Can You Sue For a Bad or Misspelled Tattoo?

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misspelled tattoos

On today’s Legal Brief – one of our subscriber’s ask:

Can I sue If My Tattoo Artist Misspells My Tattoo?

The internet is full of pictures of hilariously misspelled tattoos.  And here we will insert pictures of some of them. Funny Stuff.  Unless you’re the poor guy stuck with “Pubic Enemy Number One” on your arm instead of Public Enemy Number One.

So, to sue the tattoo artist you have to prove breach of a duty of care to the tattoo-ee and damages.  A misspelling is pretty bad and is pretty clear-cut breach of a duty of care – unless you don’t provide the spelling to the tattoo artist.  For example, my daughter’s name is Madeline but that name can be spelled five different ways and I can’t expect the tattoo guy to know how my Madeline is spelled.

When I got my tattoos done by my favorite tattoo artist – I was very careful with providing spellings in writing.  Okay, just kidding – I’m not that cool – I’ve never even been inside a tattoo place.

But the truth is that nowadays, I am told, tattoo shops are very careful with this and have you approve and re-approve your tattoo before any ink is put on.  Most of these tattoos you see online all messed up are probably done by someone’s cousin in their garage – for a pack of cigarettes.

Anyways, let’s say you have told the tattoo artist the correct spelling and he just forgets.  We have the legal duty and the breach of the duty and now we move to damages.

From a damage standpoint, the good thing about a tattoo is that it’s permanent.  You can try and fix them but it will never be perfect. In the personal injury world, we are always looking for permanent injuries.

In the lawsuit you would seek money for revision tattooing, for the disfigurement, and for “ mental pain and suffering.”

As far as who you would sue, the person – the tattoo artist is always responsible for his or her own negligence and you could also sue the tattoo store as it is vicariously liable for the actions of its employees.  Actually, you must sue the store because that is the entity that would carry professional liability insurance and give you the best chance of recovery.

Anyways, thank you Louis Pinero for the interesting question. 

The answer is yes, you could sue for monetary damages if you provided them the correct spelling and they messed it up.

If you have any legal questions that you would like answered, please leave a comment below, and be careful at the tattoo parlor!

Jeremy Hogan
Jeremy Hogan
Attorney Jeremy Hogan is a partner at Hogan & Hogan.