Drug Recall Lawyers Serving People Injured in Chicago, Illinois & Beyond
Doctors prescribe medications to help their patients deal with health issues. Every time the patient takes the medicine, they put their trust in the company that makes the drug that they will not be harmed. However, some pharmaceutical companies violate this trust by selling drugs that are defective. Oftentimes, the drugmaker knows that they are marketing a dangerous product. When you have been harmed by a defective drug, you can file a lawsuit to receive financial compensation.
Defective Drug Attorneys Helping Injured Patients and Consumers
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are committed lawyers who help their clients file claims against pharmaceutical companies who marketed and sold the drugs that harmed them. We help our clients build their cases by working with them to gather evidence in their case, both scientific and otherwise. You can file a defective drug lawsuit today whether you have been injured by prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications.
It seems like drug recalls are happening more often these days. One of the major reasons is that there is a growing awareness of the possibility that drugs may be contaminated with a carcinogen. In the past several years, these concerns have led to complete recalls of the popular heartburn medicine Zantac and the blood pressure medication Valsartan. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is often slow to act.
These are just two of many drug recalls that happen each year in the United States. Manufacturers often have an ongoing obligation to test their products for their safety. In addition, they must review reports by patients who claim that they have been harmed by medications. Manufacturers who follow the law will often pull products from the marketplace if they have received numerous reports from patients who have all suffered a similar type of harm. Serious side effects should cause a drug maker to at least initiate more testing and investigation, oftentimes leading to a complete recall.
However, drug manufacturers do not always do the right thing to protect customers who put their lives in the hands of the pharmaceutical company. Some of these drugmakers put profits first and will continue to sell the drugs that make them money, even when there are mounting reports of serious harm to patients. These companies either do not want to know the truth or try to hide it because they want to continue making money by selling bad drugs.
Sometimes, the FDA may step in and order their own recall. However, patients cannot always rely on this to save them from harm. To an extent, the FDA relies on industry to test its own product. The FDA will usually order recalls in more serious cases.
Patients Can File Lawsuits Like they Would for Any Defective Product
Patients who have been harmed by defective drugs that have been recalled can file a lawsuit to recover financial compensation. These are a type of product liability lawsuits. When it comes to drugs, some of these settlements and jury awards can be large. This is because of the large amount of harm that defective recalled drugs can do to patients.
When you file a defective drug lawsuit, you will be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. These are intended to put you in the same position as if the injury never happened. Here are some of what you can recover in a defective drug civil case:
- Medical bills for both past and future care (the health insurance company is reimbursed for the amount that they have already paid for your care)
- Lost wages from time that you have missed from work including both past and future lost wages.
- The cost of any nursing care that you need
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium for your partner
- Punitive damages depending on how bad the drugmakers conduct was
- Wrongful death damages if someone was killed by the recalled drug
As you can see, these damages can add up. It is hard for us to give you an average settlement for recalled drugs. It all depends on how badly you were hurt.
How Does a Drug Injury Lawsuit Work?
The first step that you would take towards filing a defective drug lawsuit is hiring an attorney. The lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Attorneys have years of experience in handling defective drug cases and can help you.
You would work with your lawyer starting from the moment when you form an attorney-client relationship. Your attorney would get to know the facts of your case. They would draft a complaint on your behalf and file it with the court before the statute of limitations expires. This would start your flawed drug lawsuit.
The process takes some time. You can expect that a defective lawsuit will take years. Your case will need to go through the discovery process where your attorney tries to get relevant documents and information from the drug company that can help prove your case. In cases involving drug recalls, chances are that your case will be a part of something called multidistrict litigation where the plaintiffs all work together during discovery. Your attorney will also be working with scientific and medical experts to make your points that the drug was defective.
Some cases will settle before they go to trial. However, other cases will end up in front of the jury.
What You Need to Prove to Win a Defective Drug Lawsuit
A defective drug lawsuit is like any other product liability case. You need to establish that there was a defect that made the drug unreasonably dangerous. In general, there are three different ways that you can prove that a drug was defective:
- There was a design defect in the drug that caused side effects or injury
- There was a manufacturing defect in the drug that made it dangerous
- There was a marketing defect that failed to warn users of particular side effects
In all of these cases, it is not enough to show that there was a defect. You must prove that the drug was unreasonably dangerous. After this, you must show that dangerous drugs were the cause of your injuries.
In order to reach this point, you will likely need to work with medical and scientific experts. They will need to testify that the drug is defective. You will need a law firm who knows how to work with these experts to get results.
In addition, your lawyer will need to engage in extensive discovery to learn what the company knew when they were selling and designing these medications. In many defective drug cases, an attorney is able to obtain evidence that the drug company knew all along that the product they were selling was dangerous, yet they continued to market it.
Your Legal Rights in Drug Injury Cases
All of these steps will take time and effort. Defective drug cases can take years to prosecute before the defendant is even at the point where they are willing to settle the case.
Above, we mentioned two large major recalls of popular medications. Here are some larger drug recalls in recent years:
- Vioxx - 20 million people were prescribed the popular drug used to treat arthritis. However, Vioxx placed patients at an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, and it became one of the largest drug recalls of all-time. There were thousands of lawsuits against Merck for the defective drug as over 140,000 patients are alleged to have suffered some sort of coronary damage from the drug. Merck eventually settled the lawsuits for nearly $5 billion. The company faced personal injury suits and class action lawsuits.
- Fen-Phen - This was a popular diet drug made by Wyeth that was supposed to be a miracle treatment for those who have tried and failed to lose weight. However, patients began to be diagnosed with heart damage. This was a serious problem given that over six million people were prescribed the drug. Fen-Phen became one of the largest drug lawsuits ever as damages in the case were reported to have topped $20 billion after over 50,000 lawsuits were filed against the maker of the drug.
- Baycol - This drug was used to treat high cholesterol, but it was recalled after reports of 31 deaths associated with the drug. Baycol was used by over 700,000 people at one time or another. The problem with the drug was that it led to a condition called rhabdomyolysis, which causes muscle to die. The dying muscle then ends up harming kidney function, and it can lead to death or serious injury. By 2005, Bayer had already paid out over $1 billion in settlements of lawsuits tied to the case.
- Diethylstilbestrol - This was one of the earliest mass drug recalls in U.S. history. This drug was given to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages. However, girls and women who were exposed to the drug (both pregnant women and their daughters) developed vaginal tumors. Lawsuits related to this drug continued for decades, often resulting in large jury awards. In 1994, a New York jury awarded over $42 million to a group of 11 women who suffered side effects from the medication.
If you are successful in your defective drug recall case, the size of your settlement or jury award may vary.
What to do When Filing a Recall Lawsuit
If you have recently learned that you have taken a drug that has been recalled, you should do the following:
- Continue to monitor your own medical condition regularly, even if you do not feel any symptoms or notice injury.
- If you feel any side effects of the medication, make sure that you see a doctor immediately and begin to document the issue with your medical records.
- If you have been injured in any way, gather your medical records and any other documentation of your injuries.
- Keep track of any damages or expenses that are related to your injuries.
- See a lawyer immediately. Your ability to file a lawsuit will depend on whether your complaint is submitted to the court within the applicable statute of limitations. Many patients simply do not know how long they have to file a lawsuit.
Here are the answers to some questions that people frequently ask about drug recalls.
Can You sue for Recall Medication?
Most likely yes. After all, the medication is not being recalled for no reason. Chances are that there is a defect either in the design, manufacture or marketing of the medication. When that happens and you suffer injury, you have the ability to file a lawsuit against the maker of the drug. It does not matter whether you took the drug for a day or for years.
Who is Responsible for Recalling Drugs?
It depends. Some recalls are voluntary. For example, the initial Zantac recalls were by the manufacturers and drug stores before all ranitidine products were eventually removed from store shelves. In some cases, the Food and Drug Administration can order their own recall based on the results of an investigation or their own testing.
What Would Cause a Drug to be Recalled?
The cause for recalls is that there is something wrong with the drug. This could be any kind of defect that could cause a threat to the patient's physical safety. There could be a design defect that could harm the patient's kidneys. Alternatively, there could be a defect in the manufacturing process that could introduce cancer-causing impurities into the medication.
What Drugs Have Been Recalled by the FDA?
The FDA has recalled a large number of drugs over the years. Most recently, the FDA has issued a recall of Zantac because the drug is naturally unstable and can become contaminated with a carcinogen when the drug is in storage. One of the more famous drug recalls of all-time was of the diet drug Fen-Phen after the pills were found to cause sudden heart attacks and heart damage. Between drugs and medical devices, the FDA is involved in an average of 4,500 recalls each year.
What Happens When a Drug is Recalled?
When there is a drug recall, the product is pulled from the market either in whole or in part. The drug recall may be initiated by the manufacturer of the drug that discovers some dangers after reports of harm or testing. Alternatively, the product may be recalled by the FDA. When there is a recall, some patients may be advised to stop taking the medicine completely. In other recalls, patients are not told to stop taking the medicine completely but instead should consult with their doctors.
Which Class of Drug Recall is the Most Serious?
When it comes to a drug recall, there are three different classes, depending on the seriousness of the issues with the drug. The most severe drug recall is a Class I recall. This is where the problems with the drug can cause serious injury or death. The least serious is a Class III drug recall. This is where the recall must be made but the drug will not cause serious adverse health consequences.
What Does it Usually Mean if a Drug Recall is Voluntary?
A voluntary recall is one that is done by the manufacturer without a direct order from the FDA. Oftentimes, the manufacturer is in close consultation with the FDA when it initiates a voluntary recall. Most of the drug recalls that you see are voluntary. While mandatory recalls are rare, they still happen thousands of times each year.
Dangerous Drug Lawyers
You or your loved ones can file a lawsuit if injured by defective drugs. Contact the attorneys at Roseneld Injury Lawyers for a free consultation or a free case evaluation. We are experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of mass tort cases. Call us at our toll free number or fill out a contact form to learn more. We are only paid through a contingency fee if you are successful. If not, you owe us nothing.