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If you were prescribed a drug that you should not be on, the effects can be life-threatening. Whether the drug reacts poorly with other medications you are on, causes an allergic reaction, or is the wrong dose for your needs, if it causes injuries, you may have options. When you take a dangerous drug as a result of a pharmacist, doctor, or manufacturer’s negligence, a practiced personal injury attorney can hold them liable for your damages. After the diagnosis, call a Mercer County dangerous drugs lawyer for advice on your next steps.
What is a Dangerous Drug?
A dangerous drug can be one that you receive as a prescription or an over-the-counter medication that was not labeled properly. Injuries resulting from taking a dangerous drug can include a heart attack, kidney failure, life-threatening anaphylaxis, and wrongful death.
Starting a dangerous drug lawsuit is not a simple process since determining who is at fault can be complex. Your injuries may be the fault of the doctor prescribing the medication, the pharmaceutical company, the pharmacist filling the prescription, or the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because there are several paths that a drug may travel before it reaches you, an experienced Mercer County dangerous medications lawyer can help you assess who should be named in your claim.
The Duty of Care Owed to You as A Patient in Mercer County
Based on who you are filing a claim against, the duty of care may vary. For example, if filing a claim against a doctor, you must show that their negligence in prescribing the drug caused you harm. Negligence can be established by proving the following:
- The doctor owed you a duty of care as his or her patient
- The doctor breached that duty of care by prescribing a harmful medication that another doctor under the same conditions would not have prescribed
- The breach caused you harm upon taking the medication
- You are now seeking damages because of your injuries
When is the U.S. FDA at-Fault?
The FDA is a government agency that regulates and determines the safety of drugs prior to their release. It is almost impossible to bring a claim against the FDA, because of the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity. Because they are a government agency, they are immune from civil or legal action, unless they consent to be sued. If there is consent, it may be because someone acting on their behalf commits a tort or a civil infraction.
A Pharmacist’s Duty of Care
Like doctors, pharmacists also have a duty of care to patients. Pharmacists possess the knowledge and experience to understand when certain drugs are not compatible with others. A pharmacist has a duty to warn of potential side effects and harmful drug interactions and to catch errors made by a physician. A pharmacist may breach their duty if:
- They dispense the wrong medication to a patient
- The prescription is read incorrectly
- An error is made by a member of the staff filling the prescriptions
Class Action Lawsuits
Filing a class-action lawsuit may be an option if you find that you are not the only person who has suffered injuries at the hand of the same pharmaceutical company. This saves time in the legal system and may lead to a speedier settlement by being able to address a group of individuals at once instead of many lawsuits. A dangerous drugs attorney can help when dealing with pharmaceutical companies with large legal departments.
However, suing a pharmaceutical may not be the best approach. The Supreme Court ruled that individuals are preempted from suing pharmaceutical companies, whose drug has been approved by the FDA. Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, 570 U.S. (2013). Again, you should consult a Mercer County dangerous drugs lawyer to determine whether your case qualifies for a class-action lawsuit.
Speaking with a Mercer County Dangerous Drugs Attorney
Dangerous drug injuries are not something that anyone should take lightly. Getting a Mercer County dangerous drugs lawyer involved early in your case can take the pressure from trying to handle your case on your own. Contact a lawyer before time runs out.