Tattoo Insurance Explained – Why Informed Consent is Vital
A critical part of the process for any professional tattooist is obtaining consent before undertaking any work for a client.
Failure to correctly obtain AND document the necessary client consent accurately can leave you open to a potential challenge and a costly compensation or Professional Liability Insurance claim.
When Should I Obtain Consent?
Consent is required for any tattoo or piercing - even the smallest, or simplest commission, could result in a potential claim should the client suffer a reaction and allege that they were not made aware of aftercare processes and the risk involved.
The basic premise of “consent” is that it allows a client to make an informed decision about the tattoo or piercing that he or she is about to undergo, and to become knowledgeable about any risks that could occur.
What Type Of Problems Can Arise?
A variety of issues can arise with consent, and clients may be able to bring claims for compensation should they suffer injury or illness.
Documenting and record keeping is equally important as the consent form itself, without written proof, a client could claim that they did not receive sufficient information on which to give consent, or even simply that they did not give any consent at all.
As well as copies of consent forms, keep details of any leaflets and / or information which you have provided, including the version number or date of the leaflet if appropriate.
Forgetfulness Can Be Expensive!
Failure to obtain consent can prove to be a hugely expensive mistake, with compensation claims often reach hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Often, at point of claim, a tattoo artist will believe that no professional negligence exists, but any administration problems or missing consent forms can make claims much difficult for your Insurer to defend.
What Is Valid Consent?
In order for consent to be legally valid, it must:
1. Be Made Voluntarily
Your client needs to consent voluntarily, meaning that he or she must decide freely and without any pressure from friends, family or the tattooist. Best practice to seek consent at the original commissioning discussion, well in advance of the tattoo application work commencing, this will allow clients ample time to make an informed decision.
Where this is not possible it should be obtained immediately prior to the first sitting commencing.
2. With Sufficient Information
As part of the consent process it is important that clients receive sufficient information in order to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with their tattoo or not. This should be a full disclosure of the risks and aftercare process, including suggested recovery periods as well as any other material that would help the client make his or her decision.
Any information should be explained without jargon so the client can understand it. Do not withhold any information simply because you think it would scare or unnerve a client.
How to Obtain Consent
Consent should typically be obtained both verbally and through the use of an appropriate consent form. Ideally all consent forms should be approved by a practicing solicitor and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.
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Tattoo Safe specialises in cover for the tattoo and piercing industry. All policies include professional liability and treatment cover as standard, as well as the ability to include other liability exposures such as public and employers liability as required.
Whether you run a full studio or operate as a freelance professional, our team of expert advisors can help you find the right level of cover at the right price.