Your physical appearance is important for self-confidence, giving you a boost with personal relationships and poise with professional pursuits. For many people, looking good starts with the hair. In a perfect world, you would be blessed with the gorgeous locks you always wanted, but the truth is that a great number of people seek help in this department. The good news is that there are numerous products and services available in both stores and salons.
However, recent studies have revealed that some products cause harm to users. The American Cancer Society reported on the shocking findings, which show a link between hair relaxers and cancer in women. There were no similar findings when reviewing cancer and use of hair dyes, highlights, perms, and other treatments.
The disturbing report has prompted many women to take legal action, so there are already lawsuits pending against the manufacturers of hair straighteners. The basis of these cases is the concept of products liability, which takes different forms. If you were affected or have concerns about developing cancer, it is wise to consult with an Atlanta hair relaxer lawsuit attorney about your rights. An overview is also helpful.
Product Liability for Hair Straighteners
The concept of product liability holds companies accountable when they manufacture a dangerous, defective item that causes harm to the end user. There are different theories falling under the product liability umbrella, so there are also different factors on proof.
- Negligence imposes liability on a manufacturer who does not use reasonable care to ensure the safety of the product, leading to a risk of injuries.
- Companies may include warranties when selling products, either expressly in writing or implied by the nature of the product. Breach of warranty is grounds for a product liability action.
- The most frequently used theory for defective products is strict liability. You do not need to prove that the manufacturer was at fault, but you need evidence showing the item was dangerous due to flaws.
How Manufacturers Violate the Law
In the pending hair relaxer lawsuits, a primary claim made by plaintiffs is that the manufacturers failed to warn women about the link between the product and cancer. Under product liability law, this is considered a labeling error because the company should have alerted users to the risk.
Other types of mistakes that are covered by product liability laws include:
- Manufacturing errors, where there is an issue with production that affects the products created during that session; and,
- Design errors, in which the problem is inherent in the blueprints of the product. All items manufactured in accordance with the flawed design are affected and could cause injuries to the user.
Some of the pending hair relaxer lawsuits also claim design errors, since it is an ingredient in the product that creates the cancer link.
Link Between Hair Relaxers and Cancer
There are very technical, medical, and chemical topics involved with the hair straightener cases, but the basic allegation is that these products cause cancer. Hair relaxers are powerful chemicals to get the intended effect of permanent, smooth strands. The ingredients in these products affect estrogen receptor activity, leading the woman’s body to produce higher levels of progesterone and estrogen. Both of these hormones are linked to uterine cancer.
Among all cancers affecting women, uterine cancer ranks sixth globally. According to the American Cancer Society, women who were exposed to hair relaxers through home or salon use are almost twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. Women who admitted frequent use of straighteners, at least 4 times or more in the last 12 months, were up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer from uterine cancer.
Summary of Class Action Suits
It is early in the lifecycle of many of the lawsuits that have already been filed, but there is a good chance that they will eventually be transitioned into a class action suit. The US civil law system allows cases to be joined together when:
- There are numerous plaintiffs suing the same defendant or group of defendants.
- The cases involve similar sets of facts, such as women developing uterine cancer after using hair relaxers;
- To resolve the cases, a court will apply similar laws or legal principles; and,
- Other factors make a class action appropriate.
When joining a class action, you become one of the many plaintiffs, even if not named. This means you share in the recovery. However, in an individual suit, you may be eligible to recover:
- Medical costs for cancer care, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, hospitalization, and other treatment;
- Lost wages, if you were unable to work because of cancer effects and treatment;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional distress; and,
- Compensation for the other ways cancer affects your quality of life.
In addition, if someone close to you died from uterine cancer linked to hair relaxers, you may have rights in a wrongful death lawsuit. These claims provide compensation to the surviving family members who suffer because of losing their loved ones.
Legal Help with Hair Relaxer Lawsuit:
When you think of the manufacturers of hair straightening products, you realize that you are up against major corporations in pursuing your remedies. It is critical to retain knowledgeable legal counsel who will aggressively enforce your rights under Georgia product liability laws. Your hair relaxer attorney supports your needs by:
- Reviewing your circumstances and assessing your options;
- Consulting with you about options, including a potential class action;
- Gathering evidence, including your medical records;
- Filing a claim with the hair straightener manufacturer;
- Attempting to negotiate a settlement with the company; and,
- Suing in court and going through litigation, if the manufacturer will not agree to pay a fair amount.
Trust Our Atlanta Hair Product Cancer Lawyers to Protect Your Rights
If you developed cancer or were otherwise affected by use of hair straighteners, please contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys. You may have legal remedies, either as an individual or a member of a class. We can advise you on your options, so call (800) 788-3311. or visit us online to schedule a free case assessment.