What Do I Do If I Used a Product that Causes Cancer?Last updated on: September 14, 2021
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Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis to receive, and many people do everything they can to minimize their risk of developing the disease. They eat right, exercise, and avoid activities like sunbathing and smoking that are widely known to increase cancer risks. Sometimes though, seemingly harmless products you use daily increase your risk of cancer.
If you recently discovered that a product you use causes cancer, you’re probably wondering what to do next. You may not be sick, or you may already have developed cancer and now you suspect the product is the cause. Speaking with a products injury attorney who will advise you of your rights may help reduce some of that anxiety.
If you or a loved one have developed cancer as a result of using a cancer-causing product, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Cancer-Causing Product FAQs
If you have used or are still using a product you now know causes cancer, you likely have many questions. The following list of answers to common questions should help you learn about your rights and what you should do if you believe you have cancer because of a product you used.
What Are Some Products That Cause Cancer?
Products that can cause cancer, or increase your risk of developing cancer, are those that contain high levels of carcinogens, which are chemicals linked to cancer development. The American Cancer Society keeps a list of known carcinogens, and these carcinogens can be found in surprising places; for example, coffee contains a cancer-causing chemical called acrylamide. Carcinogens can be found in everyday products such as sugar and processed foods.
However, not all products containing trace amounts of carcinogens will cause cancer. It is when products contain toxic levels of carcinogens that the risk is too great, and the product becomes dangerous. As recently as 2021, certain brands of sunscreen needed to be recalled because there were dangerous levels of the carcinogen benzene found in the product after testing.
What Should I Do After Using a Cancer-Causing Product?
If you have been regularly using a product that causes cancer, stop using the product immediately. If you are concerned about your exposure, speak with your doctor, who may be able to tell you signs or symptoms to look out for. If you have any of the signs or symptoms discussed, your doctor may advise you to schedule an appointment and have some tests done.
Until such time that a doctor’s visit may be necessary, avoid any future use of the product. Keep any empty containers of the product and any receipts you may have that would confirm your purchase of that product and when. These will be useful later if you become sick and end up bringing a claim against a manufacturer.
What Should I Do If I Develop Cancer?
If you have already developed cancer, you should request all of your medical records from your doctor regarding your diagnosis and treatment. If you believe you know which product was the cause of your cancer, gather any evidence you can of your usage. If you have empty containers or the product, or receipts showing when and where you bought a product, keep them.
You can research the ingredients in the product to discover which carcinogens it contains. Some carcinogens have known links to certain types of cancers. For example, benzene exposure is commonly linked to leukemia. Contact a product injury attorney immediately to assess your case and begin the process to file your claim.
What Kind of Claim Do I Have?
When you have developed cancer because you used a certain product, you have a civil claim known as a products liability claim. A products liability claim occurs when someone is injured in a way that they could not have anticipated or expected by something they purchased; this type of claim can be brought against whoever designed, manufactured, sold, or furnished the product. For example, if you developed cancer due to exposure to benzene in Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen, you would have a products liability claim against the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.
If your loved one died due to cancer that developed after use of a certain product, you would have a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim brought by the surviving members of a deceased individual against another person or entity who can be held liable for the death. A wrongful death claim is treated as a personal injury claim that the deceased would have been able to bring if death had not occurred.
What Do I Need to Prove?
Products liability claims for products alleged to have caused cancer are not as straight forward as typical products liability claims. In a typical products liability claim, a victim must present evidence that a harm occurred, identify who is responsible, and prove that a certain person or company caused the harm. In a claim alleging that a product caused a victim’s cancer, proving these elements becomes difficult.
The difficulty arises in proving causation, meaning the product is what likely caused your cancer. Other issues are caused by latency periods (time between when you were exposed to a harmful product and when you developed symptoms), and proving usage. If you used a product only once or a few times, it is unlikely you could prove that the product was the cause of your illness; even if you used a product nearly every day for years, it will be difficult to prove you did so without receipts, empty product bottles, or other proof of your usage.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after you discover your illness. In a products liability case, time is of the essence.
There are important legal issues concerning time limits for your claim and the required proof needed to prevail in your case that may take time to sort out. These issues can be incredibly difficult, or nearly impossible, to deal with if you try to prove the elements of your case on your own. An experienced product injury attorney can guide you through the process and file a claim on your behalf.
After the filing of the claim and lawsuit, your attorney will represent you in negotiating with the other parties and insurance companies. It is likely that your claim will result in a settlement, and an experienced product injury lawyer will make sure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to in a settlement.
How Do I Find a Lawyer?
Finding the right lawyer may seem like a daunting task but it is easier than you think. You can start looking for attorneys by asking friends or family for recommendations. You may also want to search online for a lawyer using simple search terms such as “personal injury lawyer near me.”
You can also find lawyers through the American Bar Association online. You can also check websites of state bar associations to find a lawyer closer to you. For example, if you live near Denver, you can check the Colorado Bar Association’s website to find a Colorado products liability lawyer who specializes in the kind of case you want to bring.
You do not have to work with the first lawyer you find. You should research first and choose a personal injury attorney who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of success in pursing personal injury claims. Zinda Law Group’s personal injury lawyers nationwide have experience in products liability claims and an outstanding record of success in handling these matters for our clients.
Is There a Time Limit for My Claim?
There are two kind of time limits that are at play in a products liability case. These are called statutes of limitations and statutes of repose. These statutes operate separately from each other, yet if either one of the time limits expire, your case is “barred,” meaning you cannot bring your claim.
Statutes of Limitations
A products liability claim is a type of civil claim, and all types of civil claims have their own time limits for filing; these limits, called statutes of limitations, dictate how long a person has the right to file a particular type of claim. Cancer resulting from exposure to carcinogens in products may result in a wrongful death. The statutes of limitations for a wrongful death claim differs from that of a product liability claim in most states and vary from state to state.
For example, in Texas, the statute of limitations for a products liability claim depends upon the date of the sale of the product by the defendant. But this does not necessarily mean that a person has years from the date of his or her injury from the defective product to file a claim. You need a good products liability lawyer to help you determine how much time you have to file a claim once you have received a cancer diagnosis.
For a wrongful death claim, however, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the victim. After the two-year mark, your wrongful death claim is barred, or not allowed, and you will not be able to recover damages.
There are some circumstances that may “toll” or pause the limitations period. If you find yourself near the filing deadline, it is worth discussing your case with an experienced products liability attorney who may be able to provide valuable information and guidance regarding your state’s statute of limitations.
Statutes of Repose
A statute of repose is a law that bars a claim after some action by the would-be defendant in a case, even if the would-be plaintiff has not yet been injured. The time-period begins to run the minute the defendant acts. For a products liability statute, the action that triggers the statutory period is when the manufacturer first sells the product on the market.
Twenty states have enacted Statutes of Repose for products liability. In action, these laws completely cut off manufacturers’ liability for defects once the product reaches an arbitrary “age.” The product age limit ranges from a low of 10-years in a number of states, to a high of 15-years in others—like Texas—unless the manufacturer says useful life is longer.
For example, if a product hits the market on March 8, 2010, in a state with a 10 year statute of repose, a victim will not be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the product after March 8, 2020. In states where there are statutes of repose, there may be situations where the statute is “tolled,” or paused, if the claim in question is due to latent effects of exposure to cancer-causing products. A personal injury lawyer can tell you how a statute of repose in your state will affect the status of your claim.
If your personal injury lawsuit is successful, you will likely be awarded compensatory damages, which may be able to cover the costs associated with your accident, such as medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages; economic damages are the out-of-pocket costs associated with your injuries, while non-economic damages cover emotional and physical pain and suffering. A product injury attorney can help you pursue compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Funeral costs (in wrongful death cases)
How Zinda LAW GROUP Can Help You
If you have been diagnosed with cancer caused by exposure to carcinogens in a product, you may feel lost concerning what to do next. A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event that can have detrimental effects on not only your health but also your family. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your illness; we will guide you through the complex legal system and claims process to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family while you treat your cancer. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees; this is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. You have nothing to lose if you or a loved one have suffered injury from a cancer-causing product, so call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
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