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Jonathan Speight

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee tattoo injury claim

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 body art.

1 in 10 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.

Anyone who sustains an injury while receiving a tattoo or tattoo removal treatment may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

Risks associated with tattoos

Most body art procedures occur without incident. In rare cases, however, serious complications may occur. These include:

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 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.

Understanding No Win, No Fee compensation agreements

A No Win, No Fee compensation claim gets underway with a Claimant agreeing to, with a solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a CFA).

The CFA is essentially the contract between your lawyer and you.

The agreement explains the service your solicitor provides, and crucially, the "success fee". This success fee is the percentage to be taken from the compensation if the claim is successful.

Selecting a Quittance personal injury solicitor, you have complete peace of mind knowing that you will never be out of pocket.

What should you do next?

Find more answers online without needing to pick up the phone. Read our frequently asked questions here.

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You can get your personal injury claim underway by phoning 0800 612 7456 (0333 344 6575 from mobiles) or using Quittance's online contact form.

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If you have further questions or would like to discuss your options with an injury lawyer before making a decision, request a callback or phone on 0800 612 7456.