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Lasers, Lashes & Light Therapy

The Risk Of Getting More Than What You Bargained For

Published on November 26, 2013| By Mark NeJame; Vanessa Louise Braeley contributed to this article.

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar institution that continues to grow exponentially thanks to technology and insatiable need to stay looking young. The luxurious services that are now available appear to be something out of The Jetsons… laser lights, mink fur eyelashes, miracle creams. While some these treatments may sound familiar and have been around for years, most continue to evolve and change as technological advances are made. But what about the technicians? Is the knowledge of their practice evolving at the same rate?

The state of Florida requires that cosmetologists be licensed by The Board of Cosmetology and are governed by Chapter 477 of the Florida Statutes, as well as Chapter 61 of the Administrative Code. Strict adherence to the law is often a goal, but not a certainty. Client satisfaction drives the salon’s “need to please,” and corners are often cut to achieve the client’s desired results.

Luxuries such as eyelash extensions and laser therapies are more popular now than ever. Technicians in these industries must be sure to assess the client and their current condition before proceeding with the treatment. If a technician is not educated on industry advances – including possible adverse affects of current procedures – the client is being placed at risk for permanent damage. The technician may then be found liable for negligence, or more, if damage occurs and a lawsuit is filed. More often than not, these cases are settled by insurance companies, who are fully aware of the cost of litigation and the effect the stigma of permanent damage has on a jury – basic logic follows that it may be cheaper for the company to settle out of court.

While these procedures seem benign, damage such as blindness, skin discoloration and severe burns can occur. So do your homework, ladies and gentlemen, because peace of mind is priceless:

  1. Check to see if your technician is licensed. Visit www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/ and click on “Verify a License.” This will allow you to search for your technician’s name, standing and license class. You may also make a claim on this website.
  2. Go to a few initial consultations before choosing your technician. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your cosmetologist.
  3. Ask if your technician carries insurance. They should. In the event that damage does occur, chances are the insurance company is the only party that will be able to adequately and financially address the claim.
  4. ALWAYS follow the after-care instructions, no matter how simple or irrelevant they may be. This may result in your contributing to the damage that occurs, if damage does occur, and could potentially limit or foreclose on your ability to recover.
  5. If damage does occur, call an attorney that specializes in personal injury. Statements you make and actions you take may be used against you in court, so what you say and do has an effect on your case. An attorney can help guide you through the process of what steps to take (and avoid) when it comes to processing your claim.
  6. Keep in mind these services are regulated by the Florida Board of Business and Professional Regulation, NOT any medical boards. If you are receiving a service such as BOTOX®, JUVÉDERM® and other dermal fillers, you will need to check licensure with the Florida Board of Medicine. The website for license verification is here: www.flboardofmedicine.gov

So before you hit the salon, go online and do some good old-fashioned research. Call some friends. Get recommendations and read reviews. Chances are you’ll be glad you did.

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