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What You Should Know About Suing A Tattoo Parlor For Damages

Law Articles

According to recent research, 3 out of every 10 Americans have tattoos. Although tattoos are generally safe to get, things don't always go right when you're sitting in the chair. Depending on the issue you have with the tattoo artist and/or the parlor, there are two ways you can pursue compensation for damages and losses if you're injured because things didn't turn out right. Here's what you need to know.

As a Breach of Contract

It's not unusual for tattoos to look different on the skin than they appear on paper. Unlike most types of paper, human skin is uneven in tone and texture, so the results are bound to look different than how you imagined it. Most tattoo artists are skilled enough to overcome this issue to get the design as close as possible to what you want. If the tattooist completely botched it, however, you would have to treat the case like a contract breach to get compensated for the problem.

Although you may not actually have a written contract for services with the tattoo artist, there is an implied contract when they agree to provide you with the tattoo. The artist is agreeing to do their best work and, in exchange, you will pay for the service. If the person does an absolutely terrible job on the tattoo, you can claim they failed to live up to the agreement and sue on that basis.

The biggest challenge you will have with this type of lawsuit is proving the artist did not perform as expected and that the matter isn't an issue of you simply not liking the tattoo. You'll likely need to gather a sample of the person's other work to show the difference in quality. It may even be necessary to locate an expert witness with tattooing experience who can clearly explain to the court what went wrong.

Be aware, though, that even if you prove your case, you may not win more than a refund or the cost to remove the ink. If the tattoo is in a visible part of your body (neck, face) you may ask for money for pain and suffering for having to deal with the embarrassment. Whether you'll get it, though, depends on the court.

As a Personal Injury Case

Because tattoo needles pierce the skin to deposit the ink, they must adhere to strict health regulations, as there is a risk of spreading blood borne pathogens and causing infections. The exact regulations may vary a little between states but, in general, the shop must maintain a minimum level of cleanliness, dispose of infectious waste in an appropriate manner, and must either sterilize needles between uses or use a brand new needle for each client.

If the shop or artist fails to adhere to health and safety rules and you sustain an infection or get a disease as a result, you can sue for negligence to recover your damages and losses.

The challenge with this type of case is proving the tattoo parlor is the most likely source of the infection or disease and that you couldn't have contracted it in any other way. For instance, one woman sued Harlem tattoo parlor Black Ink because she claims the tattooist used a dirty needle on her arm, causing an infection. However, the company claims she developed an infection because she didn't take care of the tattoo properly.

There are things you can do to boost your case, such as find other clients who also developed infections after receiving tattoos at the parlor and contacting the public health department in your area to see if the company had any health code violations. If you win this lawsuit, you'll likely be awarded money for medical bills, pain and suffering, and any scarring you suffer because of the injury.

For more information about suing a tattoo parlor for a botched procedure, contact a personal injury attorney, such as those found at Bennett & Sharp PLLC.


7 June 2017