In the last several decades, the variety of beauty treatment providers has exploded. No longer are care regiments limited to the local hair salon down the street.
Consumers have their choice of hot wax and lasers and injections and white-hot bulbs and powerful chemicals and more. Of course, as our beauty salon injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale are fully aware, many of these treatments can pose dangers when not properly applied or adequately overseen.
One of the biggest questions that must be answered before filing such an action is whether the “salon” is actually a medical facility. This is sometimes not always an obvious distinction. Examples might be places that provide laser hair removal treatments, Botox injections or weight loss programs involving medication. The reason it’s essential to answer this is because if so, it will necessitate a different approach by your attorney.
Medical malpractice cases and personal injury cases differ in their requirements. For example, medical malpractice cases in Florida have a two-year statute of limitations, which is the time after the injury was discovered during which you must file your case or lose your standing. However, in a personal injury case, you have four years in which to file. Medical malpractice filings requires expert testimony just to make it past the initial stages, while the requirements for a personal injury case aren’t quite so rigid.
The recent case of Bioderm Skin Care, LLC v. Sok, reviewed by the Texas Supreme Court, shows what can happen when the distinction isn’t properly made.
The plaintiff in this case sought to have a series of laser hair removal treatments, which is an elective, beauty enhancement procedure. According to court records, prior to the start of her fifth visit, she informed a staffer at the center that she was unhappy with the results. The medical doctor who oversaw the clinic at that point reviewed her records and gave the green light to the staffer to increase the intensity of the laser being used for the plaintiff’s treatment.
Soon after the treatment had finished, the woman reported she felt intense burning on her legs. The doctor applied some topical cream. The plaintiff left and did not return for the subsequent treatments, for which she had already paid. She would later allege that the treatment had left her with severe scarring and burning.
She filed a personal injury lawsuit. As she was not required to do so in a personal injury claim, she did not serve an expert report within 120 days of filing her petition. This requirement is mandatory, however, in a medical malpractice claim. Following the conclusion of that 120 days, the defendants (the doctor and the beauty treatment center) filed a motion to dismiss the case on the assertion that it was a health care liability claim under the state’s Medical Liability Act.
The trial court denied the motion and the appellate court confirmed, but the Texas Supreme Court reversed and remanded to the trial court with an order to dismiss.
No one in question doubted that the doctor was a medical doctor. The primary issue was whether the facility where he worked was a health care provider. What the court determined was that because the facility was an affiliate of the physician, it was therefore a health care provider under the state’s Medical Liability Act.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Bioderm Skin Care, LLC v. Sok, March 28, 2014, Texas Supreme Court
More Blog Entries:
Dorsey v. Reider – Florida Supreme Court Weighs Bar Fight Liability, March 27, 2014, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Blog