If you have a preexisting medical condition or have undergone a major surgery, you depend on prescription medications. These powerful drugs can alleviate pain after surgery and control the symptoms of your ongoing disease. But in some cases, the drug manufacturer or the pharmacist may make mistakes that have long-term consequences.
Think of the opening scene from It’s A Wonderful Life where the distraught pharmacist puts a tiny dose of poison in one of the capsules he gives to delivery boy George Bailey. Had George delivered the pills to the intended recipient, the patient could have died. What’s more, the pharmacist would have been held liable for the damages.
When accidents or intentional oversights cause abnormal side effects or additional injuries, you can rely on the legal system to help you find just compensation. Consult the suggestions below to find out if your injury qualifies you for a pharmaceutical negligence lawsuit.
Know the Legal Terms
Experts estimate that one person in the United States suffers from a prescription drug mistake every single day. Since this problem continues to grow, legal professionals now specialize in malpractice law to help injured parties.
You can help your team of attorneys by familiarizing yourself with the terminology of malpractice. The four main causes of pharmaceutical malpractice include:
- Improper prescription of medicine
- Improper filling of prescriptions
- Defective drug recalls
- Negative side effects from prescriptions
Both the doctors who prescribe medicinal remedies and the pharmacists who fill prescriptions have the responsibility to protect patients.
When your doctor neglects to warn you about possible side effects or doesn’t take into account other medications you take, he or she bears the responsibility of the injuries you incur. If, on the other hand, your doctor gave you the proper instructions but the medicine you ordered has problems, then the pharmacist holds the blame.
Track Your Side Effects
To find out if your injuries or side effects resulted from malpractice, you’ll need to keep a record of what you experience and when the problems started. Sometimes the effects of a particular medication take weeks or even months to manifest themselves, so don’t forget to keep track even months down the road.
Even if you do experience negative side effects, you’ll need more information to prove that pharmaceutical negligence directly caused your injuries. Consult your doctor to see if an underlying medical problem or other external circumstances could have caused you harm.
Once you’ve determined the cause of your injury, you’ll want to compare your experience with the drug company’s recommendations as well as the regulations on the food and drug industry. These three steps will help you correctly identify the source of your injuries.
- Read the Label. Prescription drugs are supposed to have all of the information about your health risks right on the label. If the warnings are written down, you might not be able to sue. Read all the fine print to see if your side effects count.
- Scour the News. Recall and lawsuit notices usually get printed soon after the drug company posts a recall. With the online news media at your fingertips, you won’t have any trouble finding the information that matches your experience.
- Ask the FDA. Read through the Food and Drug Administration publications online to see if they’ve published anything about your particular prescription drugs. The FDA has the responsibility to publish up-to-date information warning consumers about any product problems, so check the website frequently.
Talk to Your Legal Counsel
As soon as you’ve identified the source of your suffering, contact a legal professional who specializes in medical and pharmaceutical malpractice. Because of the increasing volume and cost of malpractice suits, drug companies or medical personnel may try to apologize to you or settle out of court. You may receive offers before you know the full extent of your injuries or before you find other class action suits that could benefit you.
An experienced malpractice lawyer can advise you on the best way to proceed through every step of the legal process. Your attorney will also help you determine if you have enough evidence to settle in court, or if it would be in your best interest to settle elsewhere.
Take advantage of the legal advice available to you and schedule a consultation with a qualified attorney.
The longer you wait to involve an attorney, the more you risk losing the case altogether. Many states have differing statutes of limitation, a legal regulation that makes your claim invalid if you let too much time pass after your injury.
Most malpractice cases involve a long, arduous process before you’ll receive the settlement you deserve. Ask your attorney about the deadlines for statutes of limitations in your state, and talk to him or her often throughout the process.
Remember that you don’t have to feel alone when you suffer from pharmaceutical negligence. Thanks to the legal system, you have a team of allies who will work with you to determine the best way to receive compensation.
If you read these tips and suspect that you’ve been the victim of pharmaceutical malpractice, schedule a consultation with your attorney and start the process of healing.