Injured at a Nail or Beauty Salon? Here’s How to Get Fair Compensation

If you were burned, scarred, infected, or otherwise injured at a nail or beauty salon, you may be entitled to compensation. Here’s how to file an injury claim.

Every month, more than 100 million Americans visit beauty salons for hair styling and color services, manicures, pedicures, facials, and more.¹

While women make up the largest segment of beauty salon clients, the number of men who purchase personal care services is growing.

Salons are offering a variety of services aimed at men, including hair and beard grooming and coloring, sport manicures and pedicures, and massages.

While the regulations vary from state to state, every nail and beauty salon must have a valid business license, every cosmetologist must be certified, and the salon owner is required to take reasonable steps to avoid harm to customers and guests.

Yet, accidents happen. That’s why reputable beauty salons carry liability insurance to protect the owner from expensive injury claims.

If you’ve been injured through the negligence of a nail and beauty salon, you have the right to expect full compensation for your medical expenses and emotional distress.

Beauty Salon Accidents and Injuries

Every customer injury is unique. However, injuries at beauty salons generally involve these situations:

Slip and Falls: The most common reason for injuries in any business are conditions that lead to customer slip and falls.  Wet floors, electrical cords, bags and purses left on floors, and spa chairs and tables that are too high are a few examples of conditions that can cause customers to stumble, trip, or fall.

Insufficient or improper training: Cosmetologists and estheticians must be properly trained and certified to perform every service they offer safely. Types of services include haircuts, hair coloring, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, massages and more.

Failure to conduct pretreatment skin patch tests: Chemicals that contact customer skin or hair should be applied to a small area first to check for a reaction before proceeding with treatment. Common chemical treatments include hair colors, relaxers, and straighteners; tanning solutions; skin peel treatments; and more.

Misused chemicals: Chemicals can cause harm if used past the expiration date, when left exposed to the air, reused, or when improperly mixed with other chemicals.

Failure to follow treatment procedures: Client injuries often result from failing to follow product guidelines and safe procedures.

Strict application procedures guide almost every service in a beauty salon, whether it’s the amount of time a hair dye is left on, the temperature of the wax, electric appliances, or the use of sharp nail care tools.

Unsanitary tools and surfaces:  Using unsanitary instruments can lead to serious bacterial and fungal infections. Improperly sanitized tools, foot basins, and treatment beds can spread serious infectious diseases, including MRSA, that can become life-threatening.

Faulty Equipment: Hair dryers, curling irons, tanning beds, movable chairs, and wax warmers are just some of the equipment used in beauty salons than can malfunction, causing electrical shocks or burns.

Common Beauty Salon Customer Injuries

Slips and fall accidents can result in:

  • Wrist and collarbone fractures
  • Knee and leg injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft-tissue bumps, bruises, and scrapes

Salon treatment injuries can include:

  • Thermal burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Bleeding wounds
  • Allergic reactions
  • Infections
  • Diseases such as hepatitis and HIV
  • Neck injuries

When Is the Nail Salon Responsible?

A bad haircut or uneven spray tan may be unsatisfactory service, but these aren’t reasons to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Most of the time, a dissatisfied customer can speak to the salon owner for a full refund or account credit.

Customers who suffer verified injuries due to the negligence of the salon owner or staff are eligible to seek compensation from the salon’s insurance company.

Whether you are filing a premises liability claim after a slip and fall, or a claim for injury related to a salon service, you’ll have to prove the salon was responsible for your injury.

Every beauty salon has a duty of care, meaning the salon must take reasonable steps to protect clients and guests from harm.

It helps to understand some legal terms used by lawyers and insurance companies:

Foreseeability means the salon owner knew or should have known about the potential for harm. For example, allowing an untrained employee to give a chemical peel facial. The salon owner knew or should have known that improper training might result in injury to a customer.

Negligence means the salon service provider did something wrong or failed to do what a competent provider would do. For example, failing to cover a customer’s eyes while applying chemical peel products to the face.

Direct and proximate cause means your injury is directly caused by the negligence of the beauty salon and would not otherwise have happened. For example, you would not have contracted a staph infection if the nail tech hadn’t used contaminated tools for your pedicure.

Damages are the financial consequences of your injuries. Damages include medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Building a Strong Injury Claim

The beauty salon’s insurance company won’t be in a hurry to compensate you for your injuries. They must be convinced the salon is to blame for your injuries before they part with a penny.

You have the legal burden of proof to support your claim, meaning it’s up to you to prove the salon is to blame for your injuries.

You’ll need good evidence to build a strong injury claim.

To prove the beauty salon violated its duty of care, you’ll have to show:

  1. The salon owner should have foreseen the potential for harm
  2. The salon service provider did something wrong or failed to do what a competent cosmetologist or esthetician would do
  3. The negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries
  4. The type of injuries you suffered and the amount of money it will take to compensate you fairly for your injuries

If you’ve been injured by a slip or fall in the salon or parking area, here’s how to maximize compensation for Business Property Injury Claims.

Liability for Faulty Products or Equipment

Beauty salons treat clients with lotions, waxes, cosmetics, dyes, and many other preparations that are applied to the hair, skin, or nails. Salons also rely on a variety of tools and equipment, like curling irons, tanning beds, UV-light nail dryers, mechanical treatment chairs and beds, pore extractors, and more.

Defective beauty products or equipment can cause severe injuries to helpless clients. If you’ve been injured by a beauty preparation or faulty equipment, you can seek financial compensation from the manufacturer of the harmful product or device.

There are three categories of liability for defective products or equipment:

Defective Manufacturing: Salon customers can be injured by errors made when a product or tool was manufactured and packaged. For example, a batch of face cream with poison mixed in.

Defective Design: Dangerous design problems will affect the entire line of that product, like a line of tanning beds with inaccurate timers.

Defective Instructions or Warnings: Injuries can occur when a product or device doesn’t give clear instructions or warnings about potential harm or side effects, like an exfoliating face cream that fails to clearly warn that use on irritated or acne-prone skin may result in permanent scarring.

Big manufacturing companies have an army of lawyers to defend them. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your product liability case.

Evidence Can Make or Break Your Claim

Establishing your claim and gathering good evidence starts at the beauty salon.

Speak with the salon owner or manager: Let the owner know if you were nicked, cut, burned, or suffered any other type of injury at the hands of a salon technician. Don’t be embarrassed to bring problems to the owner’s attention. Most salon owners or managers want to know if you’ve had a bad experience.

Sometimes, symptoms of injuries develop over hours or days. That burning scalp may become a mass of bleeding sores, or that spot on your toe that bled becomes hot, swollen and painful.

After you’ve seen a doctor, call the salon owner to report the problem and ask for the salon’s insurance company contact information.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible: Never refuse or delay treatment. If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, suffering a severe allergic reaction, having shortness of breath or any other rapidly developing symptoms, ask someone to call 911. If paramedics want to take you to the hospital, go with them.

If you’ve already left the salon, have a medical evaluation as soon as you begin to see signs of infections or other problems. Be sure to tell your medical providers where, when, and how you were injured.

Witnesses: Witness testimony is strong evidence you can use to support your beauty salon insurance claim. Independent eyewitnesses have no financial or personal interest in the outcome of your claim, and insurance company claims adjusters take them more seriously.

For example, an eyewitness saw the nail tech use the same instrument on you that was just used on the previous customer. Or a witness may have overheard a technician admit overheating the wax that burned you.

Get the names and contact information of potential witnesses. If the person is willing to write down what they saw and heard, ask them to sign and date their written statement.

Photographs and video: If you suffered a sudden injury, use your cell phone to take pictures of your injury and the surrounding area. If you slipped and fell on soapy water, photograph or video the place where you fell and the water. If your phone has an audio function, record what the technician has to say.

Take notes: Even if you have a video recording, be sure to write down everything you recall about the circumstances leading to your injury and statements or comments made by the salon workers.

You can use anything the technician says as an admission against interest to support your claim. That could be an apology, an excuse for the mistake, or an outright admission they caused your injury.

Try to gather critical information like the salon worker’s name, how long they’ve worked at that salon, and how much training they’ve had.

Medical records, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages: You need copies of your medical records for all treatment you’ve had for your injury.

Make copies of your medical bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and if you miss work, get a letter from your employer verifying your lost wages.

Dealing with the Insurance Company

If the salon owner hasn’t put you in touch with their insurance company, you can send a written notice directly to them of your intent to seek compensation for your injuries.

Start strong with this sample Letter of Notification to an Insurance Company.

After contacting the insurance company, you can expect to hear from a claims adjuster within a week or two.

By the time you first speak with the adjuster, they will have already spoken with the beauty salon owner to get their version of the incident. If the adjuster decided the salon wasn’t negligent, your claim might be flatly denied.

Most likely, the adjuster will ask for your side of the story and may ask permission to record your conversation. You’re not obligated to give a recorded statement, but refusing can delay the processing of your claim.

If you’re comfortable telling your side of the story, you can agree to the interview. Keep in mind the adjuster is trained to get you to say things that can be used against you.

You have the right to consult a personal injury attorney before agreeing to a recorded statement or claim settlement.

Stick to the facts, don’t give “opinions,” and don’t volunteer information that suggests you share responsibility for your injury.

Don’t discuss a settlement until you’ve recovered from your injuries. However, be aware of your state’s statute of limitations for injury claims.

If you’ve fully recovered from soft-tissue injuries like minor burns or sprains, or a mild infection that cleared up without complications, you should be able to negotiate a satisfactory insurance settlement without the help of an attorney.

Calculate a fair settlement amount by totaling your medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and lost wages. Add one or two times that amount to compensate for your pain and suffering.

Submit your compensation demand in writing, enclosing copies of your medical records and bills, photographs, and other evidence.

Look like a pro with our sample Beauty Salon Injury Demand Letter.

Attorneys Can Boost Your Compensation

If you’ve suffered severe or complicated injuries from a slip and fall or other negligence at a beauty salon, you’ll need an attorney to get the compensation you deserve.

Insurance companies will use every trick in the book to avoid paying high-dollar injury claims. They don’t care if you spent weeks in a hospital bed, suffered permanent scarring, or nearly died from a horrific infection. They just won’t offer as much money to claimants who don’t have an attorney.

Claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars are never paid to beauty salon victims who face the insurance company alone.

Don’t settle for less. There’s no obligation, and it costs nothing to find out what a personal injury attorney can do for you.

Beauty Salon Injury Questions & Answers

Charles R. Gueli, Esq. is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of legal experience. He’s admitted to the NY State Bar, and been named a Super Lawyer for the NY Metro area, an exclusive honor awarded to the top five percent of attorneys. Charles has worked extensively in the areas of auto accidents,... Read More >>