware of business practices can ensure that you avoid treatment from a negligent technician.

Good salons and beauticians ought to get to know a little about you before they start treatment. Generally speaking, staff at a good practice should:

  1. Obtain your personal details
  2. Ask you about any medical history that may be relevant to the treatment or procedure
  3. Ask about your lifestyle
  4. Check the condition of your skin and nails
  5. Explain to you the limitations of the procedure
  6. Explain things you should look out for post treatment or procedure, such as redness or irritation
  7. Check if you have any allergies
  8. Properly explain the service and their recommendations
  9. Provide aftercare advice
  10. Make a record of your discussion in writing and ask you to sign and date this
  11. Carry out appropriate patch tests in good time ahead of the treatment or procedure 
  12. Make sure any under 16s are accompanied by a responsible adult

Even after undertaking all of these extensive checks, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you are receiving treatment from a practice with high standards, these steps include:

  • Checking the experience and qualifications of the individual who will be providing your service
  • Checking that the individual or business has appropriate insurance in place
  • If appropriate, checking that the business or individual is operating under the appropriate license issued by the Local Authority, for example if you are visiting a tattoo or ear piercing studio

What Should I Do If I've Been Injured During Beauty Treatment?

If you have suffered an injury during beauty treatment, there are some steps you should take to ensure your safety and help your claim further down the line. These are as follows:

  • If required, seek immediate medical treatment; if treatment is not urgent contact your GP for an appointment;
  • Take photographs of your injuries;
  • Contact the salon/individual and inform them you intend to make a claim;
  • Keep a copy of your receipt and any paperwork given to you before or after the treatment or procedure;
  • Keep details of any expenses you incur because of your injuries and;
  • Contact Simpson Millar's personal injury team, who will be able to advise on your case and explain whether you could claim for your injuries.

Acting On Beauty Treatment Injuries

How Much Compensation Could I Receive?

A claim for compensation is broken down into two parts:

  • Damages for personal injury, pain, suffering, and loss of amenity
  • Damages for financial losses sustained as a consequence of the accident; for example: loss of earnings, travel expenses, and costs of medication

Cases are valued on an individual basis after obtaining a report from an independent medical expert, which will tell us the extent of your injuries and the impact of the negligent beauty treatment.

Due to the wide ranging nature of injuries and ailments that can be suffered at the hands of a negligent beauty professional, it is difficult to speculate compensation amounts. It is worth noting that judges that rule on personal injury cases may refer to JC Guidelines, which is a handbook that assists with the valuation of claims.

Once you get in touch with one of our team, they can take more details of your injury and refer to the JC Guidelines to give you an idea of how much compensation you could receive.

It is important to note that, as a general rule of thumb, you have three years from the date of your injury to pursue a claim.

I Work In The Beauty Industry, Can I Claim If I've Been Injured At Work?

According to information published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), up to 70% of hairdressers suffer from work related skin damage and hairdressers are 17 times more likely to develop dermatitis than any other group of workers.

Similarly, nail technicians are susceptible to suffering from allergies and asthma due to their exposure to the chemicals in acrylic nails and polishes.

These hazards can be easily managed by employers, who have a duty of care to employees, by following simple HSE advice, which includes providing non-latex gloves and suitably ventilating work premises.

If your employer fails to do the things they are required to and their failure causes you to suffer an injury at work, we can help to challenge working practices and secure compensation for the damage caused.

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There are strict time limits for pursuing compensation for defective products, so please contact our helpline on freephone: 0808 129 3320 or alternatively complete our quick enquiry form and a member of our staff will contact you.

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Melanie Burden | Partner, Head of Personal Injury | Simpson Millar LLP

Melanie Burden
Head of Personal Injury

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