Based on multiple analyses of existing data, researchers have sounded the alarm over the presence of carcinogens in various chemical hair relaxers, which have led to women developing uterine cancer, breast cancer, and other conditions like endometriosis. There are a growing number of product liability lawsuits against the makers of chemical hair relaxers, which has prompted plaintiffs to urge the courts to consider their claims as a multidistrict litigation.
The final decision on whether or not to consider these hair relaxer claims as a collective will be made by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) after they hear arguments from both sides. The hearing has been set for January 26th, 2023, in Miami, Florida.
What Would a Hair Relaxer MDL Mean for Plaintiffs?
The plaintiffs in the chemical hair straightener lawsuits are currently working to condense their individual claims into a single group of claims to be evaluated together. This is known as a multidistrict litigation, as plaintiffs have filed their original product liability lawsuits in courts spanning the U.S. A multidistrict litigation allows plaintiffs to pool their resources while maintaining their ability to recover compensation that is reflective of their specific damages.
If the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decides to create a multidistrict litigation for the hair relaxer cancer lawsuits, plaintiffs will be able to coordinate their efforts in the discovery process instead of each individual claimant trying to prove that the makers of hair relaxers should be liable for their damages. This would allow them to share costs and resources.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Will Settle the Debate
There are certain points in the plaintiff’s favor, like the fact that the plaintiffs all claim the makers of these products should have provided adequate warning labels for consumers and conducted a more thorough vetting of their products. However, that is not a guarantee that their request for consolidation into an MDL will be granted.
The defendants argue that the research they are relying on fails to provide the names of specific defective products, and they obviously want to avoid shouldering liability if their products are not at fault. At the end of this month, the JDML will hear from both sides and come to a conclusion. They recently stipulated certain conditions in a notice of hearing session memo, including a note to plaintiffs that they should be prepared to show they pursued alternatives to a multidistrict litigation.
Why Are Women Suing the Makers of Chemical Hair Relaxers?
An NIH research study revealed that the long-term use of chemical hair relaxers was causing endocrine-disrupting chemicals to accumulate in the body, leading to multiple kinds of cancer and other health issues in the reproductive system. Specifically, this study brought new information to light about the increased risk of uterine cancer and using a chemical hair relaxer four or more times a year.
Researchers found that women who used chemical hair relaxers with this frequency were at twice the risk of other women in the study for uterine cancer. This elevates the risk for many Black women, who tend to be the most consistent users of chemical hair relaxers.
Chemical Hair Relaxers Linked to Uterine Cancer, Other Reproductive System Issues
Unfortunately, other serious risks besides uterine cancer accompany the frequent use of chemical hair straighteners. Prior research discovered that chemical hair straighteners increased a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. This further validates the new claims, as breast cancer is also impacted by the same hormonal imbalances that trigger uterine cancer. Other injuries include:
If you develop any of the signs of uterine cancer or breast cancer, you should seek help from a medical professional immediately. When these types of cancers are left untreated, they can have serious consequences for fertility and even become life-threatening. Additionally, seeking prompt medical care shows that you made an effort to mitigate your damages. That means the defendants and their insurance companies will have a more difficult time diminishing or rejecting your claim.
Seeking Compensation for Damages in a Hair Relaxer Claim
The women pursuing compensation in these hair relaxer cancer lawsuits believe they have a legitimate claim to compensation based on the negligence of beauty companies like L’Oreal. They argue that beauty companies owed them a duty of care to design safe, carcinogen-free products, and to warn consumers of the risk of using their products. Further, they claim that the companies named in their product liability lawsuits are liable for their damages.
The women pursuing these claims want to be compensated for both economic and non-economic losses. The economic losses are related to damages that have had a financial impact, such as a medical bill. The non-economic losses can be just as extensive, if more complicated to quantify. It is to your benefit to hire a product liability attorney who can help you calculate what your hair relaxer claim is worth.
Examples of Damages in a Hair Straightener Cancer Claim:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital stays
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Missed promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of services and support
Seek an Experienced Hair Straightener Cancer Lawyer
If you or a loved one have developed cancer after long-term use of chemical hair relaxers or hair straighteners then consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Reaching out to a lawyer that handled hair relaxer lawsuits can provide you with essential information regarding your eligibility for compensation, the value of your damages, and how exactly a personal injury attorney can help.
There is still time to file a lawsuit against the makers of hair relaxers and straighteners if you have developed uterine cancer. This litigation can provide you with the opportunity to not only cover damages you suffered but also help ensure that the negligent companies responsible for increased uterine cancer risk see consequences.