Tattoo Parlors and Body Piercing

Tattoo on Girls FootTattoos and body piercings are very popular modes of expression these days.    But you should be very careful when choosing someone to give you a tattoo or piercing because there are things that can go seriously wrong.

Recently, we had a situation arise in Rockford where upwards of two dozen people were hospitalized after having their ears pierced at a local Tattoo Parlor, only to have their ears become infected with pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria that arises when non sterile technique is used in surgical procedures.   Make no mistake; body piercing is an invasive procedure not all that different from surgery, and bacterial infections under these circumstances can be life threatening.

Illinois law does require that appropriate sterile technique be used when performing body piercing.   But, there is no requirement that a piercing establishment have liability insurance.   If there is no liability insurance, you may not be able to collect anything from a negligent operator who injures you or even kills a loved one.

In our cases, a local tattoo parlor was performing body piercings, but they were careless in following the guidelines to ensure they were done safely.   They infected nearly two dozen people because of their non-sterile technique.   Many of these infections were quite serious, requiring hospitalization and lengthy treatment with antibiotics.   One person came close to death.  They all suffered varying amounts of disfigurement, some of which was quite serious.

The Illinois Department of Health Investigated and determined this tattoo parlor was negligent in the manner in which it performed these piercings.    Sixteen of those injured hired us to represent them, and a lawsuit was filed.   As it turned out, the Tattoo Parlor had no insurance, and nothing in the way of assets when compared to the $350,000 in verdicts we were able to secure.

So the moral of the story is, if you are going to get body piercings or tattoos, you would be smart to ask them if they have insurance before you let them pierce or tattoo you.