Prescription drugs are a vital component of the country's healthcare system, but sometimes they can cause harm. When this occurs, you might need to decide whether to pursue legal action for any negative consequences to your health. This article looks at some of the key things to know if you are ever harmed by a prescription drug.
Lawsuits relating to the negative effects of prescription drugs are usually pursued under a legal concept called product liability. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent, only that the product was defective or that an adequate warning against possible harm was not given.
In practice, this means that, as a plaintiff, you must show that the product was defectively manufactured or designed or had serious side effects that you were not warned about. It's possible that these categories could be combined in some instances. For example, you might claim that a drug had a design defect and also that you were not adequately warned about potential side effects.
An important exception to the product liability doctrine is known as the "unavoidably unsafe product" rule. This rule recognizes that some products, including some prescription drugs, have inherent risks even if they were manufactured and designed properly. If a court feels that a drug is useful enough to be beneficial to many people despite the risks involved, it may decide that the drug is unavoidably unsafe. In this case, a lawsuit against a drug company is unlikely to succeed.
Another important consideration in prescription drug lawsuits involves recalls. If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled a particular drug, this could of great assistance to your case. If there is a recall, you could be eligible to join a class-action suit against the drug company, such as one that occurred against the manufacturer of a prominent anticoagulant drug in 2008.
The damages you might receive in a prescription drug product liability case are the same as you would get in a typical personal injury civil suit. You are eligible for economic compensation for any lost income or medical bills, as well as for any pain and suffering. If the actions of the defendant were especially egregious, you could also be awarded punitive damages.
For more information about filing a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.