Claiming for Negligence and Breach of Contract with Beauty Treatments
Having beauty treatment is meant to improve your self-esteem and enhance your features. However, if performed improperly, it can have just the opposite effect.
In recent years, the cosmetic treatment and beauty industry has boomed, owing to a surge in demand for treatments which include Botox, dermal fillers, eyebrow microblading and lip fillers.
According to the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service (IHAS), about 200,000 anti-wrinkle injections (including Botox and dermal fillers) are carried out in the UK each year. Most cosmetic procedures are carried out privately, rather than on the NHS. An alarming number of these treatments are unregulated. Worryingly, a beauty therapist applying potentially toxic substances to your face may not hold any qualifications to administer the relevant treatment. There is no government regulation, no accountability, and no supervisory body to oversee such beauty practices. The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is calling for stricter controls over cosmetic procedures with only trained doctors, nurses and dentists being able to provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox. Currently anyone, such as beauticians with no medical training, can administer these semi-invasive treatments.
Botox injections, if not carried out by a highly trained and suitably qualified practitioner, can result in the following:
- Droopy eyelid or asymmetrical eyebrows;
- Crooked smile or drooling;
- Muscle weakness all over the body;
- Vision problems;
- Trouble speaking or swallowing;
- Trouble breathing; and
- Loss of bladder control.
Incorrectly administered dermal fillers can go disastrously wrong, with outcomes consisting of:
This can be caused by poor aftercare or even poor hygiene practices by the person administering the injections.
2) Allergic reactions.
If your practitioner has not adequately patch tested your skin prior to treatment, then there is a risk you will not know if you will suffer an allergic reaction to the substance that is being injected into your skin. The types of severity of allergic reactions can vary widely.
3) Inflammatory nodule formation.
This is a usually a form of late allergic reaction, where the filler provokes a reaction from the surrounding skin tissue that results in the formation of lumps in the skin after the treatment has been completed.
4) Lumps in your skin.
This can be due to the filler being injected too superficially, or a deep filler like calcium hydroxylapatite being used in a place where it shouldn't be used, such as in the lips. The fillers can also pull in quite a lot of water which can result in swelling.
5) Vascular problems.
If the filler is inadvertently injected into an artery, it can become blocked, resulting in the area of the skin which is supplied with blood and oxygen by that artery, dying. Your skin will quickly become white, painful and later on it may break down.
Eyebrow Treatments such as Microblading
One of the growing areas for beauty treatments is microblading, also known as eyebrow feathering. The tip of the tool used is not a blade, it is a combination of needles all joined together. The tool makes microscopic [or tiny] slits in the eyebrows to give the optical illusion of hairs that mimic eyebrow hair. The slit is then filled with ink, similar to a tattoo. The results can last up to 3 years.
In inexperienced hands the results can be devastating to an individual’s face. Recently, our firm has successfully won a case at trial on behalf of a client who underwent eyebrow microblading. She had wanted a natural brown pigment to her eyebrows to complement her features; what she got, however, were thick blue lines across her eyebrows, as if drawn on by marker pen.
The images below are of that client's eyebrows (left to right) before the treatment, after the treatment, and after her first session of laser treatment in order to remove the tattoo ink. She is continuing to undergo laser treatment to remove the tattoo effect.
Due to the extent of the embedded ink, the only option to try and remove the thick, heavy lines was via laser therapy. There are also risks with laser removal, which includes permanent hair loss. It is likely our client’s eyebrow hair will never re-grow. The effect such disastrous treatment can have on an individual is significant; not only the physical damage, but also the psychological effects, which can be long lasting and debilitating in their own way.
On what basis could a claim be brought?
Claims can be brought against unregulated beauty treatment providers on the following basis:
- In Negligence; such as failing to carry out a patch test and failing to warn of the risks involved in the treatment.
- In Breach of Contract; i.e. the end result is so different from what you had expected/paid for.
When someone like a beauty therapist provides a treatment, you are entering into a service contract with them- they provide a service for which you provide payment.
As part of the contract, you are entitled to expect the service you receive will be of a reasonable standard, and be performed with a reasonable level of skill and care. Where a service provider, such as a beauty therapist, falls below this level, the contract is breached. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 sets out the standard of service to be expected, and your rights if that standard is not met.
Frequently asked questions
What can I claim for?
There is no definitive list in relation to what you can claim for, however common losses can include the following:
- Physical effects such allergic reactions and disfigurement;
- Psychological effects - defective treatment may impact on the self-esteem of an individual, affecting their mental health and self-confidence;
- Costs of restorative treatment;
- Loss of earnings;
- Travel Expenses;
How long will a claim take?
Every claim is different and therefore it is very difficult to answer this question. Should the Defendant be willing to engage with us at an early stage, it is possible that your matter could be settled within 12 months. However, in our experience, it is likely to take much longer than that. In some instances we have had no alternative but to issue formal Court proceedings against a Defendant should they be reluctant to make a reasonable offer of settlement. Much will also depend on what, if any, corrective treatment is required and how long that treatment will take.
The beauty treatment provider is uninsured, what can I do?
Because a treatment provider is uninsured, does not necessarily mean it is the end of the road for your claim. We will take all necessary steps to investigate the solvency of the individual or their business, as it may be an option to either pursue them personally or the business which provided the treatment.
How much compensation will I get?
The amount of compensation you will receive will depend on your individual case.
When you take your claim forward we will calculate the value of your claim based on several different factors. As well as general damages for the pain and suffering the negligent treatment has caused, we will also consider other claims you may have, such as the impact the botched treatment has had on your quality of life, the effect on your earnings and the potential psychological impact the treatment has had on you.
Once your claim has been valued you will then need to prove your losses to the court in order to be successful. This is quantifiable in some cases, such as through financial documents and payslips. In other cases, you can show your medical treatment record to support your claims, such as those indicating the level of pain you were experiencing at the time. You may also need an expert report in the desired field to demonstrate that your beauty practitioner fell below the standard required for that particular treatment. We will help you with all of this.
Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
- Specialist team of professional negligence solicitors
- A wealth of knowledge and expertise
- Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
- Over 30 years’ experience in compensation claims
Talk to us today
Call us today on 0808 301 8622 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your unsatisfactory treatment. You may also be able to claim on a No Win No Fee basis which means that you won’t pay any legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.