Earlier this year, a woman sued cosmetics company L’Oréal with claims that its chemical hair straightening products put women at an increased risk of uterine cancer. Her lawyers drew a straight line from chemicals included in the straightening product formula to cancer risks.
The L’Oréal lawsuit is one of many shampoo company lawsuits implicated in cancer risk claims. Our society never really stopped embracing “better living through chemistry,” but sometimes chemistry bites back.
You may have a personal injury suit when a product makes you ill. Courts expect companies to put safe, thoroughly tested products on the marketplace.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have a lawsuit just because you developed cancer, or any other deadly disease, after using a product.
Questions Your Lawyer Might Consider
Is there evidence the company knew about the danger but continued to release the product anyway?
A product liability suit is like any other personal injury suit. Your lawyer has to prove that the company was negligent.
In some cases, lawyers have found internal studies conducted by the companies themselves demonstrating that some aspects of their products were dangerous. In many cases, the company went ahead and continued practicing “business as usual.”
Of course, your attorney won’t know that such studies exist immediately. Still, if they do, they can provide excellent evidence that the company was negligent in allowing that product to ship to retail stores.
How many studies draw a direct line between chemicals contained in the product and the disease that has harmed you?
For example, in the L’Oréal suit, lawyers can point to twelve studies showing that the product’s phthalates and parabens may cause cancer. One of these studies dates back to 2004. All these studies support the idea that L’Oréal knew or should have known that they were placing dangerous chemicals in their products.
Consumers are not generally expected to keep up with scientific studies regarding chemical safety. Courts expect companies using these chemicals to do so and to adjust their business practices accordingly if they find a danger.
If no clear studies draw a line between your specific form of cancer and the product you suspect, then a product liability suit may become impossible. For example, if you have brain cancer but the product is known primarily to cause uterine cancer, you might not be able to launch a convincing lawsuit.
Is this a strict liability case?
A strict liability case doesn’t require us to prove that the company was negligent. Instead, your lawyer only has to prove that the product is inherently dangerous and the defendant company sold it.
In a strict liability case, the lawyer doesn’t even have to prove that the company knew about the danger the product offered to the public.
Examples of Dangerous Products
Unfortunately, dangerous product lawsuits are prevalent throughout the United States. Cancer isn’t the only risk.
- One woman won more than $2 billion in damages against Johnson and Johnson after courts found they knew there was asbestos in its baby powder.
- A wave of lawsuits was launched after it became clear Hersheys was producing chocolate bars with lead.
- Coca-Cola faces a class action suit over Simply Tropical juice, which has toxic PFAS levels hundreds of times above federal limits.
- A judge awarded $4 million in the wrongful death suit against Big Olaf Creamery, which sold ice cream contaminated with Listeria.
Are dangerous product suits always class action suits?
No. If you know a product has hurt you, you can launch a personal injury or wrongful death suit. If many cases start appearing all at once, a class action suit might eventually be the result.
If you have a suit, it may be wise to move quickly. Once a class action suit launches, you can’t pursue an individual claim. You’d instead be added to the class, and you’ll receive a lot less money for your losses.
Get Help Today
You don’t have to do guesswork about your case. If you think a product made you sick, contact our law firm. We will review the facts of your case and help you determine whether it might be worthwhile to launch a lawsuit.
You’re bound by a three-year statute of limitations. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to build a compelling case. Waiting too long may also mean losing your ability to pursue the case as an individual claimant.
Contact our office to schedule your free case review today.