Being cut during a visit to the hairdresser is a deeply distressing experience, especially where scissors slice deep and cause copious bleeding. Leaving the hairdresser with a prominent plaster or a blood-stained shirt is unpleasant in any situation. Cutting a client is probably the worst nightmare of all hair stylists, whether trainees or long-established professionals. Most injuries of this kind can be dismissed as simple accidents, especially where the salon waives the cost of the haircut or offers a client vouchers for future services. In other cases a person may require hospital treatment and be left permanently scarred after being cut.
Each individual case of being cut at the hairdresser is different and involves its own unique problems and sensitivities. We have represented clients who have still been bleeding from wounds hours later, a scenario that is particularly worrying for parents when the injured person is a child. Others have been forced to seek emergency medical attention, and have been left with deep scars requiring skin graft surgery. Regular hospital treatment will involve the application of a gauze pad over the cut to stem the flow of blood. There is also always the risk of infections developing in open wounds such as cuts, and a person will often require a tetanus injection to guard against this.
The top of the ear and the ear lobe are the areas most regularly cut by inexperienced or inattentive hairdressers. Nicks to the ear can cause heavy bleeding, and can be difficult to cover with a plaster or dressing, especially where the scissors slip and cut between the ear and the side of the head. Other hairdressing treatments such as weaving can also cause cuts to the scalp if performed incorrectly. One the worst types of cut is when the scissors or razor slice into or through a mole. This is likely to cause protracted bleeding (moles have good blood supply), and the wound may need to be cauterised to stem the flow of blood. Otherwise the mole may need to be surgically removed in hospital.
Too often the enviornment at hairdressing salons in the UK does not encourage concentration or attention to detail on the part of stylists and staff. We have experience of cases where stylists have been either talking on the phone or watching the salon television while cutting hair. Obviously neither is appropriate behaviour when working with sharp scissors. Salon staff often chatter among themselves during treatments and distract each other. This is unacceptable at excessive levels when its is putting clients health and safety at risk. Otherwise a stylist may rush a haircut if there is a backlog of customers waiting. Essentially therefore lack of attention and working too fast are the two principle causes of cuts at the hairdresser.
Customers at hair salons should expect to be in the hands of competent, trained professionals, who will perform the services they offer to the standard that would be expected of a fellow professional in their field. Hair salons hold public liability insurance to protect them from compensation claims filed on behalf of injured clients. Damages may include an award for pain and suffering, as well the financial losses caused by an injury. Contact our specialist female solicitors today for free confidential advice if you have been cut during a hair salon treatment.
Case Study 1
Mr R had an appointment at a men’s barber shop for a cut throat (open/straight razor) shave. While the head barber was shaving Mr R, he appeared to be distracted by something that was happening at the counter, and his hand slipped, cutting our client to the depth of about an inch on the side of his neck. Mr R began to bleed immediately from the wound, and workers at the shop attempted to stem the flow of blood using basic first aid. An ambulance was called, and Mr R was taken to hospital, where he required four stitches to close the wound in his neck. Over the following months, he was forced to wear a scarf around his neck to hide the scar left by the laceration. He complained in person to the barber shop’s owner, but was offered nothing more than an apology and a free grooming treatment in recompense.
Mr R got in touch with Bartletts Solicitors, and we subsequently agreed to represent him, on a no win no fee basis, in a personal injury claim against the barber shop. We wrote to the owner, arguing that the head barber on the day in question had failed to use reasonable care and skill while shaving our client. Despite his considerable experience in carrying out cut throat shaves, the barber had obviously been distracted at the time, and this had caused his hand to slip and the razor to cut Mr R on the side of his neck. The barber himself admitted his responsibility for the accident, and was deeply upset by the whole matter. In these circumstances, it was relatively straightforward to gain an admission of liability from the barber shop’s insurance company, and our client later received a cheque for £2,750 in personal injury compensation.
Case Study 2
Ms J was waiting for her mother to finish a treatment at a hair salon, and asked one of the salon’s staff if she could use their toilet. On the way she tripped and fell over an electric cable that was being used to power a temporary dehumidifier in the salon. Ms J sprained her wrist attempting to break her fall, and damaged the rotator cuff muscles in her shoulder. Her wrist swelled up quickly, and doctors at the local hospital’s A&E applied a plaster cast to stabilise the joint. She was forced to take 2 weeks off work, and was still experiencing weakness in her wrist and shoulder 6 weeks later, which affected both her work, and her ability to perform day-to-day functions.
Ms J contacted Bartletts Solicitors for legal advice, and instructed us to make a claim for compensation against the salon on her behalf. We wrote to the hair salon, pointing out that it was their responsibility to ensure that the salon was safe for visitors. Leaving the electric cable trailing in the direct path to the toilet had directly causing Ms J to trip and injure herself. Under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 they had failed to take reasonable measures to protect their visitors, and this amounted to negligence. The salon’s insurers admitted liability for the accident almost immediately, and Ms J received £2,700 in compensation for her injuries, and an additional sum for loss of earnings from the time she took off work.