“A woman walks into a nail salon” might sound like the beginning of a joke. But when that same woman walks out with an infection that seriously disfigures her hand, you realize the punchline is missing. That woman, who we’ll call “Jane,” couldn’t believe that a simple manicure from a business she frequented could put her health at risk. But after several painful corrective procedures, Jane’s shock turned to anger.
The damage was more than an infected cuticle—it was horrific. Jane’s injuries demanded compensation, and KL Injury Attorneys made sure she’d receive it.
Facing the Dirty Truth
The nail salon industry has a dirty secret. According to a U.S. News article, about 75 percent of salons in the U.S. don’t follow their state’s protocol for disinfection. As a result, studies show that it’s a common occurrence for clients to develop infections from nail salon visits. When salons don’t correctly sanitize equipment between each appointment, the results can be severe. Skin and toenail infections are bad enough, but dangerous bacteria can lead to permanent damage and, in extreme cases, death.
Jane learned the hard way that buyers must always beware. She never gave her nail salon’s sanitization procedures a second thought until a routine manicure turned into a nightmare. While trimming her cuticle, the nail tech slipped and cut into it. When Jane’s cuticle started bleeding, the nail technician applied a solution to disinfect the wound. Instead of helping, the mystery disinfectant caused an instant and painful burning sensation. After a few minutes, the burning subsided, and Jane thought the worst was behind her.
Unfortunately, Jane couldn’t have been more wrong. Within a few days, she developed an intense infection in the wounded finger. The condition escalated quickly and became so severe that Jane had to visit a clinic. While there, the doctor began drilling into her fingernail to relieve the building pressure; that was step one. Step two required two separate procedures to cut into the nail and drain the fluid. Step three required ten weeks of antibiotics to wipe out the infection.
Ten weeks of recovery significantly disrupted Jane’s day-to-day life. You see, Jane’s grandchildren are competitive swimmers, and she frequently went to the pool to spend quality time with them. But because she needed to keep her hand completely dry to avoid further complications, Jane missed countless pool visits and time with her family.
Additionally, the permanent nerve damage left Jane with persistent numbness and tingling. On top of everything, she could no longer wear jewelry on the affected finger, including the wedding ring that she had not removed for a single day of her 50-year marriage.
A Law firm Willing to Fight
Occasionally, nail salon lawsuits occur, like the Virginia woman who sued a nail salon for $1 million following a nasty infection. But these cases are rare. Most nail salons carry general liability insurance policies with strict fungi and bacterial exemptions designed to prevent these types of lawsuits. That’s why many lawyers hesitate to take them on.
Fortunately, Jane contacted us at KL. When she said the case involved a failed manicure, we had concerns at first. But we always listen to the whole story to properly guide and advise our clients, so we asked to see photos of the infection. That’s when we knew this was a serious claim. The pictures proved Jane’s injuries were severe and worthy of a settlement.
Despite the challenges of proving claims that deal with disinfection and overcoming the hurdles of general liability insurance, we went to bat for Jane.
Creating a Winning Strategy
Aware of the bacterial exclusions in the salon’s general liability policy, we had to articulate the case in a way that would circumvent the insurance company’s loophole and force their coverage to apply to our client’s injury. Our strategy was to prove there was negligence on two fronts: failure to sanitize the equipment along with the act of cutting the cuticle.
The nail salon’s insurance adjuster claimed the salon sanitized its equipment every time between appointments. But this statement couldn’t hold up for two reasons:
- The salon could show nothing to substantiate the claim. So, we did our homework and asked other nail salons about their policies. For instance, we found that all the equipment at a competing salon came prepackaged and pre-sterilized, so they could easily show each client a fresh set of equipment. However, the salon in question could not provide such proof because they were reusing instruments throughout the day.
- We had personal experience with this business and could bring several eyewitnesses forward who saw salon employees fail to sanitize equipment, such as Dremel tools, between appointments.
In addition to the sanitization factor, we focused on the nail technician’s negligence. First, the manicurist cut the cuticle. Then the technician acted as a doctor and applied an unknown substance to an open wound, making the injury substantially worse. Even the bacterial exclusions in the nail salon’s insurance policy couldn’t prevent the company from taking responsibility for such carelessness.
Making a Dirty Company Come Clean
Despite the exemptions in its general liability policy, the nail salon settled with Jane for $150,000.
Jane could have easily given up and assumed no one would be interested in handling a claim around a manicure gone wrong. Fortunately, because she had worked with KL Injury Attorneys in the past, Jane understood that we are thorough, compassionate, and straightforward. We never make grand promises of settlements we can’t reasonably deliver. We also never fall for insurance policy traps.
If you have been injured and need to hold a business accountable for negligence, KL Injury Attorneys is up for the challenge. Contact KL today for free advice on your situation, and we’ll advise you on the best way to move forward.