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Injuries from Tattoos/Piercings in New York: Does a Waiver Prevent Me from Suing?

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Injury while getting a tattoo on Long Island.

Tattoo/Piercing parlors are required by law to provide certain safety measures in New York, such as using sterilized needles and bandaging the site to prevent infection.  Customers frequently must sign waiver forms indicating they are assuming the risk for known risks inherent in the dangerous activity of receiving an inking or piercing.  For example, if a person develops an infection because the parlor used a dirty needle, the injured person will likely be able to recover. On the other hand, if a customer gets an infection and the parlor complied with all the safety requirements and could not be shown to have otherwise contributed to the infection, then the injured party likely assumed the risk of the infection as a “known risk.”  The waiver would be effective to protect the parlor from known risks but not for negligent, reckless or intentional conduct.  Proving fault on the part of tattoo/piercing parlors and/or artists can be a difficult, fact-intensive process.  Contacting a personal injury attorney will give you the best chance of recovery.

New York State Law Regarding Fault For Personal Injuries

New York state is a ‘pure comparative fault’ jurisdiction, which means each party to an injury is responsible for their own percentage of fault in causing the injury.  Determining the percentage of fault of each party is the job of the factfinder in a particular case, either the judge or the jury.  Sometimes the cause of injury is obvious, such as a cut from where the tattoo artist slipped and cut the customer.  Sometimes it is far more difficult to determine the cause of the injury in a particular case.  If a customer gets an infection, but the customer failed to keep it reasonably clean, then the customer’s fault may lower or even eliminate any right to compensation.  It is critical to your case to keep detailed records.  The skillful personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can evaluate your case, organize necessary records, and prepare legal arguments to insure your case is as strong as possible.

Safety Measures Required by New York State Law

The following are laws enacted for the public safety in New York state regulating tattoo/piercing parlors and artists.  They are derived from County or City health department rules as the State rules are currently being developed:

  • Under section 260.21 of the New York State Penal Law, it is unlawful to tattoo/pierce anyone under the age of 18 years.
  • A tattoo artist must do the following to comply with requirements of the NY State Department of Health:
  • Use a single-use disposable razor to shave the area to be inked/pierced;
  • Clean the skin to be tattooed/pierced;
  • Wash their hands before tattooing/piercing;
  • Use gloves while tattooing/piercing;
  • Use single-use needles, tubes and inks; and
  • Cover the area inked with a bandage and provide after-care instructions.
  • Contact the Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

If you, a friend or family member have been injured receiving tattoos or body piercings, the competent personal injury professionals at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP are available now to evaluate your case for free.  Contact us anytime by phone at (516) 358-6900.

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