Prescription drug use is extremely common in the United States, with figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that nearly half of all Americans took at least one medication at some point between 2011 and 2014. What is discussed less often, though, is what happens when something goes wrong with these drugs. Bad drug design, poor manufacturing processes, and loopholes or other issues with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process can all lead to consumers suffering serious harm that could have been prevented.
If you have been hurt by a prescription drug, under certain circumstances you may be eligible to receive compensation in a court of law. Here’s what you should know about prescription drug lawsuits and the damages you could be owed.
Prescription Drug Lawsuits
Many drugs have side effects, and a negative outcome is not always something that can result in the need for a lawsuit. However, there are several specific situations in which a lawsuit may be warranted. A product liability lawsuit enables consumers who have been hurt by a drug to seek restitution when:
- The drug has been marketed improperly. There are strict rules about the marketing of prescription drugs. A “failure to warn” lawsuit alleges that a company did not appropriately warn doctors or patients of a particular risk associated with a product, improperly labeled the packaging, or didn’t include the right safety warnings.
- There are manufacturing defects with the drug. When something goes wrong with the process of manufacturing the drug, the consequences can be severe. Bacterial or fungal contamination, contamination by other drugs or substances, or other material problems with the way drug is made can result in harm that consumers can seek relief for.
- There are defects in the drug design itself. Many medications have the potential to harm as well as heal. A key consideration is whether the benefits outweigh the risks. In some cases, it has been discovered that a drug has been released into the market, yet it carries clear risks that far outweigh any benefits.
When something has gone wrong with a drug in one of these ways, the manufacturer may be held liable. However, there are other parties that may share a legal burden, as well. The doctor who prescribed the drug, the clinic or hospital in which you received the medication, the pharmacy that dispensed the drug, or even a pharmaceutical company sales representative all potentially share responsibility for what happened, depending on the specifics of the situation.
Damages in a Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
It’s likely that you may join a class action lawsuit, or your case may be heard as part of a multi-district litigation, rather than an individual lawsuit. The damages that you may be able to receive depend on your individual case, so talk with your attorney about your situation. You may be able to receive compensatory or economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some situations, punitive damages, as well. Some of the common damage awards that injured patients may receive in a drug lawsuit can include:
- Medical costs. This is the most fundamental economic damage award and includes any and all medical expenses related to the incident, including trips to the hospital, doctor or clinic visits, surgery, medication, and follow-up care, including physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Lost wages. If the injury cost you time away from work, you may be eligible for compensation for the time you missed. Similarly, if the illness cost you your ability to do your job, you may be able to receive compensation for future lost income, as well.
- Other expenses. If the injury resulted in other non-medical expenses, you may be able to receive compensation for those, as well. This can include travel or transportation charges related to the injury, the costs of household help for activities you can no longer perform, and child care expenses while you’re seeking treatment. If you lost a loved one due to the drug, funerary expenses may also be covered.
- Pain and suffering. A dangerous drug injury can be painful and traumatic, and you may be awarded damages for the pain and suffering that the injury caused you.
Punitive damages are a form of damage award that is sometimes awarded in dangerous drug lawsuits, as well. This type of damage award is used to punish companies for the worst kinds of misdeeds, and to discourage similar behavior in the future.
Get Legal Help Today
To protect your legal right to seek compensation, it is important to start the process of making a claim as soon as possible. A dangerous drug lawyer with experience in dealing with dangerous drug lawsuits can investigate your injury and help you determine what your best legal option is to move forward with your claim.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been representing those who have been hurt by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices for years, and we are here to help you and your family start your claim today. To begin the recovery process with a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us by phone, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.