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Hair today...gone tomorrow!

View profile for Catriona Ralls
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Most people will look forward to their next hair appointment, excited about having a new style or colour.  One thing you don’t expect is to lose your hair as a consequence.  This is exactly what happened to one lady, and here Catriona Ralls, member of the Personal Injury team, explains the impact this had on her clients’ life, and how coming to her gave her access to the help and support needed to rebuild her confidence.

Mrs P was a regular client of a well known hairdressing chain, and had an appointment to get her blonde hi-lights redone. She had been previously delighted with the results, and was a lady who was immaculately presented and looked after her hair. Her hair was, to use the cliché, her crowning glory.

On this occasion, her hair was colour treated by one of the stylists. No strand tests were carried out and there were no warnings as to any risks of damage to her hair. All proceeded normally but unfortunately, the colour applied was incorrect.

Two days later she returned to the salon by appointment to have the colour redone. Again, no strand testing was carried out and she was not warned as to any risks of damage to her hair. The colour foils were left in for 45 – 60 minutes leading to chemical damage to her hair.

“To Mrs P’s horror her hair was snapping off as it was so brittle, leaving one inch spikes standing up on her head,” begins Catriona.  “The salon’s solution was to sell her more hair products and offer free protein treatments. Eventually the free treatments were withdrawn leaving my client to her own devices. At the back of her head the hair layers were so thin that she could feel her scalp and had to try various ways of disguising the damage. It had taken Mrs P about 9 years to get the length and style that she wanted, and so this led her to feel very upset and self conscious about her appearance.  As a result, she called me. I advised her that I thought she had a reasonable claim against the salon for compensation for the loss and damage to her, as well as the additional expenditure that she incurred.”

Catriona found however that the salon’s insurers had a different view.  “They fought the claim vigorously, even intimating that Mrs P had caused the damage herself,” explains Catriona.  “If you’ve heard of a trichologist, you’ll know that this is essentially a hair damage expert. We instructed one to prepare a report and he was fully supportive of my client.”

Court proceedings were issued and the claim was defended. However, before it reached trial, the salon’s solicitors commenced negotiations and the claim was settled out of court – almost 3 years after she had suffered the damage.

Catriona concludes, “Mrs P was delighted to receive financial compensation but, more importantly, she felt she had achieved a moral victory.  She was feeling vindicated and that there was no substance in the salon’s allegation that it was her own fault, so for them to settle was their admission of blame.  Some people may think this is trivial, and not as serious as say, a broken bone from an accident.  The emotional injury however was just as severe, having an impact on Mrs P’s professional and personal life, and I’m delighted that we were able to assist her.”

If you have had a similar experience and are looking for advice on whether you can bring a claim, contact Catriona or the Personal Injury Team on 0800 91 92 30, or visit the Injury pages of our website here.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.