A number of recent studies—and thousands of lawsuits—allege that there's a link between talcum powder (found in popular products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder) and serious health problems like ovarian cancer. If you're thinking about filing this kind of case, you're probably wondering what to expect in terms of the outcome (and perhaps not just in terms of winning or losing). As with most personal injury claims, the majority of asbestos/talcum powder cases will reach a settlement at some point before trial. (Get background information on asbestos/talc lawsuits.)
In the context of a personal injury case, a settlement is a legally-binding agreement between the plaintiff (the injured person) and the defendant (the person or business allegedly responsible for causing the plaintiff's harm). The plaintiff agrees to accept some amount of compensation in return for releasing the defendant from any future liability for the underlying incident. (Learn more about how a personal injury settlement works.)
A settlement over health problems linked to asbestos in talcum powder products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder will include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, cost of any future medical care, and other losses (collectively known as "damages" in legalese). The specific dollar amount depends on many variables, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff's health problems, and the strength (or weakness) of the medical evidence. Learn why a proper diagnosis is so important in an asbestos-in-talcum-powder case.
Claims over the safety of talcum powder products can sometimes be complicated by the passage of time between the plaintiff's use of the product and the development of ovarian cancer or some other serious condition. That's one of many reasons why it's often difficult for even an experienced lawyer to speculate as to what kind of settlement a claimant is likely to receive. Learn more about factors that determine the value of a talcum powder injury case.
With most kinds of lawsuits, the parties involved (and their respective lawyers) want to avoid surprises and minimize risk. Talc-asbestos cases are no exception. An ill patient usually doesn't want to risk going all the way to trial and coming away with nothing, and manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson don't want to put their financial viability or their reputations in the hands of civil juries, especially when more than a few product defect cases have led to multi-million dollar plaintiffs' verdicts, often despite less-than-airtight proof of liability.
Settling a talcum powder-cancer lawsuit also saves the parties time, money, and stress, in most instances.
Most product safety cases follow a fairly predictable timeline, but these claims can also reach an out-of-court settlement at any time. The parties might reach an out-of-court settlement on their own—sometimes before a lawsuit is even filed, or after information is exchanged through the "discovery" process and one or both sides see the proverbial writing on the wall. Court-ordered attempts at resolution (like mediation and mandatory settlement conferences) can also help coax the parties toward resolution.
It's important to keep in mind that if your talcum powder-asbestos lawsuit settles, the defendant (the manufacturer of the talcum powder product you used) will pay you an agreed-upon amount, but there won't be any admission of liability in the settlement agreement (the defendant won't admit to having done anything wrong, in other words). And chances are the agreement will require the parties to keep the terms of the settlement (including how much you received from the defendant) confidential.
It's normal to wonder how your talcum powder case might get resolved—how much compensation you might get, how long it could take—just don't expect any guarantees from an attorney. Learn more about finding the right lawyer for you and your asbestos-in-talc case.