Dangerous Drugs and Product Liability Law
It is difficult for a consumer to adequately assess the safety of a drug before taking it based on limited knowledge. Instead we rely on others such as drug manufacturers, distributors, doctors and pharmacists to help us make the right decision regarding pharmaceutical drugs. While many drugs do what they are intended to do and help relieve our pain or improve our health, some drugs are defective and dangerous. If you have suffered injuries, or a loved one has died, because of a defective or dangerous drug then you may be entitled to damages.
When is a Drug Defective?
There are three ways in which a dangerous drug can be found defective and defendants can be found liable for injuries resulting from the drug’s use. Specifically, a drug can be found defective for any of the following reasons:
- Defective Design: if the drug was dangerous because of the way that it was designed and a person was injured as a result then a possible cause of action exists. Dangerous side effects that show up years after the drug has been on the market may be classified as a defective design, for example.
- Defective Manufacturing: a drug may also become defective in the manufacturing phase. The design may be safe but a step may have been altered during the manufacturing phase that was not recognized by quality control causing a defective drug to enter the market.
- Defective Marketing or Failure to Warn: if marketing, advertising or personal counseling from a doctor or pharmacist failed to warn you of the drug’s dangers then the drug is considered dangerous or defective and you may have a cause of action.
Generally, you will need to prove that the drug was defective in at least one of the ways described above and that you were injured as a result of that defect. Many times a defective drug product liability case involves more than one of the above theories and is brought against more than one defendant.
Who May be Sued for Injuries Caused by a Defective Drug?
The defendants in your case will depend on when you allege the drug became defective. If the drug was defective in the design or manufacturing phase for example, then the drug’s manufacturer and testing laboratory may be defendants. If the drug was defective because of defective marketing or because you did not receive proper warnings about the drug’s side effects then you may have a claim against the drug’s manufacturer, pharmaceutical representative, your doctor who prescribed the drug, a hospital or clinic which provided the drug to you and the pharmacy which filled your prescription.
What are the Potential Damages in a Dangerous Drug Product Liability Lawsuit?
If you are successful in proving that one or more defendants is responsible for the injuries you incurred due to a defective product then you may be entitled to damages. Compensation can be significant and may include past and future lost wages, medical bills, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering.
If you have suffered injuries from a defective drug then it is important to contact a product liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and potential recovery.