There are thousands of beauty and personal care products on the market today, including soaps, shampoos, creams, lotions, make-up, toothpaste, deoderant, etc. Most are safe to use. Unfortunately, some of these products can be dangerous, causing allergic reactions, infections, irreversible skin damage, and more.
If you’ve been injured by a beauty care product, you may have the basis of a personal injury claim. Your injury claim may be against:
- The manufacturer of the product
- The retail store or website where you purchased the product
- The beauty salon that applied the product
- A combination of the above
Product Injuries and The Law
When it comes to injuries caused by beauty and skin care products, most courts rely on the legal standard of strict product liability. To win your injury claim under strict liability, you have to prove three legal elements:
- The product was sold in an unreasonably dangerous condition.
- You used the product according to the directions provided.
- The product was the direct and proximate cause of your injury.
If you can prove these elements, you can seek compensation for your damages. These include your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and an additional amount for your pain and suffering. In extreme cases of gross negligence, the court may award punitive damages.
Evidence to Prove Your Case
Not all injuries from beauty and skin care products result in successful personal injury settlements. Unless your injury is medically documented, you probably don’t have the basis for a valid claim.
For example, a skin rash can be upsetting, but if it disappears after a few days, it’s probably not enough to file a legitimate injury claim. More serious injuries however, like infections or irreversible skin damage, can provide a strong basis for a claim.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a beauty or skin care product, you’ll need as much evidence as you can gather. The greater and better the evidence, the stronger your injury claim will be.
Here’s how to gather evidence:
- Save the bottle or tube the product came in
- Take photographs or video of your injury
- Get witness statements describing what happened
- Make copies of all your medical records, bills, and receipts for expenses
- Have your employer write a letter verifying your lost income (if any)
Secondary Parties: Retailers and Beauty Salons
The primary party in a product liability claim is usually the manufacturer. But the retailer, whether a physical store, website, or beauty salon, may also be liable for selling the dangerous product. In claims against retailers, you’ll also have to prove the retailer acted negligently in the sale or application of the product.
If a beauty salon purchased a product from the manufacturer, then used it on customers without knowing it was dangerous, they may escape liability. But, if the salon continued using the product after being notified it was dangerous, they can likely be held responsible for injuries the product causes.
Negligent retailers and beauty salons who put their customers in danger may be held independently and collectively liable for any resulting damages. This means you may be able to sue the manufacturer, retailer, and beauty salon separately, and recover damages three times!
Hiring an Attorney
You can’t pursue a product liability claim by yourself. Beauty and skin care product manufacturers are often multimillion dollar corporations. You may think you have a very strong claim, and that you have excellent proof. Unfortunately, even with strong proof, it’s likely your complaint will fall on deaf ears.
Manufacturers will seldom admit their products are dangerous. To do so would be to admit their own negligence. Once they publicly admit one product is dangerous, consumers may believe all their products are tainted.
To have any chance of succeeding in your product liability claim, you’ll need the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
In pursuing your claim, your attorney will conduct pretrial discovery. This includes taking sworn depositions from the manufacturer’s representatives, subpoenaing the company’s research and development records, and more. Your attorney will likely also hire a lab facility to test the product. They must find the defect and prove it directly caused your injury.
If there’s any chance of settling your case, discussions between your attorney and the manufacturer’s attorneys won’t take place until the lawsuit is well under way, and pretrial discovery has been completed.
Manufacturers often rely on a legal defensive tactic to escape liability. They try to prove that your injury was not caused by their product, but was instead caused by your own negligence. If the manufacturer can prove you contributed to your own injury, you might not be able to collect any compensation, and your lawsuit will be dismissed.
Example: Burned by hair dye
Jane wanted to change her hair color, so she purchased an at-home hair dye product. The directions stated the product should only be kept on the scalp for five minutes. But since Jane wanted to make sure the color took, she instead decided to leave the product on for thirty minutes.
After fifteen minutes, Jane began feeling a burning sensation on her scalp, but she ignored it. When she removed the hair dye product after 30 minutes, her scalp was a severe red color and painful when touched.
Jane would have a difficult time convincing a court the hair dye manufacturer was 100 percent responsible for her burned scalp. She was partially negligent because she left the product on her scalp much longer than the directions called for.
Sometimes, beauty and skin care products remain on the market while slowly causing injuries to thousands of consumers. In many cases, the injuries aren’t serious enough for each victim to file a private lawsuit. Fortunately, the legal system provides these people with an option, called a class action lawsuit.
Your injury may not be serious enough for an attorney to accept your case. But if a class action has already been filed against the product manufacturer, you may be able to join it and get a percentage of the final settlement.
If you qualify, you won’t need private counsel. You can “opt in” to a class action lawsuit and be represented by the law firm(s) who are handling the case for the hundreds or thousands of consumers who were similarly injured.
With class actions, there’s strength in numbers. When the lawsuit is either settled out of court or won at trial, you will be entitled to a share of the settlement or court award. To learn if there’s a class action pending against the product which caused your injury, go to TopClassActions.com.
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Visitor Questions on Product Liability
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