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Laser Hair Removal Burns Can Be Tried as Negligence

July 27, 2011

A Cook County judge recently ruled that claims against laser hair removal facilities that allege burn injuries can be tried as simple negligence in Illinois and need not be filed as medical malpractice claims.

The judge released a five-page written memorandum and order in an ongoing case involving a laser hair removal facility. The opinion denied the laser hair removal facility’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Kevin G. Costello, a Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle partner, on behalf of a client.

Costello’s client suffered second-degree burns while receiving cosmetic laser hair removal treatment in November 2010. The young woman’s laser burns caused a checkerboard pattern of red marks to appear on both of her legs. Although the scars have faded somewhat, they remain visible. She continues to receive treatment from a dermatologist with the hope that the scars will not be permanent.

In attempting to have the case dismissed, the laser hair removal facility’s attorneys claimed that the laser hair removal process is a medical procedure and therefore requires a medical malpractice filing with an accompanying affidavit from a doctor alleging a breach of the standard of care.

Costello, who filed the lawsuit on the theory of simple negligence, argued that no Illinois judge had ruled on the issue before and that other states had held that laser hair removal injuries typically are not considered medical malpractice claims. Thus a lawsuit can be brought for negligence without a doctor’s affidavit.

The judge agreed with Costello, denied the motion to dismiss, and ordered the laser hair removal facility to answer the complaint. The court said it was significant that a technician with no medical background had performed the laser hair removal treatment. The judge also cited case law on similar cosmetic laser hair removal situations from the states of Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri and Texas.

Costello has tried more than 250 cases to judgment, including over 50 jury verdicts. The Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter recognized him in 1995 as being among the top 10 attorneys for achieving verdicts in Cook County the previous year. Since 2002, Costello has practiced personal injury law and litigation in Crystal Lake at Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. For more information on his credentials, please link to Kevin Costello’s biography.