You may be injured at a day spa, hair salon, barber shop or destination spa. If so, you may have a personal injury case.
Let’s take a look at a recent lawsuit and verdict involving a hair salon.
Mall Owner Not Liable for Object that Fell from Ceiling on Patron at Hair Salon
Check out a case where a jury ruled that a shopping center was not liable when a rock or hard clay fell through a ceiling and onto a patron at a hair salon.
Some spas have a fitness facility
Some day spas and destinations spas are also a fitness facility. Sometimes a day spa will perform activities that are not day spa related.
Liability Coverages and Limits
Some day spa or salons have liability coverage. If a day spa or salon’s negligence caused a serious injury, the bulk of your claim is most likely to be paid under their commercial general liability (CGL) coverage or its professional liability coverage.
Commercial general liability coverage applies to general negligence claims, such as:
- Slip, trip and falls
- Falling off a broken chair.
- Many other types of claims.
Professional Liability Coverage
Professional liability coverage applies to claims against the salon or spa for the professional negligence of its employee.
Many day salons and spas have $1,000,000/$3,000,000 per occurrence/aggregate limit CGL and professional liability coverage. This means that the most their insurance company will pay is $1,000,000 per person, and $3,000,000 per incident.
Most personal injury claims are worth well below $1,000,000. Therefore, the coverage limits are rarely at issue.
Sexual Abuse Liability
Some Florida day spa and salon’s limit the sexual abuse liability coverage. Typical limits are $100,000 per occurrence/$300,000 per aggregate.
If a day spa or salon employee sexually abuses or molests you, you may find that there is limited insurance coverage to pay for your personal injury claim.
I talk more about abuse and molestation claims further below.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments (“Medpay”) coverage pays for a customer’s medical bills. It pays up to the limits of coverage.
It pays regardless of fault. Typical limits are $2,500 or $5,000.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Florida day salons and spas may have non-owned and hired automobile liability coverage. Non-owned coverage protects employees if their negligence, while using a personal vehicle in the course and scope of their employment, causes someone’s injury.
This coverage only applies to vehicles that the salon or spa does not own. It would pay for the injured person’s damages.
What operations at a day salon or spa cause the most personal injury claims?
A spa employee’s negligence during one of the following activities may result in a personal injury claim:
- Body Massage
- Body Piercing (not including the ear lobe)
- Body wraps for weight/water reduction
- Body wraps other than weight and water reduction
- Cosmetics/Make-Up Application
- Ear piercing
- Facial and Skin Cleansing
- Facial scalp massage
- Manicure or pedicure
- Teeth Whitening
- LED teeth whitening
Chemical peels on facials are high risk. A salon or day spa may use too high of an acidity level for a facial. If this caused your injury, you may have a personal injury case.
They may also use a percentage of Alpha Hydroxy or Beta Hydroxy for a facial that is too high. This may cause a customer’s injury. If so, he or she may have a case.
Some salon and day spa’s use acids that are not Alpha Hydroxy or Beta Hydroxy. These include Trichloraecetic “TCA’ Acid, Phenol Acid and others. Improper use of these acids may cause injury and result in a lawsuit.
If a day spa or salon uses micro-dermabrasion, the staff doing this must be licensed aestheticians. The manufacturer needs to certify each.
If they are not licensed and certified, and you are hurt as a result, you may have a case.
A day spa has a duty:
- To make sure that its exercise equipment is safe.
- Warn of any dangerous equipment
The spa or salon should:
- Inspect the equipment at reasonable intervals.
- Keep written records of these inspections.
- Keep written records of complaints about unsafe exercise equipment.
If their unsafe exercise equipment caused your injury, you may have a case.
The spa should routinely inspect its entire premises for dangerous conditions. The staff should be on the lookout for hazards at its:
- Hydrotherapy Tables and Tubs
- Steam Room and Sauna
- Swimming Pools
All swimming pools and spas at a day spa must comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) was created to stop the tragic and hidden hazard of drain entrapments and evisceration in pools and spas.
It applies in Florida.
Under the law, all public pools and spas need to have ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 performance standard, or the successor standard ANSI/APSP-16 2011 compliant drain covers installed and a second anti-entrapment system installed, when there is a single main drain other than an unblockable drain.
The day spa needs to make sure that its diving boards are safe and slip resistant.
Learn more about Florida swimming pool accident claims.
If a spa or salon has tanning beds/booths, it should require:
- Token Timers be Used
- Operators in the area
A spa or salon may have its members sign tanning booth waivers. This can make the member’s personal injury case tough or not feasible.
The injured person should carefully examine the tanning booth waiver. Not all waivers will prohibit making a personal injury claim.
The tanning bed/booth should use manufacturer suggested light bulbs. If you are injured, take pictures of the bulbs that were used.
The bulbs’ UVA percentage and UVB percentage should not exceed certain amounts. The salon or spa should have warning signs posted about the ultraviolet rays.
If the salon or spa fails to require or use any of the aforementioned things, they may be on the hook for the injured person’s damages.
If required by Florida law, all salon and spa technicians must be licensed. If they are not and they cause injury to a customer, he or she may have a case.
Independent Contractor or Booth Renters at a Day Spa
A day spa may allow an independent contractor or booth renter to work on the premises. If their negligence caused a patron’s injury, he or she may have a case against the independent contractor or booth renter.
The customer may also have a personal injury case against the day spa.
Ventilation in Areas Using Acrylics
Any areas at a salon or spa that use acrylics must be well ventilated. Otherwise, a customer may get sick due to a lack of ventilation. If so, he or she may have a personal injury case.
Many salons and day spas use toxic chemicals. They should be kept away from customers. A customer or child could ingest (drink) these toxic chemicals.
He or she could become sick or die. If so, he or she could have a personal injury case against the salon or day spa.
On-Site Child Care for Customers or Employees
Some day spas offer on-site child care for customers or employees. The day care staff’s negligence may cause a child’s injury.
This is normally not covered under the spa or salon’s general liability insurance. The salon or spa may have purchased separate coverage for this.
If not, you can still sue the spa or salon.
Hazard Disclosures and Personal Injury Disclaimer/Waivers
A Florida injury case may become tougher or impossible if you signed a valid hazard disclosure and personal injury disclaimer or waiver. In Florida, you can waive your right to sue if the waiver covers this.
There is a large body of Florida law on waivers. The waiver needs to be looked at to determine its validity.
In Florida, in many circumstances a parent cannot waive a minor’s rights.
Signs throughout the Spa or Salon
Some spas or salons use signs throughout the premises that warn of dangers. A spa or salon still has a duty to make sure that its facility is safe.
A spa is required to have non-slip surfaces in all wet areas. If you slip and fall in a wet area that does not have a non-slip surface, you may have a personal injury case.
You may need to hire an expert engineer to test the slip resistance of the surface. Engineers may cost upwards of $1,200 to inspect the flooring at the spa or salon.
Restaurants or Snack Bars
A salon or spa may have a restaurant or snack bar. They have a duty to make sure that the restaurant or snack bar is safe. Learn more about Florida restaurant accident cases.
Retail Shops inside a Day Spa
Day spas may have a retail store inside the facility. You may have a case if the store’s negligence caused you to get hurt.
Abuse and Molestation
A spa or salon should verify whether any volunteers or employees have been convicted of any crime. This includes sex-related or child abuse related offenses.
This verification should be done before the salon or spa makes an employment offer. If a spa or salon fails to perform this verification, and an employee abuses or molests a customer, the victim may have a personal injury case.
Jurors do not feel sympathy for abusers and molesters. Jurors do feel sympathy for abuse or molestation victims.
Remember: The salon or spa’s abuse and molestation coverage limits are usually much less than general liability limits.
Florida permits a salon or spa to run a criminal background investigation on a volunteer or employee. It only costs about $24.00 to run a statewide check.
The salon or spa should request and receive the criminal background investigation. A jury may feel little to no sympathy if the salon or spa does not run this $24 search and an employee later abuses or molests a customer.
Jurors are even more sympathetic to children.
A salon or spa should verify past employment. This can help verify if the candidate is honest.
It can help a spa or salon’s defense in a personal injury case if they verified employment-related references before hiring an employee, who later abuses or molests a customer.
A salon or spa should conduct a personal interview before hiring an employee. If they fail to do this, and the employee molests or abuses someone, the victim’s case is stronger.
If the salon or spa does an in person interview before hiring the employee, it may make the victim’s case more difficult.
Written Procedures Dealing with Sexual Abuse
A staff or salon should have written procedures for dealing with sexual abuse and molestation. If they do, it may help its defense.
If they do not, it may hurt its defense and increase the chance that the victim has a case. If the victim sues the salon or spa, he can request that they send him or her the written procedures.
The spa or salon does not have to give the victim the written procedures before a lawsuit.
Plan of Supervision for Monitoring Staff
The spa or salon should have a plan of supervision for monitoring the staff in its day-to-day relationships with clients, both on and off the facility property. This will ensure that the staff is not becoming sexually involved with its clients.
The salon or spa should not allow its employees to enter into relationships with clients. The best practice is for this to be a written procedure.
If the spa or salon has a plan of supervision, it may make the victim’s case tougher. Failure to have a plan of supervision may make the victim’s injury case easier.
Some salons or spas have a day nursery or babysitting. They have a duty to supervise the children and make sure that the premises is safe.
In Florida, the day nursery or babysitter may have the parents sign waivers. However, they may not be enforceable in many types of situations.
Ratio of Employees to Children
The staff needs to have a reasonable ratio of employees to children. Otherwise, if a child is hurt, this may be grounds for a personal injury case based on inadequate supervision.
The salon or spa should make sure that the staff is qualified be watching kids. If not, this may be grounds for a case.
The salon or spa needs to make sure that it is not engaging the kids in high-risk activities. Otherwise, a child could get hurt and have a case.
If the day spa has a playground, it needs to make sure that the equipment is safe and in good repair. It should have a safe surface under the equipment. Otherwise, an injured child can recover damages in a lawsuit.
The day nursery should supervise the children on the playground. If they fail to supervise the kids, and one is injured, he or she may have a case.
Who insures the most day spas and salons in Florida?
- Fitness and Wellness Risk Purchasing Group (a member of Philadelphia Insurance Companies)
- Hiscox Insurance Company Inc.
- Zurich American Insurance Company
Other than the ones listed above, the big fifteen Florida business liability insurers are below:
- Old Dominion Insurance Company
- Westfield Insurance Company
- Federal Insurance Company
- Southern-Owners Insurance Company
- Rockhill Insurance Company
- Scottsdale Insurance Company
- Granada Insurance Company
- First Community Insurance Company
- Hartford Casualty Insurance Company
- Depositors Insurance Company (part of Allied Insurance)
- Nationwide Insurance Company of America
- American Economy Insurance Company
- State Farm Florida Insurance Company
I have no reason to believe that these insurers do not insure Florida salons and day spas.
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