How much will a hair relaxer lawsuit be worth? Victims have many questions about hair relaxer settlements. But the biggest question we get is what settlement payouts can victims expect.
The emergence of the hair relaxer class action lawsuit has prompted speculation on how this litigation will play out and what a hair relaxer global settlement payout might look like.
In this post, our lawyers will look at the potential settlement value of hair relaxer lawsuits involving uterine cancer, and other conditions linked to hair relaxers.
Do we know what your compensation amount will be? No. It is way too early in the litigation to know. But lawyers do speculate as to what the average hair relaxer settlement might be. We share that speculation with you here because victims deserve to know what attorneys are thinking about potential settlement payouts.
Hair Relaxer Linked to Cancer
A hair relaxer or hair straightener is a chemical cosmetic product used primarily by Black women to flatten out their hair. The product is applied every 4-8 weeks in a process called getting a “perm” which involves applying the straightener to the base of the hair and letting it “cook.”
Hair relaxers contain high levels of strong chemicals, such as phthalates. Phthalates are particularly harmful to the human body because they are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs interfere with the body’s production of important hormones, such as estrogen.
Over the last two decades, a growing body of scientific research has emerged regarding the harmful effects of long-term exposure to phthalates in hair relaxers.
In October 2022, the results of a groundbreaking long-term study at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (called the “Sister Study”) were released.
The Sister Study is really the seminal event that triggered the flood of hair relaxer lawsuits. The study found that frequent use of chemical hair relaxers (over 4 times per year) over long-time periods increased the risk of uterine cancer by 150%.
The results of the Sister Study were definitive proof that hair relaxer was linked to uterine cancer.
Chronic exposure to the chemicals in hair straightener products has also been linked to increased risks of breast cancer, and other health conditions involving the female reproductive system such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
Which chemicals? DEHP, or diethylhexyl phthalate, is a chemical that is commonly added to plastics to make them softer and more flexible. It is often found in everyday consumer products such as shower curtains, vinyl flooring, medical devices, and children’s toys. When DEHP is released into the environment, it can contaminate food and water supplies.
Unfortunately, DEHP is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones in the body. This can lead to reproductive and developmental problems, including infertility, cancer, and developmental issues. Scientists talk about how DEHP mimics the female hormone estrogen, which can cause hormonal imbalances. Think about that. Children are using these products.
To address these health concerns, many countries have put regulations in place to limit the use of DEHP and other phthalates in consumer products. For example, the European Union has banned DEHP from use in children’s toys, and the United States has placed restrictions on its use in children’s products. But children are using hair relaxers and their connection to the chemical putting it on their bodies is far more invasive than playing with a toy, right?
Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit
Very soon after the publication of the NIH Sister Study in October 2022, hair relaxer product liability lawsuits began getting filed.
The first hair relaxer case was filed in federal court in Chicago and many more have been filed since then. All of these cases involve women alleging that their long-term use of hair relaxer products caused them to develop cancer. So far, all of the hair relaxer lawsuits have been uterine cancer cases, but cases involving breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and other conditions will soon follow.
Now we have a new hair relaxer class action lawsuit that will house all federal hair relaxer lawsuit in New York This means that if you live in California, Florida, Texas, or any other state and you file a hair relaxer in federal court, your case will be transferred to New York.
Thousands of hair relaxer lawsuits are expected to be filed as we move forward. The size of the potential plaintiff field for this litigation is very large. Any woman who regularly used hair relaxer and was later diagnosed with uterine cancer is a potential plaintiff. Over 60,000 uterine cancer cases are diagnosed each year. Even if only 10% of these cases involve women who used hair relaxer, that would yield a very large population. Not to mention the uterine fibroids and other endometrial cancer of which there will be tens of thousands.
A motion was filed with the JPML seeking to have all of the future hair relaxer lawsuits consolidated into a new class action MDL. There was a hearing on January 26, 2023, to hear the motion hair relaxer attorneys have filed seeking consolidated proceedings in an MDL. This request was granted and we now have a hair relaxer class action lawsuit in New York.
Potential Hair Relaxer Global Settlement
Most product liability class action lawsuits are eventually resolved in what is referred to as a global settlement. In a global settlement, the various defendants in the litigation agree to set aside a large sum of money to be used to make coordinated settlements with all the plaintiffs.
The settlement payout received by individual plaintiffs is usually based on a tiered system in which plaintiffs are ranked into different categories based on the severity of their injuries and the strength of their case.
Plaintiffs in Tier I get higher settlement payouts, while lower-tier plaintiffs receive lesser amounts. Putting cases in tiers to estimate settlement payouts is a bit artificial – a detailed points system is how compensation will likely be distributed in a class action settlement – but it is useful here to illustrate how these lawsuits will be valued for a hair relaxer settlement.
The one thing that we can tell you – and you would have heard this at a lawyers’ conference in February 2022 if you were there – lawyers like these cases. A lot.
Estimated Settlement Amounts for a Hair Relaxer Uterine Cancer Lawsuit
In the hair relaxer class action, uterine cancer cases are going to be in the top settlement tier. The scientific causation evidence connecting hair relaxer use to uterine cancer (the Sister Study) is very strong. Moreover, uterine cancer is a more severe injury compared to uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
Our lawyers estimate that the settlement payout for hair relaxer uterine cancer cases could range from $300,000 to $1,750,000. The reason that this value estimate range is so wide is that individual uterine cancer cases could have vastly different valuations depending on specific circumstances.
For example, a uterine cancer case involving a plaintiff in her late 20s with no children will have a much higher value compared to a uterine cancer case involving a plaintiff in her 60s. But that does not mean the woman in her 60s does not have a claim that has real value for settlement or in front of a jury.
- Learn more about filing a hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuit
Estimated Settlement Amounts for a Hair Relaxer Endometriosis Lawsuit
Hair relaxer cases in which the plaintiff’s primary injury is endometriosis will be lower on the settlement tier scale for two reasons. First, the causation evidence linking endometriosis to hair relaxer is not nearly as strong as the causation evidence for uterine cancer. This makes proving these cases more difficult, which brings down their potential settlement value.
The second reason for the lower value on endometriosis cases is that this condition is not as severe as uterine cancer. Endometriosis can be extremely painful and can often cause fertility problems, but it is not potentially life-threatening like cancer.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, our lawyers expect that hair relaxer lawsuits involving endometriosis as the primary injury could have a settlement payout value of around $110,000 to $300,000.
- Learn more about filing a hair relaxer endometriosis lawsuit
Uterine fibroid hair relaxer lawsuits will be Tier II cases for settlement purposes. The causation evidence establishing an association between uterine fibroids and chronic use of hair relaxer products solid, but a uterine fibroid is a less severe injury compared to uterine cancer. Uterine fibroids are painful and may require surgery, but they are not deadly.
For these reasons, our attorneys estimate that hair relaxer lawsuits involving uterine fibroids as the primary injury will have a settlement payout value of $150,000 to $500,000. This is slightly above the estimate for endometriosis cases but below uterine cancer cases.
- Learn more about filing a hair relaxer uterine fibroids lawsuit
Estimated Settlement Amounts for a Hair Relaxer Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit
The causation evidence linking hair relaxer use to higher rates of ovarian cancer is pretty strong. The Sister Study results show that women who use hair relaxer have a 50% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The only hair relaxer injury with more compelling causation evidence is uterine cancer, where the Sister Study found that hair relaxer increased the cancer risk by 150%.
Our hair relaxer lawyers currently estimate that a successful ovarian cancer case could have a settlement value of $400,000 to $750,000 if they move forward. Ovarian cancer has a lower survival rate than uterine cancer, but we adjusted the estimated value down somewhat to account for the fact that the difference in the causation evidence.
- Learn more about hair relaxer and ovarian cancer.
Contact Us About Filing a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit
Our firm is currently investigating product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair perm and hair relaxer products cause uterine cancer, breast cancer, and other conditions.
If you think you qualify for a lawsuit involving chemical hair straightener, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.