Tattoo Infections: What You Need to Know

Tattoos have moved from “taboo” to almost traditional, and in San Diego, it’s hard to find an adult in their 20s or 30s who doesn’t have at least a little ink. 

But did you know that at least 23% of Americans regret getting their tattoos? While some may no longer like the aesthetic, others regret the tattoo because it led to serious infection and injury.

Despite strict regulations for California tattoo parlors, not every artist complies, and the recipient may suffer as a result. 

You may be wondering if you can hold a tattoo artist liable for an infection or scarring. If they didn’t follow safety and hygiene protocols, you might have a personal injury case to demand damages for your injuries.

Tattoo Infections, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Infections from a tattoo are more common than one would think and can range from minor inflammation — which can generally be treated with over-the-counter medications — to a life-threatening concern. 

Wounds can develop when tattoo ink is injected into the sub-dermal layers of your skin. Unhygienic tattooing practices or locations allow bacteria and viruses to get into the raw tattoo, which can cause infections and even endanger your life.

If you notice red streaks appearing near the tattoo site or in the surrounding area, it’s a sign of severe infection that requires immediate, emergency medical attention.

Other common symptoms of a tattoo infection include:

  • Swelling — although all new tattoos will swell a bit, infected tattoos have swelling around the site, too
  • Fever — seek medical attention if you have a body temperature over 100°
  • Inflammation — red or pink inflammation lasting longer than a day or two may mean the skin is contaminated
  • Pain — if the pain intensifies instead of subsiding, seek medical attention
  • Pus or fluid discharge — greenish-yellow fluid or excessive bleeding indicates infection
  • Foul smell — bacteria infections typically cause foul odors at the infection site
  • Abscesses — large blisters that burst or bruise can cause scarring or sub-dermal infection

Another sign of a tattoo infection is swollen lymph nodes. Your lymph nodes swell if you have a staph infection, and you may not have any other signs of infection around the tattoo. 

A staph infection and swollen lymph nodes are indications that your body is trying to fight off a serious infection in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis. Sepsis can often be fatal, so go to the doctor immediately if this occurs.

Can I Sue a Tattoo Parlor for My Tattoo Infection?

If you developed a serious infection after getting a tattoo, especially one requiring emergency or ongoing medical care, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. If the tattoo artist failed to meet the required standards of care, as regulated by California state law, then you may seek damages from them.

The standard of care includes:

  • Asking questions about your relevant medical history and any allergies
  • Checking that you are older than 18
  • Showing you their health and safety certificates and license
  • Using a new, sterile needle for each client
  • Washing their hands before each procedure and wearing medical gloves
  • Providing you the proper after-care instructions and skin advice
  • Ensuring that inks are not expired or have been subject to a manufacturer recall
  • Sterilizing all equipment used in the procedure

If the tattoo artist failed to meet these standards of care, and you developed an infection afterward, you may need to speak with an attorney. Make sure to document your infection with photos and seek medical attention. After receiving care, ask for a copy of your medical records and diagnosis.

What Damages Can I Receive for a Tattoo Infection? 

If you can prove that your infection resulted from the tattoo artist’s breach of their duty of care, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your losses. 

Economic damages cover your financial losses, including medical expenses, the cost of medications or ointments, and travel expenses. Non-economic damages cover your pain and suffering, mental anguish, and scarring. 

Contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have a case and the damages you may be entitled to receive. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in San Diego Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 777-5555

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000