Dangerous Drug FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Dangerous Drug Cases

Our Ohio dangerous drug lawyers have extensive experience helping people seriously injured because of unreasonably dangerous prescription medications without a warning to doctors and patients. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dangerous drug cases.

What should I do if a medication that I am using has been recalled?

If you suspect that a drug you are taking is causing side effects or if the drug has been recalled, first contact your doctor to discuss your treatment options and safe alternatives. If you believe you have suffered injury because of a dangerous drug, you should call an experienced dangerous drug lawyer.

What medications are you currently investigating?

The list of dangerous drug claims we are investigating is available on our Dangerous Drugs page. We closely monitor news from the Food and Drug Administration to stay informed regarding new developments and warnings for drugs. If you have suffered an adverse side effect from a drug you are using, contact our office.

Is the medication manufacturer liable for my injuries?

Pharmaceutical companies have the duty to ensure that the drugs they design, manufacture and market are safe and to warn consumers of potential risks. If the drug maker fails to meet these obligations, it can be liable for injuries. In addition, other entities such as the distributor may be liable.

Do I have a claim against my doctor for prescribing the medication?

Generally speaking, no. The prescribing physician normally relies upon the representations of the manufacturer and the FDA. We do not ordinarily pursue claims against the prescriber.

What does “off-label” use mean?

“Off label” use means that the medication is being used in a manner not specified in the Food and Drug Administration’s approved label. “Off-label” prescribing is very common and completely legal. By some estimates, about twenty percent of outpatient prescriptions are for “off-label” use.

If the Food and Drug Administration has approved my medication, do I still have a claim?

FDA approval does not preclude lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company.

A family member died as a result of a using a medication. Can I file a claim on their behalf?

Claims for injury or wrongful death of a deceased person may be pursued by the legal representative of the estate.

What are my rights?

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a dangerous medication, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, decreased earning capacity as well as pain and suffering.

Will my claim be part of a class action?

Usually, claims for injury caused by dangerous drugs are individual claims. However, where hundreds or thousands of consumers suffer injury after ingesting the same drug, the claims are sometimes consolidated in a federal multi-district litigation, or ‘MDL.’

What is an MDL?

“MDL” stands for “multi-district litigation.” When a great number of cases involving the same issues arise, those cases can be consolidated into an MDL. Consolidating cases into one federal court heard by one judge results in uniform treatment and results for all consumers and often saves substantial time and expense.

What are “bellwether” trials?

By definition, a “bellwether” is an indicator or forecaster of a future trend. A bellwether trial is the trial of a representative plaintiff’s claim, the result of which acts as a “bellwether” for the other plaintiffs with the same claim. Courts use bellwether trials in MDLs because it is often not possible to bring hundreds or thousands of cases to trial The results of bellwether trials are helpful in settlement negotiations.

Will my claim be part of a class action?

Usually, claims for injury caused by dangerous drugs are individual claims. However, where hundreds or thousands of consumers suffer injury after ingesting the same drug, the claims are sometimes consolidated in a federal multi-district litigation, or ‘MDL.’

Are there time limits that apply to injury and death cases?

Yes! There are always time limits. There is no simple answer as to what they are. Time limits vary depending on the type of case, the age of the party who was injured, and the law of the state where the accident occurred. You should always consult a lawyer about the time limits that apply to your claim.

How do you charge for your services?

In most cases we work on a contingent fee. The fee is contingent upon our obtaining financial compensation for you. If we do not obtain compensation for you, there is no fee, regardless of how much time we have spent on your case. The amount of the fee is a percentage of the amount of compensation you receive. Once the percentage is set, it never changes throughout your case.

How long does it take to receive compensation?

A dangerous drug lawsuit is a complicated matter and is seldom resolved quickly. There is no standard answer, however, it is not uncommon for dangerous drug claims to take 3-5 years to resolve.

Is it always better to settle out of court or are there advantages in going to trial?

There is no hard and fast rule. If we can obtain fair compensation for you, it is better to settle out of court, because that is quicker and avoids risk. However, some cases have to go to court in order to obtain fair compensation. But there are no guarantees at trial. There is always a risk.

Can you tell me how much my case is worth?

No. No lawyer or insurance representative can tell you exactly what your claim is worth, especially at the beginning of the case. Even as your case works its way toward conclusion, lawyers can only give you a range based upon experience with juries in similar cases.

I occasionally read or hear about big verdicts or settlements. What determines how much a case is worth?

First, you should take what you read or hear about verdicts with a grain of salt. Every case is different. That said, here’s what gives a case value. Strong liability or fault is important. The clearer the fault, the stronger your case will be. Another thing that gives a case value is economic damages—that is lost earnings and medical expenses. But the factor that really drives large verdicts and settlements is future damages—lost earnings, medical expenses and the cost of care over a significant number of years in the future. Finally, there are many other subjective and intangible factors that affect the value of a case. As a general rule, juries award more money to plaintiffs who are sincere and likable. A “skeleton in the closet,” no matter how minor, can reduce the value of your case to some extent.

Why are there so many recalled and dangerous drugs?

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar industry. Sometimes, drug trials – testing of the drug prior to marketing – are insufficient. Sometimes key facts from clinical trials might be omitted or covered up in order to obtain FDA approval. Often times, it takes time – sometimes years – before a sufficient number of adverse drug events are linked to the drug. Drug recalls generally occur after the Food and Drug Administration has received a significant number of reports of adverse effects from physicians.

In 2008, 426 drugs were recalled. The following year – 2009 – 1,742 pharmaceuticals were recalled. Experts report that over 20 million Americans have taken a drug that was recalled.

Clark, Perdue & List

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer regarding a dangerous drug, please contact us. We offer free initial consultations in Columbus and are also available to meet you at a convenient location.

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