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Product Liability: Ways to Document the Cause of Your Cancer

October 11, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Product liability cases allege that the negligence of manufacturers, as well as distributors, retailers, and other parties that make consumer products available, more likely than not led to victims suffering injuries that could and should have been prevented. In many product liability cases, establishing the cause of an injury is a straightforward matter – for example, a defectively designed tire led to a blowout that caused an auto accident. In some cases, such as those involving diseases like cancer, building an effective claim requires more than simply documenting the after-effects of a crash.

Cancer and other similar diseases caused by dangerous products make for difficult personal injury and wrongful death cases because there is an inherent latency period between the time of initial and continued exposure and the presentation of symptoms. This means that diseased don’t develop right after someone engages with a product, but after years of use or exposure.

This being the case, victims and their attorneys need to effectively document the cause of their cancer and provide evidence that supports their use of or exposure to a dangerous product they allege has caused them harm. Documenting the cause of cancer is a matter that will always vary from case to case, as every potential cause, product, and victim’s exposure is unique.

Having handled many of these cases for victims across the country, our legal team at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. can help you understand ways to establish documentation in common cases we handle:

  • MesotheliomaMesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Because the latency period of developing mesothelioma can range between 10 years to upwards of 50, establishing documentation once a diagnosis has been made can become a problem complicated by time. Often, as occupational exposure is a leading cause, victims and families can collect documentation regarding the type of work a victims performed throughout their life (such as industrial or maintenance work), as well as when and for how long they worked around asbestos and asbestos-containing products (attorneys can help in establishing correlation to asbestos products). Victims may also want to collect documentation regarding homes located near naturally occurring asbestos mines, service in the military, and other known risk factors that can be further explored with the help of a lawyer.
  • Talcum Powder – Several studies have found links between long-term talcum powder use by women and increased risks of developing ovarian cancer. Documentation in this type of case may require proof that an individual used talcum powder regularly, which may be established through product receipts and testimony from witnesses, including medical expert witnesses. It is also important to note the specific brands and products that were used.
  • Fibroid Morcellation – Morcellation is a surgical approach used to remove large masses of tissue from the body. When used to remove fibroids, or non-cancerous growths on the uterus, or during a hysterectomy, there are risks that the cancerous tissue can be spread throughout the body. In fact, the FDA has warned against using a morcellator in fibroid surgery due to significant increased risks of uterine cancer. Unlike other long-term use or exposure product liability cases, the cause of cancer here stems from one likely event. As such, victims’ documentation would consist of showing the surgery performed and other relevant medical records, as well as testimony from medical experts.

Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. is comprised of national trial attorneys who draw from over 170 combined years of experience to fight for the injured, including those who suffered harm as a result of dangerous and defective products. To discuss a potential case, contact us for a free consultation.