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Can a Nail Salon Be Held Liable for Toenail Infection?

Infected toenail

With businesses opening up after being closed for almost a year during the covid-19 pandemic, nail salon businesses are at an all-time high. Getting nails done is a very common trend for both females and males in Los Angeles. In the year 2020, 20 million Americans got a manicure 4 or more times within the 2020 year. Starting March 2020, the entire country was on lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic. That number would have been way higher had the pandemic not happened. There are now several options to choose from at the nail salon, from a regular manicure to a gel manicure to acrylics.

But what happens if the manicurist cut your nail bud too far? What happens if you start bleeding? What would happen if you caught an infection? Would the nail salon be held liable for a nail infection?

Nail Salon’s Duty

Nail salons, much like everyone else, has a duty of reasonable care to act in a cautious manner and prevent their customers from getting any infections or diseases. If they breach this duty, then they could be held liable for negligence and for their customers damages for treating the infection. If getting a toenail infection was a foreseeable harm, then the nail salon could be held liable and that they breached their duty in preventing the infection. Nail salons must always sterilize their tools to prevent any future infections. If a nail salon engages in such poor practices, then they could be held liable for negligence.

It is very important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue your claims for you. Even if you got an infection after getting your nails done in the nail salon, you will still need a very strong case to be able to file a lawsuit against the nail salon. An experienced attorney will help gather evidence to build your claim to be able to bring such a case. As a plaintiff, different elements need to be met and proven. Below are the different elements described. For more details, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today to see how your case needs these elements.

  • Duty: plaintiff needs to show that the nail salon had a duty to its customers to prevent any future diseases or infections. The duty must include a reasonable standard of care. The reasonable standard of care should be that other nail salons are following sterilization practices. If defendant nail salon did follow the sterilization practices, then the infection would not have happened.
  • Breach: plaintiff must show that the nail salon breached their duty when they failed to follow sterilization practices and engaged in poor hygiene. For example, plaintiff could show that the water was reused from customer to customer or that the tools were not properly sterilized after every use. This requires an experienced attorney to gather evidence and determine how the nail salons practices are.
  • Causation: plaintiff needs to prove that the toenail infection was caused by defendant’s practices. Defendant’s negligence caused plaintiff the toenail infection. This is the hardest element to prove because the nail salon may argue back and say that the toenail infection was caused by plaintiff’s practices rather than defendant. For example, defendant may argue that plaintiff instead has poor hygiene at home and caused the infection themself. The salon needs to be both the actual and the proximate cause of the cut and the toenail infection that follows.
  • Damages: plaintiff will have to show that the incurred damages as a result of defendant’s breached. Damages could include medical costs of treating the infection.

What Types of Damages Could I Recover from a Toenail Infection Case?

There are different types of damages a plaintiff could recover against a nail salon. Examples of the different type of damages include:

  • Compensation for medical bills spent on treating the infection or disease
  • Lost wages where plaintiff was unable to work during the time of the infection
  • Pain and suffering while trying to recover from the infection or disease

What Defenses Could the Nail Salon Assert?

The nail salon could also have a multitude of defenses to assert as a defendant. The nail salon would be able to allege that the plaintiff was negligent. For example, the plaintiff afterwards engaged in an activity that irritated the cut and instead caused the infection. The plaintiff’s contribution towards their negligence depends on the type of state you are located in. For example, California has the comparative fault statutes where plaintiff will be able to collect a smaller portion depending on how negligent they were.

For example, if the customer’s injuries were $10,000 in trying to remedy their toenail infection, and plaintiff was found to be 30% liable for her injuries, then plaintiff will only be able to collect $7,000. The $10,000 was decreased based on plaintiff’s liability.

Defendants could also raise the assumption of risk defense where they allege that plaintiff assumed the risk when they arrived at the nail salon and asked to get their toenails cut. Defendant nail salon would allege that plaintiff knew of the risks of getting your toenails cut yet decided to go through with that service anyway. This may not be that successful since getting an infection may be beyond the risk assumed.

Another defense that the defendant could bring up is that the customer failed to bring the claim within the statute of limitations. Statute of limitations is a legal theory that states that claim should be brought within a standard period of time. If the claim is brought after that time period has ran, then the claim will most likely be dismissed. California has a statute of limitations of one to three years for personal injuries depending on the type of injury and circumstance. Check out our statute of limitations page for more information.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Want to Sue a Nail Salon?

If you currently have sustained injuries such as an infection after going to a nail salon, it is important to hire an attorney to pursue your claims for you. The attorney should be knowledgeable in California laws regarding nail salons and personal injury to better pursue your claims for you. The lawyer will be able to look into your case and gather as much evidence as possible to prepare the documents and file the claim for you. If you are not represented, the nail salon may try to negotiate with you and give a lower offer than they would have had you been represented by an attorney. If the claim for damages is very small, then you may go to small claims court. However, treating an infection may result in thousands of dollars and may not end up even being a small claim.

If you or a loved one has contracted a toenail infection at a nail salon, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today to pursue claims and seek compensation for your damages. We offer a free no-risk consultation where we can determine the validity of your claim and assess the damages and what you could possibly receive for your injuries. We have offices located in major cities in California and Nevada. Contact us today!

Sam Heidari

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