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Laser hair removal burn compensation

If you have undergone a laser hair removal treatment at a salon or clinic which resulted in an undesirable outcome or experienced adverse effects such as burns or blistering, then you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a common cosmetic skin treatment to reduce or remove hair on the face and body. Laser hair removal can be carried out on the face, bikini line, underarms, arm, back, legs and chest.

Hair removal is achieved by directing laser light onto the desired area to be treated, this generates heat, which is then absorbed into the hair follicles. The hair follicles to weaken and break, which can visibly reduce their appearance and, in some cases, eliminate their growth altogether.

The energy of laser light to be used in the treatment is measured in Jules, which needs to be adapted to each individual person based on their hair and skin colour/type, which is assessed by a patch test and the standard manufacturer settings of the laser machine.

This level of energy may be adjusted on a session-by-session basis by the technician undertaking the treatment if there is pain and discomfort.

What should you expect from the technician?

Any clinics or salons performing laser hair removal have a ‘duty of care’ to its patients/clients which means they must take all reasonable steps to minimise any risks associated with this treatment.
The technician at the clinic ought to hold a consultation; the technician gathers any relevant medical history and appropriately advises of the procedure and possible risks. A patch test should be done before any procedure is set to start.

The technician should hold appropriate qualification to use the laser machinery.

You should be fully informed of the expected outcomes and potential risks of the treatment.

The patch test should be carried out, near to or on the area that is to be treated. The area then needs to be monitored and assessed.

The technician should not go ahead with the treatment if there have been any lasting side effects following the patch test.

The technician should also explain the pre and aftercare process. It is common practice for you to be provided with documentation seeking your consent to proceed with the treatment as well as the explaining the potential risks. You should be invited to read and sign the agreement/consent forms to proceed with the treatment.

How can laser hair removal go wrong?

Unfortunately, laser hair removal devices and the use of these devices were deregulated on the 1st October 2010 although there is a minimum criteria that the technician should have a minimum of an NVQ level 3 or equivalent.

This means that inexperienced or poorly trained technicians may carry out this treatment which can lead to the treatment not being correctly provided.

There are short courses and day courses available to train technicians on the use of certain laser devices; it is debated whether this is sufficient training for an inexperienced technician to become qualified to use a laser device.

At GSR Solicitors we have seen clients suffer burns to various parts of their face and body leading to permanent scarring. The injuries are believed to be caused by the technician not correctly using the machinery such as the energy settings being applied to high or due to pulse stacking- this is when the laser light goes over the same area more than once, which can cause injury.

There are many other possibilities such as faulty machinery, unclean machinery, failure to use cooling gel and lack of expertise and training from the technician to provide suitable care.

Side effects of laser hair removal

Below are side effects of laser hair removal, which can occur due to a number of reasons, including negligent use of laser devices:

• Lasting erythema (redness)
• Excessive pain
• Swelling and soreness
• Itching
• Burns
• Bruising
• Itching
• Blistering
• Scarring
• Discoloured pigmentation

What do you need to do if you have suffered a laser hair removal injury?

The aftercare that has been advised by the technician should be carefully followed to minimise any injuries worsening. These are some of the main points you should have been told about:

• Avoid exposing the treated area to sunlight and sunbeds after the treatment to avoid the darkening of the area. Instant/self-tan is also not advised.
• Do not use spas, saunas and steam rooms and other such treatments involving heat. Also avoid swimming facilities which contain chlorine.
• Avoid scratching or itching the area if any blisters have formed as this can cause permanent scarring.

If you experience excessive or prolonged (more than 24 hours) redness in the area or any of the above side effects, you need to report it to the salon or clinic as soon as possible. If you feel that the side effects are so severe that you need to seek medical attention for them, then do this without hesitation.

What can be done to put it right?

While we appreciate that some individuals are left with varying degrees of scarring across their face and body, there are products available to help hide these and regain your confidence, which can be recommended by a specialist medical expert or aesthetic practitioner.

If someone has suffered facial laser burns and suffered with low confidence as a result of the residual scarring then you could seek assistance from a makeup expert who can recommend products to conceal the scarring.

The experts we use have been especially selected for their expertise and experience in the field to be able to match products and teach you techniques on how to apply them to make the scars a lot less noticeable.

Estimated achievable compensation for your claim

This is our most common question and the answer is it is difficult to accurately determine the value of your case at the outset due the many factors such as:

• the nature of the underlying injury and severity of pain;
• the nature and extent of treatment;
• the nature and extent of the residual scarring or disfigurement;
• the age of the claimant;
• the subjective impact of the disfigurement upon the claimant including the extent to which they valued their appearance;
• the extent to which the injury adversely affects the claimant’s social, domestic and work lives;
• the psychological impact upon the claimant, which in severe cases may be very substantial.

The settlement award differs from case to case but once we have your concluded medical report we could look at similar cases and court guidelines to determine a reasonable settlement award.

You could seek to recover compensation for the pain, suffering and a loss of amenity (PSLA), past losses and future losses. The award for compensation is determine on a case by case basis so for example if an individual suffered facial laser burns, which resulted in scarring, we understand is possible that this could have affected the individual psychologically. The individual would be entitled to seek compensation for the physical and psychological injury.

The guidelines for very severe scarring ranges from £27,940 to £91,350 and less severe scarring ranges from £16,860 to £45,440.

If the individual claiming was a model and lost earning as a result of the injuries then she would be entitled to loss of earnings.

Other losses could include:

  1. Cost of creams and medication;
  2. Costs for cognitive behaviour therapy;
  3. Costs for make up to conceal scarring;
  4. Future losses;
  5. Travel costs.

No win no fee claims

We do realise that a lot of people can get deterred from making a claim for laser hair removal burns due to the costs associated with it. Should you have a claim with reasonable prospects of success and are able to evidence it, we could take on your case on a no win no fee basis.

This means that if you are not successful in your claim, you will not be billed for our time. If we are successful then we would look to deduct up to 25% of your compensation towards your costs.

We would provide you a welcome pack which details our full terms of business.

5 tips to increase your chances of winning your compensation claim

1. Document/journal your version of events as soon as practically possible

After an incident the circumstances are fresh in your mind. You should be able to recollect what pre-information was provided, what was advised to you, who advised you, what was the level of pain, how did you pay and even what time you left the clinic/salon.

As weeks and months pass you may not be able to recollect everything in detail. If you wish to pursue a claim for losses it is good practice to document the circumstances or notify your representative in detail of the incident circumstances.

An individual who presents and recollects information clearly, consistency and in detail would reflect more credible than someone who just cannot remember the circumstances.

2. Take good quality photographs of the physically injuries

It may be an idea to initially take daily pictures of any burns and then how they progress on a weekly then monthly basis. It would assist if the photographs are dated and these could be used as evidence and provided to a medical expert who can consider and give his opinion on your case. Without any photographs it could weaken your case as the other side could put you to proof about the extent of the injury and how it progressed.

3. Seek medical assistance if required

If you are suffering with ongoing symptoms you have a duty to mitigate your loss, in other words make attempts to recover sooner. You should speak with your doctor about your injury and see whether there is anything they can do or refer you to a specialist to recover sooner.

4. Document your losses

We could assist you with this but the general rule is that if the other side accept liability then they should look to compensate you with the losses you would not occurred had it not been due to the accident. So if you have incurred prescription charges then keep the receipt, if you had to make trips to and from medical appointments due to the incident then either keep the receipts for the travel charges or make a note of the journeys and we can calculate to recover mileage costs, for loss of earnings retain wage slips; and any other losses retained documentation of the losses.

The other side would be reluctant to discharge losses if it is not evidenced

5. Instruct an expert lawyer

These type of cases are far from straight forward. The issues involve considering whether a breach of duty has occurred and what losses have arisen from the incident.

An experienced lawyer should be able to understand the issues and advise you accordingly.

When deciding which firm to use you may wish to check the company’s reviews and also if they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

There are many claims management companies which market for injury claims on behalf of law firms. If you are initially dealing with the claims management company you should find out whether they are passing your details for a fee and which solicitors they work with. You have the right to instruct a lawyer of your own choice so do not feel pressured to sign up for any law firm you do not feel is a good fit.

You may wish to interview the lawyer. You can ask questions such as who would be dealing with my claim? What experience do they have? Have they dealt with cases similar to yours?

At some larger firms they have teams of staff so initially your claim may be handled by a paralegal or a team of paralegals who are under supervision, the team may be the referred to something like the pre-litigation team or portal team. You should consider whether you would rather have an experienced member of staff dealing with you case from the outset.

How we can help

We understand what clients go for laser treatment to avoid unwanted hair and ultimately feel good about their appearance. When things go wrong it could have long lasting effects both physically and mentally.

Here at GSR Solicitors, we specialise in laser hair removal burn claims and have previously recovered tens of thousands in compensation for our clients. Our dedicated team are always committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you, and on top of the compensation.

For a free initial advice on how we can assist you please contact us on 01772 466255 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you.

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