Medication Complications and Liability

Millions of Americans rely on prescription medications to keep them healthy or help them heal from an injury or illness. However, if you are injured or your condition worsens due to a medication side effect, you may wonder if you can hold someone accountable for what has happened.

All medications have side effects. Just because you experience a medication side effect does not mean you will be able to file a lawsuit against a prescription drug company. However, there are times when a lawsuit may be appropriate. There are certain factors that need to be in place in order for a product liability lawsuit to be successful in these cases.

If you or a loved one has experienced negative side effects due to a prescribed medication, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced team at Heenan & Cook, PLLC. We have decades of experience defending the rights of negligence victims, and we can help you seek a fair compensation for you and your family. Contact us today.

The process of being prescribed a drug

Your doctor prescribes medications to you after a thorough examination and diagnosis of your condition. Prescription drugs are used to treat traumatic injuries as well as internal illnesses with the hope that the drug has the intended healing impact. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A medication that is safe and effective for most people may not be safe for everyone.

Were you warned of the possible side effects?

This is important. Most people understand that there are known side effects for all medications. You hear them on prescription medication commercials, and you can read them on the side of any medication bottle.

But did the prescribing doctor warn you about the possibility of a reaction to the medication? This is part of “informed consent,” an important part of medical treatment. If you were notified by your healthcare professional about the possible side effects of a drug before you took it, you might not be able to file a lawsuit. However, if your doctor did not warn you about possible side effects, or if the drug’s accompanying documentation failed to warn you, you may be able to file a lawsuit if a side effect causing you harm.

Were the side effects unusual or unique?

All prescription medications go through rigorous testing and trials before being approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is not possible for drug manufacturers or doctors to know every possible side effect that could occur. Research and testing typically identify a wide range of common side effects that could occur, but there is always a chance an individual will respond differently to the drug after approval. If the side effect you experience due to the drug was not known to the company, doctor, or pharmacist, you may not or may not have a case.

If the side effect you experience was the result of a defective or contaminated product, you may have a case that could be viable in court. What do we mean by a “defect?”

A prescription drug defect can be defined as a:

  • Design defect: This means that the drug manufacturer designed the drug in a way that made it likely to cause an injury.
  • Manufacturing defect: This means that the drug was designed properly, but the medication you received was manufactured incorrectly. This could include contamination or the drug being made in a dosage too high or too low for you.
  • Labeling or warning defect: This could happen if the drug should have had additional or stronger warnings in relation to the side effects you experienced.