When most people hear the word “malpractice” they think of doctors who make a mistake in diagnosing or treating a person’s problem, and the attendant lawsuits that typically follow. However, those in the beauty and wellness fields can similarly be hit with lawsuits as a result of mistakes they make in treating people. For this reason, it is critical that workers in these two industries, whether they run their own companies or work for someone else’s, have the right kind of insurance coverage. Otherwise, they could face costly lawsuits that can be financially ruinous, even after making perfectly innocent mistakes.
There are stories in the U.S., Canada, and around the world, of people being in some way injured or made ill by wellness treatments gone wrong. For instance, a woman in California went for a pedicure earlier this year but an accident during the process led to an injury that resulted in infection, according to a report from CBS News. In the end, her pinky toe had to be amputated. In a separate incident in New York City a few years ago, a woman went to a salon to get her legs waxed, and it was so hot that she was hospitalized for burns and suffered permanent scarring, according to Lawyers.com. Both cases obviously led to malpractice suits.
What does this mean?
Certainly the workers involved in these cases did not intend to cause injury to their clients, but the end result is the same, and in both cases quite severe. However, these are often issues of licensure and training which may not be addressed at all salons or other facilities uniformly, the Lawyers.com report said. Some workers may have training that others do not, and that training can make all the difference in doing each job safely and without incident.
Personal injury attorney Hernando V. Pineres told the site that there are ways in which consumers can quickly and easily look up whether a facility or even individual worker is licensed to do the job, the report said. Those issues can lead to real difficulties for consumers who have not done their research, and some generally see this as the risk of getting certain beauty or wellness treatments to begin with. Many companies even require consumers to fill out waivers related to liability.
“If you go to a tanning salon and get skin cancer, that’s kind of like going skiing and breaking your leg [in that way],” Jason Kessler, another personal injury attorney, told the site. “You’d be surprised at how many people don’t get [insurance]. It’s not a very closely regulated industry.”
What’s the takeaway?
Certainly, people can sign all the waivers put in front of them, but in the end if an accident happens, there is at least some likelihood of a lawsuit. As a result, anyone working in this industry would do well to make sure they have the right kinds insurance coverage.
“Anytime someone is introducing a foreign element to the body there is a chance for an adverse reaction, which can cause injury, illness, or in some severe cases, death,” states Kent Pitkin National Director Commercial Lines at APRIL Canada. “Equally, chemical products can adversely react with the skin and new or unsterilized utensils can cause issues. Such an incident will not only hurt the reputation of any business, but could put it out of business if they do not have insurance to cover these risks. There is added exposure from having people enter your home for beauty and health treatments, not only from activities but also the slip and falls on the premises. Any such operations must be disclosed to home insurers or there’s risk of the policy being voided in the event of a loss.”