Coral Gables Drug Injury Lawyer
Every day, thousands of Coral Gables residents take prescription drugs. But very few bother to ask, “Is this really safe?” The truth is, many drugs can cause major reactions or devastating side effects. Often, we’ll never see it coming, since we put our trust in others. We rely on drug manufacturers, prescribing doctors, and pharmacists to give us information to avoid risks. Unfortunately, they sometimes fail us.
Prescription Drug Dangers
Sometimes we don’t know of a drug’s risks until years later. For example, the drug Zantac (ranitidine), was only recently found to have a major cancer-causing chemical in its formulation. Adverse medical conditions caused by drugs can be referred to as a “drug injury.” In Florida, drug manufacturers can be held liable for any defects in their product (F.S. § 768.81), including side effects that the patient wasn’t adequately warned about. Also, patients may have a drug injury claim if the drug poses an unreasonable risk to their health and safety when a safer alternative exists. Litigating a drug injury can be tough.
Pharmaceutical companies have a lot of money at their disposal to fight injury claims. The laws regarding professional standards, FDA approval, and the drug supply chain are all complex. For these reasons, patients should hire a drug injury lawyer in Coral Gables. Call (786) 220-2990 or contact us online to speak to an experienced drug injury lawyer in Coral Gables. Steinger, Greene & Feiner can provide you with legal representation and guidance to strengthen your claim. Your initial case review is free, and there’s no obligation to work with us afterward, so call now.
When a Drug Manufacturer Might Be Held Responsible for a Drug Injury
Not every bad outcome of taking a drug can legally be considered the manufacturer’s fault. First of all, every prescription drug must undergo evaluation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These evaluations force the manufacturer to prove that their drug is reasonably safe and effective and that the collective benefits outweigh the risks. Undergoing FDA evaluation means that most drug companies have a lot of data at their disposal to prove a drug was reasonably safe. Second, all patients who are prescribed the drug must be sure that they are taking the drug as recommended. Third, drug companies typically go above and beyond to list all possible side effects and warn about adverse interactions. Even with these three forms of legal protection available, drug manufacturers can be held responsible for negative outcomes under several scenarios:
- Failure to warn: The drug manufacturer did not sufficiently warn the patient about the possible side effects.
- Design or manufacturing defects: The drug was formulated or manufactured with flaws that caused direct harm. This harmful outcome was not part of the listed side effects.
- Breach of warranty: The drug violated an express or implied warranty to the consumer.
Examples of a drug injury that could involve negligence include the Zantac cancer example. It can also include defective batches of drugs that became contaminated, as was the case with generic acetaminophen in the early 2000s. Steinger, Greene & Feiner will examine your case and identify areas of negligence that could prove the manufacturer liable. We fight for the rights of our clients, and we seek the highest possible compensation for all of their losses.
Types of Damages in a Drug Injury Case
When a person or company has been found liable for an injury, they can be held responsible for all losses or “damages” that occurred as a direct result of their actions. In a drug injury case, common damages might include:
- Medical bills, past and future
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Punitive damages (capped at $500,000 in Florida)
Some drug injury cases involve individuals who have died as a result of their medical complications. In these cases, the representative of the deceased’s estate can file a survival action for the damages listed above. Additionally, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. This claim pays the family for their funeral and burial costs, their loss of familial comfort (consortium), and the pain and suffering they experience.
Statutes of Limitations for Drug Injury Cases in Coral Gables
Florida has two main types of time limits on drug injury cases. The first is the statute of limitations. This limit applies from the moment the individual either took the drug or the moment they first discovered they had been harmed by it. The statute of limitations in Florida is four years (§ 95.11 (3) (a)). Second, there is a statute of repose. This refers to the time that has elapsed since the claimant first purchased the drug. In Florida, the statute of repose is 10 years (F.S. § 95.031), but most drugs will have reached their expiration date by this time. Taking expired drugs is not using them as directed, so the statute of limitations is more likely to apply than the statute of repose.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
Sometimes, other parties may be liable for a drug injury instead of or in addition to the drug manufacturer. Possible liable parties include:
- The distributor or retailer, if the product was altered before it could reach the consumer
- The pharmacist, if they made an error in filling the prescription or failed to provide adequate instructions for safe use
- The prescribing doctor, if their prescription was likely to cause harm in violation of their professional standards (AKA malpractice)
- The administer of the drug if it was provided to someone in a care setting like a hospital, nursing home, or in-home care service
Unlike other claims, malpractice claims have a statute of limitations of just two years.
Work with an Experienced Coral Gables Drug Injury Attorney
If you or a close family member has been harmed by the effects of a drug, you deserve sound legal guidance from an experienced professional. A Coral Gables drug injury lawyer can help you stand up to big drug corporations and their insurers. Steinger, Greene & Feiner provides the legal services you need. Call us today at (786) 220-2990 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.