Many are willing to pay a high price for beauty. But a finger? That’s too high.

Maria Luisa Gerardo visited TJ Nails in Phoenix, AZ to get her nails done, which she has done regularly for the past decade. But at her last appointment, the technician nicked her finger with a manicure tool. Though this can occasionally happen, this time her finger swelled immensely the next day.

Gerardo went back to the nail salon to inform them, and was given $100 and told to keep the wound clean. But as things got worse, she found herself at the doctor’s office, and then the surgeon’s office, as the wound continued to grow deeper, all the way down to the bone. The wound was infected, and might possibly lead to amputation.

Bacterial Infections Gone Awry

How can a simple pleasure go so wrong? Unfortunately, approximately 75% of U.S. salons do not disinfect their manicuring tools correctly. When unsterilized tools are involved in microtraumas to the skin, infection can set in. Hepatitis B, MRSA, Staph, and other life-threatening bacterial infections can enter the body. These can lead to potential amputations, as in Gerardo’s case. Or even death, as in the case of one California girl who died of on an infection associated with bacteria she may have picked up during a pedicure in 2004.

In Virginia, the plaintiff in a negligence case against a salon was awarded just over $1 million in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages after suffering a bacterial infection from an unsanitary foot-soaking pedicure basin. There, three weeks after getting the pedicure, she developed a cutaneous mycobacterial infection that left scars on her legs. In one of the largest verdict of its kind, Kristina Preston was awarded $3.1 million in a manicure incident in which the plaintiff contracted herpes and bacterial infections on all ten fingers through non-sterile equipment.

You Take Your Victim as You Find Him

And if you are diabetic, your odds of infection are worse. In a classic eggshell plaintiff case in California, a woman infected during a pedicure had to have her pinky toe amputated. An infection set in after a technician cut in between her fourth and fifth toe. She warned the technician that as a diabetic, she had to be more careful of infection in her toes, but that didn’t stop the cut, nor the infection, nor the amputation. That suit is still ongoing.

If you or someone you care for has suffered an infection from a salon visit, contact a personal injury attorney to see if you have a claim and can recover losses.

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