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What Are the Premises Liability Laws at Spas - morgan and morgan
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What Are the Premises Liability Laws at Spas?

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Spa Premises Liability

A trip to the spa is meant to be relaxing and therapeutic, with treatments ranging from pedicures to massages to even more exotic pampering such as colonic detox cleanses and sea therapy body wraps. You can go for a single treatment or enjoy a full spa day to access a variety of therapies and beauty services. Focusing on one's well-being through spa visits has become increasingly popular for all genders as we realize the value it can bring to living a quality life.

When we go to a spa, we expect that the services and the building itself won't cause us harm, but accidents happen all the time. Suppose you were injured because of unsafe or defective conditions at a spa. In that case, you might be interested in learning more about premises liability at spas. We're here to help. You may have legal recourse to gain compensation for your injuries. Here's more about spas and premises liability.

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  • What is premises liability?

    Premises liability is a legal concept linked to personal injury cases where someone has been harmed because of the conditions at the property. To win in cases like this, the injured party must prove the owner of the property was somehow negligent in regard to the ownership or maintenance of the property. Property owners have a legal duty to use reasonable care. When they fail to use reasonable care, they may be considered negligent and thus liable for injuries.

    However, just because you're injured on someone else's property doesn't mean they are liable 100% of the time. You must prove that the property owner knew or should have reasonably known there was an unsafe condition on the property and failed to take precautions or correct the situation.

  • What are the different categories of premises liability cases?

    There are many different types of personal injury cases that can be identified as premises liability cases. Here are some of the more common ones:

    • Slip and fall cases
    • Fires
    • Water leaks
    • Flooding
    • Inadequate security 
    • Toxic fumes
    • Toxic chemicals
    • Unsafe building conditions
    • Dog bites
    • Inadequate maintenance
    • Elevator accidents
    • Snow and ice accidents

    Specific to spas, a personal injury may occur under the following conditions:

    • Insufficient or improper training of staff leading to an injury
    • Misuse of chemicals
    • Failing to conduct a pretreatment skin patch test
    • Unsanitary tools and surfaces
    • Failing to follow the treatment protocol
    • Faulty equipment

    While a poor haircut or botched tanning spray session can lead to embarrassment, it doesn't meet the requirements of a legal claim for compensation. A talk with management may be a better course of action to get some form of compensation in the manner of a refund or treatments to remedy the botched service.

  • What is the property owner's duty of care to visitors?

    Laws concerning the property owner's duty of care vary from state to state and may depend on the status of the visitor. To be sure of the laws in your state, you should talk to one of our premises liability lawyers. Some states expect that property owners will practice reasonable care for all visitors. In contrast, others limit the scope depending on the visitor's legal status. Those states put visitors to the property in the following categories:

    • Invitees
    • Licensees
    • Trespassers

    Invitees - An invitee is someone who has been invited to the property. In the case of a spa accident, the invitee is a customer. When you make an appointment at a spa for services, the invitation implies that the property owner has made sure the property is safe to visit.

    Licensees - A licensee will typically be someone who enters the property for their own purposes, like a salesperson or inspector.

    Trespassers - A trespasser is on a property without any sort of right to be there. Trespassers are typically not owed the same duty of care as the two mentioned above, except in the case of children.

    Some state laws on premises liability will focus on the conditions at the property and the actions of the property owner and the visitor. These states apply a uniform standard of care for both invitees and licensees, but not trespassers. When deciding liability, these state's courts will look to see if the property owner exercised reasonable care by looking at the following:

    • How the visitor entered the property
    • How the property is being used
    • Foreseeability that a dangerous situation could cause injury to visitors
    • How reasonable were the efforts of the property owner to repair or warn of the hazardous conditions
  • What if I'm partially at fault for my injury?

    Frequently, property owners will argue that the visitor was partially at fault to limit their liability. Visitors, of course, also have a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care for their own safety. Suppose they can prove you did not use a reasonable degree of care for your own safety. In that case, this may limit the amount of compensation you can receive.

    Many states use the concept of comparative fault in personal injury cases to decide how much compensation to award. Comparative fault reduces the amount you can receive based upon the percentage of fault that is yours. For example, say you're at a resort spa, and you've had a bit too much to drink, and trip over an unsecured rug and sprain your knee. In that case, the court may hold you 40% responsible and the spa 60% responsible. You would only get 60% of what your case is worth in a comparative fault state.

  • How can spa injuries happen?

    Sanitation - Spa injuries can occur if conditions are unsanitary. Failure to sanitize and sterilize tools and surfaces can lead to bacterial infections that can be debilitating and even deadly. In Watsonville, California, a mother took herself and her daughter to a nail salon for pedicures. This trip ended up causing both of them to develop painful sores on their legs which were slow to respond to antibiotics. 

    Investigators found high levels of tuberculosis-related bacteria in the salon's footbaths. The owner of the salon admitted to never cleaning the footbaths properly, which led to an outbreak impacting more than 100 area women who had services performed there. Many of these women were left with deep scars even after their wounds had healed. 

    Unsafe chemicals - Spas often have a variety of chemicals they use for treatments. Improperly mixing, applying, or storing chemicals can lead to allergic reactions and chemical burns. Some of the chemicals used in hair and nail treatments have toxic properties. Suppose the technician fails to mix the right chemicals, leaves chemicals on too long, or fails to recognize allergic reactions right away. In that case, this can lead to severe injuries. 

    A Fort Worth woman sued a hair salon and won $180,000 after proving a standard hair coloring appointment left her partially bald because of the improper application of hair dye product. Soon after leaving the hair salon, she noticed her scalp began to burn, and she developed skin lesions. Shortly after, clumps of her hair began falling out. She was later diagnosed with permanent hair loss by a dermatologist.

    Improperly trained staff - When a spa hires unlicensed or improperly trained staff, this can lead to client injuries. Improper wax temperatures can lead to burns. Products being left on too long can cause scarring, baldness, and chemical burns. Even an improperly trained masseuse can cause damage if they work too long on fragile areas like the neck and cause a bone fracture. A poorly trained hairstylist could burn you with a curling iron or flat iron, or they could even cut you with their scissors. 

    Poorly maintained premises - If a spa is unsafe, all sorts of injuries can happen to clients. Most frequently, slip and falls are the source of premises liability at spas. A slip and fall can occur if beauty products are spilled on the floor and not cleaned up, or you could slip and fall near a hot tub or pool. You may trip on loose or broken stairs, steps, or floorboards. Unsecured rugs and carpets may cause you to slide and lose your balance. 

    If the spa has inadequate security, you could be assaulted by another patron, or a trespasser could cause you harm. If the hot tub isn't adequately maintained, you could be scalded because of a malfunctioning temperature gauge, or you could be burned or injured in a fire if electrical wiring is substandard. You could be injured due to biohazards in a hot tub or pool if there inadequately maintained. 

  • What are some other types of spa injuries that could be compensable?

    While the following is more related to a personal injury claim than a premises liability claim, you may be entitled to compensation if you received the following injuries at a spa:

    • Scalp injuries
    • Hair loss
    • Permanent hair loss
    • Allergic reactions
    • Lash and eyebrow loss
    • Chemical burns
    • Cuts and abrasions
    • Broken bones
    • Bacterial infections
    • Wax burns
    • Staph infections
    • Scarring
    • Skin discoloration from laser treatments
    • Burns from hot rocks
  • Let Morgan & Morgan lawyers help you with your premises liability claim today

    Spa injuries can have a profound emotional and physical impact on victims. It's tough to deal with injuries and pursue a legal claim on your own. We understand that it can be an intimidating process. If the spa you're making a claim against is a large one with ties to a fancy resort with fancy lawyers, you may need the help of equally powerful lawyers like ours. 

    Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest law firms in the United States, with attorneys ready to represent you nationwide. You don't get to be as big as we are without being successful in your services. We've recovered billions for our clients over the past 35-plus years we've been at this. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding legal services to each and every one of our clients, no matter their ability to pay upfront. In fact, we don't collect unless you do. When you're ready to fight, don't hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation. We’ll look at the facts and explain more about premises liability at spas.

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Last updated on May 11, 2023

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