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What Is the Average Payout for the Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Talcum powder, a common household product, is linked to various types of health problems, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Over the last decade, the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has been hit with thousands of talcum powder lawsuits which have ended in large payments to victims through settlements and the average payout for the talcum powder lawsuit of $100,000.

Talcum Powder Use in Illinois

Talcum powder has been around for over a century in the United States. In 1894, Johnson & Johnson launched their iconic talc-based baby powder, which quickly became a popular household staple for millions of Americans. Because of its soft, smooth, and fragrant qualities, talcum powder became one of the most commonly used products in every state, including Illinois.

Talcum powder is made from talc, a natural mineral mined from the earth, then crushed into a fine powder. Unfortunately, because talc deposits are often found near asbestos underground, talc is often contaminated with asbestos, a known cancer-causing agent. Cosmetic-grade talc, the most refined form of the mineral, is supposed to be free of asbestos, but testing over the years has turned up trace amounts of asbestos in baby powder and other personal care products. Since talc absorbs moisture and oil, reduces skin friction, prevents caking, creates a smooth feel, and has a pleasant fragrance, it is commonly used in many products other than baby powder including:

  • Cosmetics (blush, eye shadow, face powder, and foundation)
  • Deodorants and body washes
  • Dry shampoos and foot powders
  • Perfumes
  • Sunscreens
  • Detergents and cleaning products

Link to Ovarian Cancer

One type of cancer that is frequently linked to talcum powder is ovarian cancer. Several studies, including a large-scale study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found an increase in ovarian cancer in women who used talc products in their genital area.

Researchers and doctors believe that the asbestos found in talc, or just the talc itself without contamination of asbestos, causes inflammation in the body that can lead to cancer. In studies, women with ovarian cancer are compared to women without ovarian cancer, and the women with ovarian cancer always report a greater use of talc products in their genital area. Due to the use of talc in cosmetics and the drying agents in talcum powder, the dangers of talc powder for women and children, especially children in diapers where baby powder is used to absorb wetness, are significantly greater.

Other Health Risks Associated With Talcum Powder Use

Talcum powder has also been linked to serious lung problems in adults. Studies show that long-term use of talcum powder in both men and women is linked to two types of lung diseases: mesothelioma and pulmonary talcosis.

Mesothelioma affects the linings of the lungs, as well as the abdomen and other internal organs. It is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that most people don’t survive, even with treatments. Most often, mesothelioma impacts the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, painful dry cough, muscle weakness, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. If the abdomen is affected, symptoms usually include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, fever, and unexplained weight loss. People with mesothelioma often don’t see symptoms for years after exposure.

Pulmonary Talcosis is a pulmonary disorder caused by the inhalation of talc. It is typically difficult to diagnose and may progress to debilitating lung disease. Symptoms are often isolated and non-specific, so a diagnosis can be difficult and not always immediate. According to medical reports, full-blown talcosis often takes years to develop. This delay in diagnosis causes many cases of talcosis to be misdiagnosed. The most common symptoms include coughing and progressive exertional dyspnea. Occupational exposure to talc dust and intravenous drug abuse are the main causes of pulmonary talcosis.

Factors Impacting Payout Amounts in Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Talcum powder lawsuits typically result in large payouts to victims. An average payout for the talcum powder lawsuit is $100,000, but it can be much higher depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, medical diagnosis and treatments, and prognosis for recovery. Once a product liability lawyer reviews the case, the average payout amount may rise considerably based on documented medical evidence and the severity of the victim’s injury.

Medical Evidence

If you decide to file a talcum powder lawsuit, submitting medical evidence is very important to a successful outcome. With documented medical evidence to validate your injuries, you may see a big jump in the average payout for the talcum powder lawsuit. Your injury lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence you need to prove your case, including:

  • Medical records from doctors
  • Medical bills from hospitals, doctors, and specialists
  • Prescription medications
  • Receipts showing purchases of talcum powder products
  • Photos and videos
  • Witness testimony

Severity of Injury

Due to the severity of the victim’s injury and the prognosis for recovery, every talcum lawsuit will have a different outcome. Some cases will go to court and some will be settled out of court, and the average payout for the talcum powder lawsuit may vary significantly between cases. Here are two examples:

  • Deborah Giannecchini v. Johnson & Johnson (October 2016) – Giannecchini had been using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder on her genitals for about 40 years. As a result, she developed ovarian cancer and was diagnosed in 2016 with an 80% chance of dying in the next two years. Fortunately, the jury ruled in her favor and awarded her $70 million and an additional $2 million paid by co defendant Imerys Talc America, one of Johnson & Johnson’s major talc suppliers.
  • Douglas Barden et al. v. Johnson & Johnson (September 2019) – Plaintiffs Douglas Barden, Will Ronning, D’Angela Mcneill-George, and David Etheridge claimed they got mesothelioma after they ingested asbestos and talc particles from using the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder. A New Jersey jury awarded them $37.2 million in compensatory damages and an additional $750 million in punitive damages.

Types of Damages in Talcum Powder Lawsuits

As talc cancer lawsuits continue to mount against Johnson & Johnson and other companies, the average payout for the talcum powder lawsuit and talcum powder lawsuit settlements continues to rise. Typical damages awarded in talcum powder lawsuits include the following:

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also referred to as tangible damages, can be easily quantified in monetary value. It’s easy to assign a monetary award because there is proof that can be provided to the court. Economic damages include medical bills for hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical treatments, rehabilitation expenses, therapy expenses, prescription medication expenses, and lost wages due to time away from work or total loss of income. Economic damages may also include expenses for necessary medical devices like wheelchairs, canes or walkers, crutches, and oxygen machines due to illness, as well as temporary or permanent in-home health care.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can’t be measured in monetary value. These types of damages are usually discretionary and can be awarded by the court based on similar cases. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering for the present and the future, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Loss of consortium is the loss of companionship and society that occurs in certain family relationships when there is a significant injury or death to one party in the relationship. In a marital relationship, this loss encompasses the loss of a spouse, love, affection and comfort, companionship, emotional support, and sexual relations. Between parents and children, this loss encompasses the loss of love, support, encouragement, instruction, and guidance that a parent would have provided to a child.

Evidence for intangible damages often includes reports from mental health professionals, the testimony of family and friends, psychological narratives, and other evidence that proves the elements of intangible damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case because they don’t compensate you for your losses. They are awarded for the sole purpose of punishing the liable party for gross negligence or actions of malice. Punitive damages also serve as a warning to other parties who might be considering engaging in similar actions of wrongful conduct.

While the links between talc and ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are still debated, thousands of women with ovarian cancer and people with mesothelioma have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. In August 2022, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would discontinue its iconic talc-based baby powder globally in 2023. However, they insist that the decision is purely financial, and their talc-based baby powder does not cause cancer.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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