One of the worst things to have to face is a problem resulting from taking a prescription medication. These situations are difficult on many levels. For one, the whole reason you are taking the drug in the first place is that you are dealing with a medical issue. You go to the doctor expecting to get treatment to get better and instead receive a medication that makes your situation even worse.
On top of facing a terrible medical situation, the legal challenge ahead is also going to be incredibly tough. Drug companies are big businesses and have teams of high-powered lawyers working to protect their business interests. Winning against a big pharmaceutical company will not be easy.
Class Action Lawsuits
Because of the difficulty of taking on a big pharmaceutical company, most plaintiffs do not have the resources to do it on their own. That is why the majority of cases against pharmaceutical companies are class action lawsuits. Fortunately, if you suffered from a pharmaceutical drug defect, others are likely to have had a similar experience.
By bundling complaints into a class-action lawsuit, plaintiffs have the means to be represented by a powerful team of lawyers themselves.
When Can You Sue?
If you suffered an injury from a pharmaceutical drug and you were not warned about the possibility of such an injury, and no warning was clearly listed on the packaging, you may have a case against the pharmaceutical company. The damage could be caused by a manufacturing defect, a dangerous side effect, or improper marketing. To find out if your case is worth pursuing, contact a qualified lawyer for a free drug injury case evaluation.
Burden of Proof
In cases of harm done from a pharmaceutical drug, there is a large burden of proof upon the plaintiff. In addition to taking on a corporation with a lot of money, you have the added difficulty of having to prove things that can be very tough to show. One of the things that makes these cases so hard is that you need to prove a negative.
You have to show that you were not warned about the possible dangers of the drug by your physician or the manufacturer. Your physician may be willing to testify on your behalf. They may admit that they did not warn you about the possible ill-effects because they were not made aware of them by the manufacturer.
However, your doctor may be worried that they could be at risk of a lawsuit themselves and claim that they warned you whether they knew about the problem or not. If your doctor was aware of the risk, then admitting to not telling you puts them in the crosshairs as they would have violated their duty of care.
Who Else Can Be Held Accountable?
Your doctor is not the only other party that could face a lawsuit in this type of case. Your attorney will do a thorough investigation to try to discover at what level the mistake was made that led to your injuries and hold anyone who was at fault responsible. Other parties that could find themselves facing a lawsuit are:
- The hospital where you were given the drug
- The pharmacist who distributed the drug
- The laboratories where the drug was manufactured
It all depends upon at what stage the duty of care was violated.
Drug companies are constantly doing cost-benefit analyses. They may know that a drug has problems and that they will face legal issues as a result. However, if they deem the potential cost of lawsuits to be lower than the cost of pulling the drug from the market or even putting proper warning labels on the package, they are unlikely to do it. Unfortunately, the lives and well-being of their customers rarely carry weight in these decisions.
If a drug company knows about the potential dangers but fails to properly warn the public, they are open to a lawsuit. If the medication doesn’t normally present a problem, but a manufacturing error led to the drug becoming dangerous, then the laboratory where the drug was manufactured is responsible.
If the doctor was aware of the dangers, or reasonably should have been so, then they are liable for the harm done. If the drug was administered incorrectly in the hospital, then the hospital could be held accountable. If there was a mixup at the pharmacy and the wrong medication was given to the patient, the pharmacist could face legal trouble.
Whoever was responsible, it is important to have qualified legal representation on your side in order to achieve a desirable outcome. If you are able to find others in your same position, a class action lawsuit can give you a lot more power and increase your chances of a fair settlement.
Wilma Wiliams is a law school graduate and a part-time freelance blogger, focused on various legal topics such as personal injury, and bankruptcy. She’s passionate about educating the public on fighting for their rights, which is why she’s currently collaborating with Ask LLP: Lawyers for Justice, whilst actively sharing a part of her experience as a former lawyer.