If you have suffered an injury from a defective cosmetic product, contact us, as we've recently helped a number of clients seek compensation as a result.
- Damian Horan, Head of Personal Injury at Moore Blatch
The days of looking good for some now come at a price. The Moore Blatch personal injury team find themselves dealing with an increasing variety of compensation claims for clients injured using cosmetic and so-called beauty products. The increase in media pressure through reality TV shows and fashion magazines has led to a public who have an increasing fascination with skin care and hair products.
There are now so many different types of soap, creams, hair colorants and hair removal products on the market that it is likely there will be an increase in this type of personal injury claim.
In 1987 the law was changed to make it easier for consumers to seek compensation where they had suffered injury and loss as a result of a defective product. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 confers rights on consumers to seek damages where they have suffered injury due to the use of a product which causes a reaction which would not be expected from every day use. Skin inflammation, burn injuries and damaged hair are the most common injuries reported by our clients. These can leave lasting effects including both physical and emotional scarring. The law seeks to ensure that when we buy or use any product we should be able to expect certain high standards to have been used in the manufacture and packaging of the product.
Compensation claim awards for scarring can range from as little as £1,000 for a single noticeable scar to £7,500 for a number of noticeable scars or a single disfiguring scar. Facial disfigurement qualifies for significantly higher awards. The most severe scarring in a relatively young woman where cosmetic effect is very disfiguring and the psychological reaction serious can result in awards up to £50,000. Compensation awards for damage to hair range from £1,000 to £7,000 and the level awarded will depend on the extent of damage and how long it takes for the hair to grow back. In many cases clients are more interested to ensure that others are made aware of the defective product and that change will occur as a result. Financial recompense is only one consideration. In all cases it is strongly recommended that expert medical evidence is obtained. In hair damage cases a report from a trichologist is required and in scarring cases from a plastic surgeon.
The Moore Blatch specialist product liability team has dealt with claims, including:-
- Hair products, such as hair dyes and hair removal creams;
- Food stuffs, which can cause salmonella, e-coli etc
- Medical devices, such as hip joints, heart valves and contraceptive devices.
We have seen recently an increase in cases involving hair dyes and hair removal creams. One case involved the well known Clairol 'Nice n' Easy' hair colorant manufactured by Proctor and Gamble. Our client’s plight was profiled on GMTV. Our client had used Clairol hair dye products for nearly 30 years and had experienced no previous difficulties. On this particular occasion in July 2007, having carefully followed the user instructions, she experienced a sudden reaction, causing considerable skin irritation, swelling to her face and hair loss. She was forced to shave her hair off entirely on medical advice.
Our client immediately reported the incident to Proctor & Gamble. They arranged for her to be examined by a dermatologist but despite our client’s best efforts to deal with the company directly, Proctor and Gamble failed to provide a full explanation or make an offer of compensation.
Following our instruction, a letter of claim was submitted to Proctor & Gamble and within 2 weeks they responded with an offer of settlement. An offer of £2,250.00 was made without an admission of liability and in their words, as a "gesture of goodwill". Our view was that the potential of the claim was more than the offer proposed but our client was eager to settle the claim promptly following her terrible ordeal. She chose to accept the offer within 4 weeks of our instruction and without medical evidence having being obtained. Another client has also now consulted us with a similar complaint arising from the use of the same product.
If you have suffered injury following exposure to a defective product it is essential that you consult a specialist solicitor. These can be difficult cases from a legal and medical point of view. It is important that evidence is preserved and that a positive connection can be made between the exposure to the defective product and the injury complained of. The Moore Blatch team is well placed to help with these cases. We can offer a free assessment of any claim and offer funding on a "no win – no fee" basis.