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Laser Hair Removal Burn Injuries

Experienced Laser Hair Removal Burn Lawyers

The Laser Burn Lawyers at Zehl & Associates have years of experience successfully resolving cases on behalf of clients who sustained second and third degree burns as a result of laser hair removal and skin treatment at national medical spas, such as American Laser Center and Amerejuve. The defendants in these cases, some of the largest “medispas”, laser hair removal and cosmetic treatment facilities in the country, were willing to devote substantial resources to fighting the claims and concealing the dangers associated with laser hair removal treatment from the public. While this behavior may seem odd, it begins to make more sense once one realizes just how lucrative these medispas can be for the people that own them.

The personal injury trial lawyers at Zehl & Associates fought aggressively and invested the time, money and technology needed to establish negligence and obtain significant recoveries for their clients. In every one of the cases, the medical spas refused to even refund our clients the cost of the treatment. After demonstrating our extensive knowledge of the laser machines and that we were prepared to go to trial, every one of the defendants in the cases that we handled ended up paying between 30 and over 100 times the initial cost of the laser treatment to our clients in settlement.

Second and third degree burns are NOT normal! Don’t let the technician, or any other individual working on behalf of the facility that harmed you, tell you otherwise. Serious pain and discomfort during laser hair removal treatment is a red flag that something is dreadfully wrong and you need to make the technician stop before any more damage is done.

Be sure to document your burns from day one, preferably with a quality digital camera. Cell phone cameras, while continually improving, generally still lack the ability to clearly capture the details of a burn. Clarity is extremely important, a blurry set of pictures can do real damage to your claim. Do not give the medispa’s lawyer any help in minimizing the lasting effects of your injury.

Another vital step to take immediately after you are injured is to visit a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist to have the burns diagnosed as either first, second or third degree. The key to holding medispas accountable for your injuries is documentation.

Contact an Experienced Laser Skin Burn and Hair Removal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation:
If you or a loved one sustained second or third degree burns during laser treatment, contact the experienced laser hair removal burn lawyers at Zehl & Associates for a free consultation today by phone at our toll-free number or through email by clicking here.

The Increase in the Number of Med Spas results in an Increase in Injuries and Lawsuits

According to a recent article, laser hair removal treatments are leading to more and more lawsuits as the popularity of the procedure continues to explode. These treatments are usually performed in medical spas by unlicensed technicians. These technicians are usually supposed to be supervised by licensed doctors during the procedure in order to ensure the safety of the patient. Unfortunately, this is not happening. The International Spa Association, representing 3,200 spas around the world, states that medical spas are the fastest growing segment in the industry. From 2004 to 2009, the number of medical spas has quadrupled from 471 to 1,804.

The Popularity and Risks of Laser Hair Removal Treatment:

The popularity of laser hair removal has exploded in recent years. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2005 there were 1.3 million laser hair removal procedures performed in the United States compared to just 110,000 of the procedures in 1998. Over the past four years, the number of procedures has continued to climb. Industry analysts see no end to this current trend as the medical-spa (“medispa”) industry continues to pump large amounts of advertising dollars into the American market in order to convince the general public that laser hair removal procedures are not only safe and effective but practically risk-free.

In reality, laser hair removal is a very risky procedure. Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can and do cause serious burns, skin discoloration and even permanent scarring. These risks seem even worse in light of the fact that the FDA only recognizes laser hair removal as a temporary solution to unwanted hair growth, not permanent. Most patients require multiple treatments to achieve significant, although temporary, hair growth reduction. The inherent danger of laser hair removal is further compounded by the fact that these procedures are usually performed by a cosmetologist, licensed technician or some other non-physician.

The problem is not limited to the United States either. Read this recent article on the state of laser hair removal in Canada. As of yet, there are still no stipulations as to who can and who cannot operate a laser hair removal device for cosmetic purposes. As more and more people are getting burned with each passing day, the laser hair removal industry will no doubt come under increased scrutiny.

According to a 2007 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), 56% of the responding physicians indicated that there had been an increase in the number of patients treated as a result of complications caused by a non-physician. Many physicians also noted instances of burns caused by the improper use of lasers, scarring caused by chemical peels, hyperpigmentation caused by laser hair removal and many instances of skin cancer being overlooked due to the removal of malignant tissue that could have otherwise served as a warning sign.

Those with tattoos are even more susceptible to laser burns. Laser hair removal operates on the principle of color difference. Essentially, the difference between the color of the skin and the color of the hair causes the laser to heat up and destroy the hair follicle. When a laser is applied anywhere near a tattoo, the ink attracts the laser causing it to heat up and burn the tattoo. While anyone who undergoes laser hair removal treatments runs a serious risk of being burned, those with tattoos on or near the area to be treated are highly likely to experience adverse effects.

How Laser Hair Removal Treatment Works

Laser hair removal is accomplished by using a laser to heat the hair follicles underneath the surface of the skin in order to temporarily prevent re-growth. The most common types of machines used are Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) machines and Diodes. The main difference between the two is the wavelength of the laser utilized for treatment. Intense Pulsed Light machines use a shorter wavelength, which allows it to create heat more quickly. This quicker generation of heat also makes IPL’s more likely to cause second degree or third degree burns as well as other types of thermal injury to the skin.

Laser Hair Removal Technician’s Duties Prior to the Procedure

Prior to the laser hair removal procedure, all technicians administering laser hair removal treatments are required to perform a skin type classification based on the Fitzpatrick classification system in order to determine the proper laser setting to use. The Fitzpatrick skin classification system was created in 1975 in order to determine a person’s response to sun exposure in terms of the degree of burning and tanning. This test is performed because the darker a patient’s skin, the more likely that patient is to suffer an adverse reaction like second or third degree burns, hyperpigmentation, thermal injury or other painful and unwanted side effects. The reason for this is that the melanin, which makes skin darker, stores the heat that is emitted from the laser. This is why it’s imperative that technicians perform the skin test first and use less powerful laser settings for people with darker skin.

Who is Responsible for Your Laser Hair Removal Burns?

For those that have experienced the pain and humiliation of a laser hair removal treatment gone wrong, there is little consolation. However, when it comes time to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable, it is extremely important that you know from whom to seek redress. Liability may rest with the technician who performed the procedure, the technician’s employer, the physician or healthcare provider in charge of supervising the procedure, the spa’s medical director, the owner of the spa, the person or company responsible for training the technician to use the laser and the manufacturer or distributor of the device in cases where the machine was improperly sold or leased to a non-physician. Claims against all or some of these individuals may result from the insurer’s decision to deny coverage for bodily injury claims resulting from a technician’s performance of a medical procedure. General liability coverage typically does not include bodily injury claims resulting from specific cosmetic procedures.

Can you Recover Damages for Your Laser Hair Removal Burns?

In order to recover damages from those responsible for your injuries, it is necessary to assert specific causes of action against the Defendants. In dealing with a non-physician’s performance of a medical procedure resulting in bodily injury, the causes of action most likely to apply include negligence, assault and/or violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). Negligence would cover any negligent operation of the machine itself by the technician, negligent training or supervision of the technician in the machine’s operation or even a failure to perform the required skin test prior to treatment. Assault would cover any intentional or knowing touching that causes injury that the technician knew, or should have known, would be regarded as offensive by the recipient. Under the DTPA, a cause of action for a patient’s reliance on false or misleading advertising, resulting in injury, is created. This would allow recovery for any patient who relied upon false or misleading medical spa, or “medspa”, advertisements to their detriment, resulting in bodily injury.

I’ve Just Been Burned, What Should I Do?

In the aftermath of a laser hair removal burn injury, you will no doubt be left with a number of concerns. Most laser technicians will tell you everything is fine, just put some aloe vera on it and we will see you for your next treatment. Unfortunately, these technicians are fully aware that your burns will most likely be permanent and that aloe vera, while soothing, will do nothing to address the permanent disfigurement and hypo/hyper-pigmentation (lightening or darkening) caused by the laser burn. The goal is to keep you from contacting an attorney about your right to compensation for your injury. It is not uncommon for a medi-spa to keep a client coming into the clinic following a burn for years of follow-up “treatments”. Once your statute of limitations has run and you are no longer allowed to bring a lawsuit for your injuries (typically 2 years from the date of your injury) the clinic will tell you that there is nothing they can do and send you on your way.

It is extremely important to document your injuries as soon as they happen. Take photographs and keep any and all records from your treatments. Also, take regular follow-up pictures to show the permanency of the scarring. The more evidence you have to use against the medi-spa the better. As soon as you are able, sit down and write a personal statement detailing your entire experience before, during and after the treatment. Once you have gathered all of the information you can, contact a knowledgeable laser hair removal burn attorney immediately in order to begin the claims process.

Contact a Laser Hair Removal Burn Attorney Today:
If you or a loved one sustained second or third degree burns during laser treatment, contact the experienced laser skin burn lawyers at Zehl & Associates today, by phone at our toll-free number or email for a free, no commitment consultation.