If a tattoo injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Tattoo injuries which can include infections or allergic reactions from tattoo application, are usually treated with topical or oral medications and, in severe cases, laser removal.
If you have been harmed as the result of a negligent tattoo application or tattoo removal, you may be able to claim compensation.
In this article
You are not alone
Around 20 million people in the UK, one in five citizens, has at least one tattoo. That figure rises to one in three for young adults. Figures from the Economist suggest that the number of tattoo parlours on Britain's high streets has grown by 173% over the past decade to service the growing demand for art.
1 in 10 tattoo customers experience an adverse event
The majority of tattoo applications and tattoo removals are carried out safely.
However, research suggests that up to one in ten customers will suffer a tattoo-related adverse event following their procedure, with injuries ranging from allergic reactions to tetanus and hepatitis infection.
An allergic reaction or infection may occur even if the tattooist delivers an excellent service. If you are harmed, however, as a result of a tattooist's negligence, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
If you have been injured or become ill by receiving a tattoo or tattoo removal treatment, we can help you make an injury claim, on a No Win No Fee basis.
If you decide to make a tattoo injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
How much compensation can I claim for a tattoo injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your tattoo injury or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.
Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include topical treatments, pain medication and antibiotics.
Claiming compensation for psychological injuries
Although psychiatric injuries are less obvious than physical injuries and illness, mental health conditions can be no less debilitating.
Our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey found that 29.03% of claimants reported a psychological injury, with 70.97% of these relating to a physical injury.
Compensation for psychological harm can help you access mental health support and therapies not always available through the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Risks associated with tattoos
Most art procedures occur without incident. In rare cases, however, serious complications may occur. These include:
- Allergic reactions
- Bruising, bleeding and other needlestick injuries
- Dermatitis and other skin conditions
These and other adverse health events are often the result of substandard treatment carried out by a tattooist who has not been properly trained or who did not follow correct hygiene protocols.
Is the tattooist liable for my tattoo injury?
Tattooists have a duty of care to their clients. As well as exercising reasonable skill and care in applying the tattoo, they must provide a safe and hygienic experience and comply with relevant health and safety laws. As minimum, tattoo practitioners must:
- Verify that the customer is over the age of 18 (it is illegal to tattoo a minor)
- Conduct a thorough medical consultation to establish suitability for the procedure
- Gain the client's informed consent for the procedure
- Properly warn the client of the risks associated with the procedure
- Keep detailed records of the medical consultation for up to 2 years
- Observe health and safety procedures regarding hand washing and the use of disposable latex gloves
- Use a new, sterile needle on every customer
- Give full and appropriate aftercare advice
- Ensure that any needles and waste that may be contaminated with blood are correctly disposed of.
Where a tattoo artist fails to meet these standards and the client suffers harm as a result, it is more likely that a claim will be successful.
Tattoo removal compensation claims
The majority of unwanted tattoos are safely removed by laser treatment which involves passing a beam of high intensity light through the skin to break down the tattoo ink. The procedure is relatively new and the industry, while growing, is unregulated. This means that customers cannot always be sure of receiving professional treatment by fully trained tattoo removal therapists.
Not highlighting the risks prior to commencing laser tattoo removal treatment may amount to negligence. Other types of negligence associated with tattoo removal treatment include:
- Inappropriate use of the laser, for example, holding it too close to the skin causing burn injuries and scarring
- Use of unregulated equipment
- Inadequate health and safety procedures
- Failure to medically assess a patient's suitability for the treatment
- Inadequate post-treatment care.
Evidence is required to prove negligence in these types of claims. In particular, photographs are likely to be needed to show the extent of the injury. A solicitor can arrange an assessment by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to determine the extent of the injury and the likely prognosis. These factors will help to determine an appropriate amount of compensation.
After-care and contributory negligence
Clients who get a tattoo or tattoo removal have a responsibility to follow the aftercare regime recommended by the practitioner. Claimants who suffer injury following the procedure will have to prove that the injury did not develop as a result of their own lack of care whilst the tattoo or laser removal treatment was healing.
Customers who did not follow the aftercare protocol may still bring a claim. However, the Court may decide that the claimant was partly responsible for their own injuries and apportion blame using a split liability agreement.
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:
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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.