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Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer | Panio Law Offices

Prescription Drugs and Medical Malpractice

When a patient is the victim of medical malpractice that involves the prescription of drugs, malpractice is not necessarily the only legal basis by which you can fight for damages. A defective products claim may also result from your injury.

If your injury involved the administration of prescription drugs, the cause of your injuries may indeed be traced back to an error in the manufacture or marketing of the drug in question.

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Defective Products Personal Injury – Understanding Responsibility

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Defective products personal injury claims can prove quite confusing for the average consumer today. Understanding the manufacturer's responsibility in providing consumer products to the buying public is often key in helping to determine if you have a valid defective products claim.

Also, understanding that the manufacturer may not be the only responsible party when a product causes undo harm or injury is very important. Knowing who is involved in the chain of custody from manufacturer to retailer and what each role's responsibility to the consumer is may be the first step to identifying responsible parties in a defective products claim.

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Defective Products: Pharmaceutical Drugs

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Defective products, or product liability claims, often take on a myriad of circumstances and products and, as such, give way to complex legal ramifications when certain circumstances apply. When an individual is harmed by a pharmaceutical drug, for instance, there are a number of legal considerations at hand and liability when a consumer is harmed by its use is rarely a simple question to answer. Pharmaceutical drugs, by nature, offer the potential for injury and like power tools or electrical appliances, their very use may be considered dangerous. But because of the nature of their distribution, liability can spiral in a variety of directions.

We've discussed the basic questions of liability in a simple defective products case, but when bringing a defective products claim resulting from use of a pharmaceutical drug, further considerations must be made.

There are three types of pharmaceutical drug liability claims: liability based on defects in manufacturing of the drugs; liability based on dangerous side effects of the drug (even when the drug is properly manufactured); and liability based on improper or inaccurate warnings applied to the drug in question.

As you can see from our post on considerations in more general defective product cases, (review the original post linked here), these distinctions mirror categories of standard products liability cases.

Defect in Manufacturing: A defect in the manufacturing process of the sale of a pharmaceutical drug might occur at the manufacturing facility or it may originate at the pharmacy where it was dispensed. Whatever the origin, these type of claims must prove that a mistake occurred from the point of manufacture to the point of receipt by the consumer.

Pharmaceutical Drugs with Dangerous Side Effects: Claims based on injury due to pharmaceutical drugs with dangerous side effects often occur when it is discovered that a previously released drug causes injury previously unknown. It may take years on the market before it becomes known that the drug increases risk for stroke, for instance.

Improper or Inaccurate Warning: Claims based on improper marketing of the product simply involve cases where appropriate or accurate warning of side effects for a given pharmaceutical drug were not given or improper instructions were provided in the dispensing of the drug in question. Demonstrating this point of liability may be the simplest of the three categories, yet identifying the at-fault party may still pose difficulty. Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and any other medical providers may give verbal instruction or warning in the dispensing of a drug, for instance. Proving that liability after the fact may be quite problematic.

The complexity in these cases is one reason anyone harmed by use of a pharmaceutical drug should consult an experienced products liability personal injury lawyer.

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Product Liability: Who Can Sue?

In most defective products cases, the individual that brings the claim is the consumer that purchased and used the product. Yet many do not realize that you don’t actually have to be the buyer of the defective product to sue for damages from a defective products claim.

Recovering damages for injury in these cases is not necessarily a legal right exclusive to the consumer that buys the product in question. For instance, if you purchase a travel iron and, while on vacation, a travel companion borrows the iron, which then causes a small fire due to frayed wiring consistent with all models from that specific brand, and that companion suffers burns as a result, the companion can recover damages from the manufacturer, retailer, distributor and any other entities involved in the chain of distribution for that product.

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Product Liability: Who to Sue?

When a person is injured as a result of a product that is defective or whose design poses a danger, identifying all parties that may be liable for your injury is not always the easiest thing. Yet it is extremely important that each party responsible for that product’s availability in the market place be identified because doing so increases your chances for full recovery of damages in a personal injury claim.

Essentially, all parties within the chain of distribution may be considered responsible for any injuries that product poses. So any person or entity that participates in getting the product from manufacture to distribution to consumers may be fair game when considering a defective products case.

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