The average settlement amounts for the recent hair relaxer lawsuits in Illinois and across the country range from around $100,000 to $1,500,000, leaving a wide range of compensation awards in these cases. Different factors will influence the amount of compensation that plaintiffs can recover for the use of dangerous hair relaxer and hair straightener products that may have caused uterine cancer or other conditions.
What Is Hair Relaxer Used for?
Hair relaxers use a mixture of chemicals, including strong alkalis, to break up the disulfide bonds in curly hair’s cortex layer, straightening the hair in the process.
So, can hair straighteners cause cancer? While hair relaxers are popular among people with curly hair, their chemical composition could lead to certain types of cancers and injuries in people who regularly use these products. Some chemicals in hair relaxer products that can cause injuries and cancer include:
- Bisphenol A
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP)
So, what cancers are related to hair relaxers? The specific cancers that can develop from these and other harmful chemicals in hair relaxers could include uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
If you or a loved one has suffered either cancer or injuries because of the use of hair relaxer products, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against liable companies.
Responsibility of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Salons
Manufacturers, distributors, and salons that make, sell, or use hair relaxers should know the dangers associated with these products and warn consumers of the potential harm they could cause. Manufacturers must also maintain regulatory compliance and produce safe hair relaxers and other hair products that minimize the risk of harm to consumers.
Many brands have come under fire in the recent lawsuits because of their negligence, as more customers who use their products have developed various issues after years of using hair relaxers. Some of these brands include TCB Naturals, Just for Me, Dark and Lovely, Soft and Beautiful, Motion, and Olive Oil Girls, among others.
Steps in the Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Process
If you want to file a hair relaxer lawsuit against any company after developing injuries or cancer after regularly using a hair relaxer, there are some steps that you can expect in the legal process with each lawsuit.
The first step will involve speaking with a product liability lawyer to discuss a potential case. He or she will be able to answer questions like “how to know if I qualify for a hair relaxer lawsuit?” and “how much compensation can I expect to recover for my case?”
If the attorney determines you have a case, you may begin gathering evidence in the form of medical records and the hair relaxer products in question. You would then work with your lawyer to file a claim against the liable party before you run out of time to file, and negotiations would begin with the liable party or its insurer.
Some cases may not reach a settlement during initial negotiations. In these cases, attorneys may decide to go to court to reach a settlement in a trial setting. A judge or jury would then reach a verdict in the case and determine the settlement amount.
Most Common Injuries from Hair Relaxers
Even if you don’t develop cancer after using hair relaxers, these products could cause injuries, about which manufacturers and others should warn. The following are some common injuries that these products might cause:
Some people who use hair relaxers may experience a burning sensation, which can indicate damage to the scalp. This pain could result from sensitivity to one or more active ingredients in hair relaxer formulas.
Applying hair relaxers to areas of the scalp with damaged or thinning hair follicles could lead to hair loss in some individuals.
Other injuries could result from the use of chemical hair relaxers, such as follicle inflammation and sores, the latter of which could lead to more serious conditions such as infections and hair loss.
Factors That Impact Your Settlement Amount
If you’re wondering how much compensation you may recover in a hair relaxer lawsuit, the following are some of the factors that could influence settlement amounts. These factors are called damages, which come with quantifiable losses that contribute to the total amount of compensation:
Severity of Injuries
One of the main factors that will go into determining compensation is the extent of injuries or illness resulting from the use of hair relaxers. The more serious your condition, the more extending damages will result, subsequently increasing the amount of compensation you may recover.
As a result of your injuries or cancer, you may need to take time off from work to recover or seek treatment, which can lead to lost income. You may also be unable to work in the same capacity as you could prior to your injuries or illness, leading to loss of earning capacity.
Your injuries or illness could lead to physical pain that counts toward non-economic injuries, including burns and other types of pain that impede your ability to function in your daily life.
Many victims of hair relaxer injuries and cancers can also experience significant emotional distress because of their conditions, including depression, anxiety, and trauma resulting from the experience.
All of these factors continue to contribute to the average settlement for hair relaxer lawsuits across the country. If you want to determine whether you have a viable case, consult with an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. You may be able to file a case against a liable manufacturer, distributor, or salon that failed to warn of the dangers their products possess. In turn, you could qualify to recover total compensation for any injuries or illnesses resulting from regular use of certain hair relaxers.
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.