Can You Sue for Drug Side Effects?

September 15, 2023 Drug Injury

Prescription medications are intended to help with health issues, but sometimes they have unintended side effects. When a pharmaceutical company fails to warn you of the possible side effects of a drug and your health suffers as a result, it’s natural to wonder: Can you sue for drug side effects?

You may be able to gain compensation with the help of an experienced Houston drug injury lawyer. If you weren’t adequately warned about the side effects of a drug, or if you experienced serious negative health consequences, a lawyer may be able to build the case that you’re owed money for the damage.

Can You Sue for Medication Side Effects?

Drug injury lawyers often hear the question: Can you sue for medication side effects? The answer comes down to understanding the details of an individual case.

Suing over drug side effects is a complicated process because it’s a well-known fact that prescription medications can come with side effects. When a medication is prescribed to you, you should be warned by your doctor, pharmacist, and the medication labeling about potential adverse health effects.

Most of the time, having grounds to sue for medication side effects depends on proving that the side effects of the medication have either had a serious negative impact on your health or have led to long-term effects.

It takes an experienced drug injury attorney to examine your case and identify whether the medications you took and their effects on you give you grounds for seeking compensation.

When Are Medication Side Effects Serious Enough to Sue Over?

Prescription medications can have an endless number of side effects. Most people have seen drug warnings that caution patients to take the medication with food to reduce the risk of nausea, or to refrain from driving or drinking alcohol while taking a certain medication.

However, not all medication side effects are minor or temporary. Sometimes, prescription drugs have side effects that do serious harm to a person’s health. Medications can impact people in ways that are both predictable and unanticipated. A medication might come with a warning that heart palpitations are a possible side effect — but when a patient experiences a heart attack, they may have grounds to sue.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) uses the term “serious adverse event” to describe the possible serious side effects of medication. According to the FDA, a medication side effect is serious if it leads to:

  • Death
  • Risk of death
  • Hospitalization
  • Disability
  • Permanent damage
  • Birth defect
  • Need for surgical or medical intervention
  • Other serious medical events.

Some of the many possible serious side effects of medications include:

  • Blot clots
  • Cancer
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Organ damage
  • Heart attack
  • Blood disorders
  • Breathing problems.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It reports that each year, 4.5 million people in the U.S. visit an emergency room or doctor’s office because of medication side effects.

Some medication side effects do damage that can’t be reversed. Other times, a full recovery might be possible, but a patient may be left with extensive medical bills for the treatment they needed due to an adverse reaction to a medication.

Most of the time, successfully suing over drug side effects comes down to proving that medication has done serious harm to a person’s health or finances.

How Much Is Compensation for Drug Side Effects?

There is no predetermined amount when it comes to compensation for drug side effects. Instead, the amount of money you receive is often directly related to how severe your drug injury was and how badly it has impacted your life.

Your drug injury lawyer will carefully consider all the ways a drug injury has cost you money and incurred debt. Your lawyer will work to collect documents such as bills, receipts, and pay stubs to prove the financial damage you’ve suffered because of the injury.

Some of the most common items people seek compensation for after a drug injury include:

  • Reimbursement for all medical care, treatment, surgeries, and procedures
  • Reimbursement for all therapists, medications, and medical devices
  • Compensation for lost wages and benefits
  • Compensation for lost earning capacity
  • Payment for pain and suffering
  • Payment for wrongful death.

Compensation after a drug injury is mostly balanced by the past and future costs you can demonstrate. However, injury compensation also considers the non-financial impact of the injury.

Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate you for matters like emotional anguish or diminished quality of life. In cases involving death or life-altering injury, pain and suffering damages can significantly increase your overall compensation value.

Can You Sue A Pharmaceutical Company for Side Effects?

If you’re wondering, “Can you sue a pharmaceutical company for side effects?” the answer is yes. Suing a pharmaceutical company is a common practice when there are issues with how the drug was produced.

If you hope to directly sue a pharmaceutical company, you’ll need to prove that your drug injury was caused by one of three issues: defective design, manufacturing design, or inadequate warning labels.

Defective Design

Defective design in the context of a prescription medication refers to how a medication is created. Medications exist to provide support for a specific medical condition. Although medications are legally allowed to have negative side effects, there are limits to how much harm they can cause. A drug injury lawyer will work to make an argument that the negative effects of the drug outweigh its positive benefits.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect is when a prescription drug has been designed effectively but something has gone wrong in the manufacturing process. Often this involves a manufacturing error such as:

  • Omitting key ingredients
  • Adding the wrong ingredients
  • Skipping a step in the manufacturing process
  • Using contaminated ingredients.

Negligence by a drug manufacturer can have serious implications for what the drug actually does when ingested.

Inadequate Warnings

Pharmaceutical companies are legally obligated to label their products with warnings about possible side effects. When a pharmaceutical company fails to fully warn of the possible side effects of a drug or doesn’t deliver necessary information about how to take the drug safely, a lawsuit can rest on the grounds of inadequate warnings.

Who Is Liable for A Drug Side Effects Claim?

Drug side effects lawsuits are most often filed against the pharmaceutical company and focus on some issue with the drug. When this happens, a lawsuit is usually a matter of product liability.

However, in many cases, a drug injury is the result of negligence by a medical care provider or pharmacist. When a doctor or pharmacist’s error leads to a drug injury, you can gain compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

Individuals and organizations that can be held responsible for drug injury caused by negligence include:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals.

Prescription drug errors frequently occur when the wrong medication is administered or prescribed in a healthcare setting, or when a pharmacist fills a prescription incorrectly. Often, this type of drug error comes about because a doctor failed to consider a patient’s other health conditions or other medications.

Do I Qualify for A Class Action Drug Injury Lawsuit?

A class action drug injury lawsuit happens when multiple people have been harmed by the same medication. This usually occurs when the drug’s ingredients lead to serious health issues like cancer. When many people are harmed in the same way by the same drug, lawyers can initiate a class action lawsuit to seek compensation for the entire group of injured individuals at once.

Essentially, in a class action many drug injury cases are joined into one, and the court verdict will identify a compensation value intended to be split among the injured individuals. Since class action lawsuits are meant to compensate many people at once, verdicts in these cases can reach billions of dollars.

Suing Over Medication Recall

Sometimes medications are recalled by the FDA, and other times a pharmaceutical maker chooses to voluntarily recall a product over health concerns. If you’ve been harmed by a recalled medication, you can sue if your injuries meet the criteria for legal action.

Since a recalled medication has likely been used by many individuals, the drugs at the center of a medication recall often give rise to a class action lawsuit.

A drug injury lawyer can let you know whether the drug you’ve taken makes you eligible to seek compensation through a class action lawsuit.

Speak with A Houston Drug Injury Lawyer Today

Patients trust their doctors to prescribe medications that will help improve their health, not harm it. When a medication causes serious damage, they shouldn’t have to pay for the mistakes of a doctor or pharmaceutical company.

If a medication has caused you to experience serious side effects, a Houston drug injury lawyer can review your case for free and help you understand whether you qualify for compensation based on your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by prescription medication side effects, call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free and confidential consultation. Our experienced Houston drug injury lawyers can review your case and let you know how a lawyer can help you recover compensation for a drug injury.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]

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