Can I sue a nail salon for an infection?

by Chaunell
(Fort Wayne, IN)

I was getting my nails done and the nail tech cut my cuticle with a power nail file. A few days later my hand became swollen. I went to the doctor who said the power nail file and/or other utensils were not clean.

I'm now on an antibiotic medication, an anti-inflammatory, and I had to get a tetanus shot. I am also a massage therapy student and worker, but cannot use my hand so I can't work, nor can I cook for my family and do other domestic chores.

Can I sue the nail salon for the infection and my lost wages?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I sue a nail salon for an infection?":

Chaunell (Fort Wayne, IN):

For purposes of any proposed legal action against the nail salon, you must first realize it would have been impossible for the doctor to say with any degree of medical certainty that the nail salon's utensils were "unclean".

If you had seen the doctor within hours of the cut, the doctor might have been able to state (with a degree of medical certainty) that the utensils in the nail salon "may" have been unclean. But because you waited several days there is no way you will be able to prove the nail salon's utensils definitively resulted in your infection.

There are too many other factors which might have influenced the infection. An attorney for the nail salon would argue, and probably successfully, that within the few days since your cuticle was cut you may have handled unclean objects, may have come in contact with a person who may have carried bacteria, or other forms of the spreading of bacteria.

Just going into a grocery store and pushing one of the carts is one of the fastest ways to acquire a tremendous amount of bacteria all over your hands.

This is not to say you shouldn't try. There is never a "yes" or "no" answer to whether a legal claim will ultimately be successful. If you want to pursue the claim you can also always file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court. In the State of Indiana the maximum jurisdiction, or the "maximum amount" you can sue for is $6,000 dollars.

If you want to pursue a legal claim for a higher amount your best interests would be served by retaining a personal injury attorney. Most will not charge a fee for an initial office consultation. Visit with several until you feel comfortable about the path you will ultimately take.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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