If you've decided to pursue an injury claim over health problems linked to use of Roundup or a similar weed-killing product, you're probably wondering how much your case might be worth. Here's what to know at the outset:
Thousands of people who have used Roundup and have been diagnosed with certain illnesses have filed lawsuits against Bayer (the manufacturer of Roundup) in recent years. These lawsuits allege that exposure to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other types of cancer.
Eligibility for filing a Roundup lawsuit usually requires:
There's no definitive proof, but there are plenty of qualified (and differing) opinions. In 2015, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic." Four years later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans." Several studies—including 2019 research from the University of Washington—have found a causal link between Roundup and cancer. Meanwhile, health agencies in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and New Zealand have determined that there is no such link.
All that aside, there's apparently enough evidence linking glyphosate to cancer (or at least enough evidence to find that Bayer should be warning consumers of the risk of cancer linked to glyphosate) to support a number of multimillion dollar verdicts in favor of former Roundup users.
Many Roundup lawsuits have been funneled into the Roundup "multi-district litigation" (MDL), a procedure that's meant to speed up and simplify pretrial matters. As mentioned above, a handful of Roundup lawsuits have reached the trial stage. Juries handed down large plaintiffs' verdicts after the first few trials, but Bayer prevailed in the next few. Despite extensive discussion of some kind of global settlement of current and future Roundup claims, nothing definitive has emerged. Get the latest on our Roundup Lawsuit News page.
As with any injury-related case, figuring out the value of a Roundup injury claim starts with an understanding of the nature and extent of the injured person's "damages," which is a legal term that refers to compensation for losses suffered by the injured person (the plaintiff in the Roundup lawsuit), paid by the defendant in the lawsuit (in a Roundup case, that's usually Bayer/Monsanto, the manufacturer of the product, but other defendants could include retailers and employers).
Whether your Roundup case settles out of court or you receive a judgment in your favor after a trial, the compensation (money) you receive can be thought of as "damages." (Learn more about the basics of damages and compensation in a personal injury case.)
Let's look at some common categories of damages, and how each might affect the value of your Roundup lawsuit.
Any medical treatment you've received as a result of health problems linked to your use of Roundup, and any care you'll need in the future, is part of your damages. So, for example, if you've been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma or any other condition, and you've undergone treatment, the costs of all testing and treatment would be counted here.
(On a related note, if the full extent and impact of your medical problems isn't clear, it's probably not in your best interest to accept an injury settlement offer. Your attorney will almost certainly want to wait until both of you have a clear picture of this component of your damages, because once you accept an injury settlement, you can't go back and reopen your claim, even if you learn that your Roundup-related health problems are worse than you first thought.)
If a Roundup-related illness like non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has forced you to take time off from your job, or has otherwise affected your ability to earn a living, that kind of economic harm will also factor into your damages. Specifically, you are entitled to compensation for any income you've already lost because of your health problems, and for income you would have earned in the future, were it not for your health issues. In "legalese," an award based on future income is characterized as compensation for the injured person's "loss of earning capacity" or "diminished earning capacity."
While economic losses like medical bills and lost income are fairly easy to calculate, "pain and suffering" isn't so easy to quantify. But this category of damages plays a big part in determining how much you can expect to receive in an injury case, and can be a crucial component of a Roundup lawsuit in particular.
Pain and suffering is often broken down into two types. Physical pain and suffering comes from your actual physical injuries, such as the discomfort resulting from your illness and the course of care necessary to treat it (including chemotherapy and radiation therapy). Mental pain and suffering can be viewed as the subjective psychological impact of your physical pain. This includes anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, shock, sleeplessness, and other negative effects. Learn more about pain and suffering in a Roundup case.
When you file a Roundup lawsuit, you're asking the product's manufacturer or another defendant to compensate you for your damages. But you're also taking on the legal obligation to keep those damages to a reasonable minimum. The law in most states expects injury claimants to minimize or "mitigate" the financial impact of the harm caused by the defendant's alleged wrongdoing.
For example, if Monsanto or the retailer you're suing can successfully argue that you failed to get necessary medical treatment when you knew (or should have known) you were experiencing health problems related to your use of Roundup, your damages award might be significantly reduced. This is one of many reasons why it's important to have an experienced lawyer on your side in a Roundup case.