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Pharmaceutical liability case may go to Supreme Court

Pharmaceutical companies have produced a multitude of products that fight disease, alleviate pain and improve quality of life. In some instances, they are motivated to make new products available as quickly as possible in order to recover capital spent on research and development. In their rush to take products to market, inadequate testing and improper labeling can expose consumers to significant risks.

Consumer protection with regard to pharmaceuticals is a relatively new, but very important, area of product liability. The Supreme Court in 2009 said that juries could award monetary damages to consumers who filed suits against drug manufacturers for injuries caused by FDA-approved products.

Largest award ever for pharmaceutical liability

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a verdict in the case of a New Hampshire woman’s pharmaceutical liability lawsuit against a drug manufacturer. Legal experts expect that the case may find its way to the Supreme Court.

In 2010, the woman was awarded $21.6 million by a federal jury. While taking anti-inflammatory medication for shoulder pain, she suffered severe burns to 65 percent of her body. She is now legally blind and cannot eat normally, engage in sexual or aerobic activity and has been disfigured by burns to her face and body.

Consumer protection and pharmaceutical liability

Although a case of this type is rare, it obviously points to the responsibility drug manufacturers, pharmacists and physicians have for ensuring that the pharmaceuticals they make, prescribe and dispense do not cause harm to their patients.

Prescriptions are not the only types of products that fall into this area of product liability. Potentially harmful side effects can be caused by

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Herbal supplements
  • Vitamins
  • Defective medical devices

Pharmaceutical companies and their insurance companies have skilled attorneys on their side whose objective is to limit the liability of their clients. If you have been injured, you have a legal right to receive financial compensation for the damages you have suffered. A product liability attorney in New York with experience in pharmaceutical liability increases the chances of a favorable outcome.

What to do in a Product Liability Case

There are an infinite number of ways a person can be injured by a defective product. There is also any number of companies who could be found responsible if an injury occurs.

Anyone associated with the production, design, manufacture (even manufacturers of component parts), retailer and wholesalers may be liable. An experienced product liability attorney will be a tremendous asset to your case and can mean the difference in being fully compensated for your injury.

Here are things you need to do if you are injured due to a defective product of any kind:

Get medical treatment.

Do not wait for any reason. Initial medical reports are effective evidence. Also, make sure to follow your doctor’s orders and document pain, stress and unseen injuries.

Save the product as is.

Do not destroy or alter it in any way. It becomes evidence in your case. Try to find paperwork such as instructions and operating manuals.

If you’re injured at work…

Report the accident and get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. Make sure to take pictures of the accident scene, if possible.

Speak to an attorney.

A product liability case requires a tremendous amount of preparation. Investigation is required to determine if the defect occurred in design, manufacturing or if there was inadequate warning outlining any dangers associated with normal use.

Do not accept a settlement, if offered, before speaking to an attorney. To do so may limit your ability to collect for damages in the future. Also, don’t give a recorded statement or sign anything without counsel.

An experienced product liability attorney increases the chances of a favorable outcome. If you’ve been injured, seek the advice of reputable law firm.