Americans who have been injured by their use of pharmaceutical medications may not realize they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. There are several types of claims that an attorney can help file if you have been injured from your prescriptions.
Companies can be held liable through a type of product liability suit due to defectively manufactured drugs, failing to appropriately warn consumers of potential known side effects, dangerous side effects and improper marketing of medications. Lawsuits can be individual ones or as part of a class-action suit and can include several different claims.
Drug companies can be liable if they have either manufactured defective medications or the medications have been tainted in some way. Liability can be found for defects in manufacturing at any point along the chain from the manufacturing facility to the location where you receive your prescription. Defects can occur during the manufacturing process, shipping process, at the pharmacy itself or during labeling.
Failing to Warn
Companies have a legal obligation to warn consumers of potentially dangerous and known side effects. When they fail to provide warnings of a side effect they had reason to know about, they can be held liable with a claim under this category.
Dangerous Side Effects
When drugs do not have manufacturing defects but still have serious side effects, companies can still be held liable. Commonly, claims in this category result from the appearance of side effects sometimes occurring years after the medication was first placed on the market. In these types of claims, injured people can get punitive damages in addition to compensatory ones if they are able to prove that the manufacturer knew about and concealed the side effect information.
Improper marketing of drug claims cover a variety of issues. If warnings are not included, a claim may fall under this category. Other improper marketing claims can include poor labeling, inadequate or bad instructions regarding safe use and improper advice regarding recommended uses. The improper information could have been provided by the manufacturer, the doctor or pharmacist.
Class Action versus Individual Lawsuits
People who have been injured by drugs that are prescribed to a broad range of people may be eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit against the involved companies. Class action lawsuits are often filed when many people have taken a prescription and have suffered injuries from it. Even if a class action lawsuit is already pending, you may still be able to file your own separate lawsuit if your injuries are different from those suffered by others who have taken the drug.
Potential defendants can include drug manufacturers, drug testing labs, pharmacies, sales representatives, doctors and hospitals. When a doctor, clinic or hospital is a defendant, you may also have a separate claim under medical malpractice law.
What Must be Proven
In order to win your lawsuit, you will have to prove all of the following:
- You suffered injury
- The medication was improperly manufactured or marketed; AND
- Your injury was caused by the defect.
Time to File
The time you have to file a claim is limited by state law called the “statute of limitations”. If time period passes, the ability to file is permanently lost. For dangerous side effects that only become known years after the product is on the market, the statute begins running from the date the injury first became known. It is important to schedule an appointment with an attorney as soon as you are aware of it to make certain you do not lose your ability to bring a suit.
How we can help you
Damages or injuries caused as a result of a pharmaceutical defect, improper warnings, dangerous side effects or improper marketing may be grounds for a lawsuit.
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