We offer free legal advice from expert female lawyers and no win no fee personal injury claims against hairdressers, covering treatments including straightening
. We also regularly take legal action against beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo studios on behalf of injured clients. Bartletts Solicitors was one of the first law firms to handle such claims, and our solicitors are proud to have successfully represented thousands of injured women in compensation claims against negligent hairdressers and similar establishments over the years.
The hairdressing industry and the estimated 41,000 hair salons in the UK are completely unregulated, meaning that hairdressers are not required by law to hold any specific qualifications. MPs (backed by the campaigning efforts of the Hair Council) have tried on a number of occasions to legislate for hairdressers to be regulated, but have so far failed. With only 10% of hairdressers registered, the voluntary register run by the Hair Council is ineffective, while the body itself has no legal power to take action against hairdressers.
Hair salon clients therefore continue to be put at risk of being injured by poorly trained, inexperienced or incompetent hairdressers, and will often have no option other than to take legal action in the event of a botched hairdressing treatment causing an injury and the associated consequences.
Consumer protection legislation (especially the Consumer Rights Act 2015) provides individuals with legal rights if they have been injured through no fault of their own during a visit to a hair salon. Where the negligence of the salon or its staff was to blame, the injured party would have grounds for taking legal action against the hair salon and its owners. Compensation settlements will normally be covered by the hair salon’s public liability insurance.
Human error and the dangerous chemicals contained in many hair products are the two main causes of hair and skin damage from hairdressing treatments. Often solutions containing strong and corrosive chemicals are applied for too long by hairdressers, potentially causing excessive dryness, breakage, hair loss and damage to skin on the scalp. Such solutions may also have been incorrectly prepared by a stylist, making them unsuitable for a client’s hair or skin type. In extreme cases, burn injuries caused by unsuitable or misapplied hair solutions can lead to long-term or permanent scarring and baldness.
Lack of attention or skill on the part of a hairdresser can result in scissor cuts or hot iron burns and potential scarring, while poor hygiene standards at hair salons increases the risk of instruments, equipment and surfaces transmitting fungal, viral or bacterial infections from person to person. Hairdressers must also follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) to prevent customers and staff from developing or worsening conditions like dermatitis and allergies including asthma.
Allergic reactions to hair product ingredients such as PPD (contained in many hair dyes) can cause very serious symptoms and will often require immediate hospitalisation. The possibility of an adverse reaction to chemicals and other ingredients contained in hair products is the reason why hairdressers should carry out skin patch and hair strand tests on clients 24-48 hours before a treatment is due to be performed. This will also determine the suitability of an individual’s hair and skin type for a particular treatment in terms of safely achieving the desired results.
The question of responsibility and legal liability for an injury sustained at the hairdresser will depend on the unique circumstances of the case in question and its consequences. While an error may have been unintentional on the part of the hair salon or stylist, clients are owed a duty of care entitling them to expect to receive reasonable care while visiting the hairdresser, and to have their hair attended to by a competent and skilled stylist. Where that duty is breached and the client is injured as a direct result, the hair salon can subsequently be held to have acted negligently and be obliged to pay compensation.
In many cases, hair salon clients are dissatisfied with the results of a hairdressing treatment, but dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome will not be sufficient grounds for taking a hairdresser to court. However, cuts, burns and blistering to the scalp, hair loss and baldness resulting from a hair treatment, as well as the psychological impact such injuries often entail, will normally be the responsibility of the hair salon and its owners.
The employment status of the stylist who carried out a botched hair treatment is also relevant to establishing legal liability for an injury. Stylists may be directly employed by a hair salon or self-employed subcontractors working at the salon. Either or both parties may have their own insurance policies, and the precise commercial agreement between them will determine which party will be liable to pay compensation in the event of a successful claim.
A successful compensation claim will normally involve a visit to a trichologist (a hair and scalp specialist) to assess the extent of the damage done, and this in turn will help with calculating the amount of compensation due to the injured claimant. Apart from physical pain and suffering, a person injured at the hairdresser is likely to experience a degree of mental trauma from being partially disfigured. This often leads to loss of self confidence, time off work and the cancellation of previously made plans such as special events and holidays. All these factors are taken into account when determining the size of a compensation award.