Personal injury—tattoo claims
Produced in partnership with Jacqueline Swain of St John's Buildings

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note produced in partnership with Jacqueline Swain of St John's Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Personal injury—tattoo claims
  • Tattoo machine
  • Tattoo ink
  • Negligent tattoo application
  • Premises licensing
  • Underage tattooing
  • Negligent tattoo claims
  • Provision of services/legislation
  • Expert evidence
  • Laser treatment

Personal injury—tattoo claims

The Oxford English dictionary defines a tattoo as follows:

‘to mark (a part of the body) with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin.’

Tiny needles containing ink puncture the skin and penetrate both the outer layer and inner layer of skin, which contains the blood vessels, hair follicles, glands, nerves and lymph vessels. The process causes inflammation and the immune system works quickly in sending a type of white blood cells known as macrophages to assist with healing the area. A tattoo is therefore made permanent, although as with a scar it may fade over time. The macrophages absorb the dye particles to speed up the wound healing process. Some will return to the lymph nodes and other will stay in the dermis. The rest of the dye is soaked up by fibroblast skin cells and these together with the macrophages make the tattoo permanent.

Tattoo machine

Modern hand held tattoo machines use electromagnetic coils to move an armature bar up and down—connected to the bar is a barred needle grouping which propels the ink into the skin. There are also Rotary Tattoo Machines, which are powered by regulated motors rather than electromagnetic coils.

Tattoo ink

Tattoo inks are pigments combined with a carrier. Inks are available in a range of colours which can be thinned or mixed sometimes by the tattoo

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