Sue a Tattoo Artist

Can You Sue a Tattoo Artist For Bad Work? – Everything You Need To Know Before You File a Lawsuit

Regardless of whether you’re the tattoo artist or the client, we can all agree that both parties want the tattoo to turn out great. But, when it doesn’t, determining the responsible party is essential in finding the solution; or so we think.

There are cases or instances where it is simply inevitable to get legally involved in a ‘fight’ for your tattoo, but in most cases, people tend to avoid complicating an already complicated situation by looking for other tattoo artists to fix previous mistakes, or simply get rid of the tattoo as a whole.

Rumor has it that you don’t want to get on a tattoo artist’s bad side, or you might never get tattooed again not only in that particular shop, but in that particular area, town, or even state. But, this just seems to be a scare tactic people use to retain their reputation in the tattoo community. If you’ve truly had a terrible experience with an even worse outcome, someone needs to take responsibility.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about cases where legal involvement is inevitable and cases in which you could actually sue the tattoo artist. Let’s jump right in!

Suing The Tattoo Artist – Explained

Before We Start – Let’s Talk About Insurance

Before we tackle the cases in which a lawsuit is not only possible but also required, we need to understand those tattoo artists are already, preemptively protected against client lawsuits. You might wonder how? Well, every respectable tattoo artist and tattoo studio owner has insurance in case they get sued for their bad work.

This is called malpractice coverage for professional tattoo and piercing professionals. This means that, yes, you can sue both of them, but their insurance will cover the lawsuit expenses, legal fees, and settlements, and the chances that you get things right are small and rather difficult. After all, anyone can make a mistake, right?

But, nonetheless, this is just for their own protection and their own sake; if the case is strong, and you have had a truly terrible experience with an even worse outcome, no insurance or legal protection can mitigate the severity of the situation nor your right to sue and win the case. And, here’s when you can do exactly that!

Scenarios That Can Lead To a Lawsuit

Going over several scenarios that can lead to a lawsuit against a tattoo artist or body piercer can help you understand how this actually works and what you as a client can do. So, let’s get started!

  • Bad or Unsatisfactory Tattoo

One of the most common causes of a lawsuit against a tattoo artist is based on getting a bad or unsatisfactory tattoo. Because tattooing someone means providing a permanent change to their appearance, a client can sue a tattoo artist or a tattoo studio for an unsatisfactory tattoo.

Now, this fight can be a difficult one; sure, you can file a lawsuit, but the process of proving that you’re right and the tattoo artist is wrong will be expensive. You will also need proof and as much information as possible; pictures of your wanted design versus what you’ve got will be of utmost importance.

  • Injury During Tattoo Application

Because tattooing relies on using a tattoo gun and tattoo needles, which can both be extremely dangerous if, in the wrong hands, it isn’t really surprising to hear about people going through injuries during a tattooing process. So, if you’ve suffered an injury after visiting a tattoo studio, you can file a lawsuit against the tattoo artists responsible for the injury, as well as against the tattoo studio as a whole.

Bear in mind that in order to build a case you need to have pictures taken of your injury, including the details of where and when the injury happened/occurred. Make sure to provide your legal team with as much information as possible; pictures of the injury are a must, but also pictures of where the injury took place, details regarding witnesses, reports of medical treatment of the injury, etc. All of this will help you prove that you’re right and potentially help you win the case or at least a settlement.

  • Allergic Reaction To Ink/Pigment Or Other Substances Used

On rare occasions, some clients develop an allergic reaction after getting a tattoo. It is believed that one can actually be allergic to the ink/pigment used for tattooing, or other substances used to prep you for the tattoo at the beginning of the process. When this occurs, you as a client can file a lawsuit against the tattoo artist or the studio to recover compensation.

In this case, you will also need as much information about the situation as possible, including a picture of the allergic reaction, when and where it happened, records of medical treatment, etc. It is essential to have as much proof as possible. Bear in mind that it is impossible to get tested for ink allergy, but scientists are working on a patch test for negative tattoo reactions. Until then, you will have to rely on external proof and information.

  • Tattoo or Other Infections

Another rare occurrence is clients experiencing infection after getting a tattoo. Infections do develop, and in most cases, they do occur as a result of improperly sterilized equipment, artists failing to sterilize the area where the client is being tattooed, or artists failing to clean their hands properly before beginning tattooing.

In some serious cases, artists accidentally use equipment that was already used on a client who has some kind of infectious disease, spreading it to new clients who now suffer serious health consequences. These are some serious cases where a lawsuit is nothing but completely expected and justified.

However, bear in mind that tattoo infections can occur as a result of improper tattoo aftercare; some clients tend to neglect aftercare instructions provided by the tattoo artist. So, you have to be 100% certain the infection occurred as a result of the tattoo artist’s mistake and misconduct, otherwise you will not have a strong case.

  • Slip and Fall Cases

You may not think this could be a cause for a lawsuit, but clients slipping or falling in the tattoo studio, if the situation results in injury, can file a lawsuit against the tattoo studio. Tripping over a cord, for example, falling and spilling liquids, or injuring oneself with tattoo equipment in the process often result in some kind of injury. It is the tattoo studio’s staff’s responsibility to keep the area clear for visitors, mitigating the possibility of clients tripping, slipping, or falling. So, if this does happen to a client, they can definitely file a lawsuit.

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Everything You Need To Do When Filing a Lawsuit

Before you decide to file a lawsuit against a tattoo artist/studio, you need to do the following things;

  • Prove negligence – in order to file a lawsuit, you need to prove negligence or personal injury caused by a tattoo artist. You will have to prove that the artist and the studio have failed to meet the required operating standards and then prove their negligence by showing the results of their misconduct. To be more precise, you have to prove the injury you’ve sustained as a result of your visit to their tattoo shop, meaning, pictures of your allergic reaction, infection, bad/unsatisfactory tattoo, or injury caused by the tattoo equipment.
  • Consider contributory/comparative negligence – when filing a lawsuit, you need to bear in mind that it is not only enough to prove the other party is guilty. You also have to bear in mind your own potentially contributory negligence. This means that there might have been something you’ve done to contribute to an unsatisfactory tattoo, the development of infection, or even a situation of a slip and fall. The other side will try to use this against you, so make sure to go over the event and have it 100% clear that you haven’t contributed to this case in no way whatsoever.
  • Think of the signed contract – in some cases, a tattoo artist will ask you to sign a contract with them or the tattoo studio, which is an agreement that protects them from a lawsuit, should something go wrong. If you’ve signed such a contract there might be some difficulties when filing a lawsuit. You have to be able to prove negligence 100%, but even then you might be able to get only a small amount of money to cover the damages of a bad tattoo.

Final Thoughts

Filing a lawsuit against a tattoo artist is never an easy decision. However, if you’ve truly suffered great damages to your health, or your tattoo looks nothing like the original design idea, you have the full right to file a lawsuit and pursue your rights. Only make sure to consult with a legal representative who will guide you through this process and all the requirements needed to prove negligence and unsatisfactory work. You will need to be 100% ready to prove your side of things, so make sure to take loads of credible, valid pictures and gather all the necessary information. We wish you good luck!

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