When Medication Causes Harm
I have been injured by medication my doctor gave me. Do I have a claim?
Unfortunately, not all medications available on the market are safe to persons taking them. Many drugs benefit the user in the way they are intended. However, drugs that do not act as intended and cause serious harm to the user are known as dangerous drugs. If you or a loved one has been injured by using a dangerous drug, you may have a claim for the injuries you have suffered. It is important to seek an attorney to discuss any potential claims you may have.
Victims of dangerous medications usually have a personal injury claim. Yet, additional claims may be appropriate depending on the facts of your case. Other claims may be medical negligence and wrongful death. If you have an action for personal injuries caused by using a harmful medication, there are a few legal claims that may be possible. You may have a claim against the manufacturer of the drug, the doctor who prescribed you the drug and/or the pharmacist who dispensed the drug. If you have a claim against the manufacturer of the dangerous drug, you may have a claim of warranty fraud or a failure to warn claim. In a failure to warn action, the plaintiff (injured party or family member of an injured party) must show that the company knew about the harmful side effects and/or injuries that could occur when taking the drug. The company then failed to warn potential victims or doctors of the probable injuries. The manufacturer may also have issued warnings listing possible risks of taking the medication, however these warnings may have minimized the dangers or not described the dangers adequately, these actions may also fall under a failure to warn. Either by failing to warn potential victims or falsifying information, the company placed the harmful drug on the market.
Additionally, injured persons may have a claim against their doctor for prescribing them the dangerous medication that caused their injury. In some cases the physician may have ignored warnings about possible risks and likewise failed to warn patients of these risks. The doctor may also have failed to act as a reasonable doctor would in a similar situation by not monitoring the party using the drug and/or not recognizing symptoms of injuries until it was too late. These actions may be for professional negligence.
What type of damages can I seek in a personal injury claim?
If a medication has caused you injury, you will most likely be seeking financial compensation (damages) for your injuries. In order for the court to award damages, you will have to prove the four elements of a personal injury tort case. The four elements are that the defendant owed a duty to you (the plaintiff), that duty was breached by the defendant, the breach caused the injury you sustained and that you were, in fact, injured as a result of taking the dangerous medication. If you have proved your case, the court will look at the amount of loss you have incurred, such as costs of medical care and treatment, loss of earnings, the severity of the injuries suffered, the amount of future assistance you may need and other factors depending on the facts of your case. In some cases, the court or jury may also award punitive damages (in addition to compensatory damages). Punitive damages will often consider the amount of pain and suffering the victim experienced. These types of damages are intended to punish the defendants for their wrongdoing, as pain and suffering can never be sufficiently compensated.