Medication use has become part of American culture, with most Americans taking at least one prescription treatment. In addition to prescription drugs, the market for over-the-counter medicines is enormous.
Unfortunately, these drugs that people rely on can sometimes cause harm when manufacturers fail to take reasonable steps to protect consumers. Hazardous medications can cause a range of debilitating side effects and medical conditions that can even be fatal.
Drug companies may be held responsible if a medication they produce causes adverse effects. If a prescription or over-the-counter medication has caused you or a loved one serious harm, a Portland dangerous drugs attorney could help you seek financial compensation. Contact a seasoned injury lawyer to evaluate your legal options.
Effects of Dangerous Drugs
Many people assume that a drug or medication must be safe if it can be purchased at a pharmacy or market. This is a dangerous misperception. Over the years, hundreds of approved medications have been recalled or withdrawn from the market because of their unanticipated health impacts.
Some drug side-effects are relatively mild and resolve quickly. Others, however, can permanently alter someone’s life. Conditions that unsuspecting patients have suffered because of commonly used drugs include:
- Loss of muscle control
- Heart disease and stroke
- Psychosis and suicidal thoughts
- Addiction and risk of overdose and death
- Liver or kidney failure
- Congenital abnormalities in the patient’s children
- Many forms of cancer
As Portland dangerous drugs attorneys know all too well, conditions may require significant medical intervention and might not respond to treatment. Patients could experience a diminished quality of life, and drug-induced conditions might reduce their overall life expectancy.
Holding Manufacturers Liable for Unreasonably Dangerous Drugs
According to federal law and Maine Revised Statutes §221, a manufacturer could be strictly liable for damages a patient suffers from taking a dangerous drug. The injured person does not need to prove that the manufacturer was careless, reckless, or knowingly did something wrong. Instead, a manufacturer would be liable if a Portland attorney could prove that a drug was unreasonably dangerous.
The law offers three ways to prove a drug manufacturer is strictly liable for producing an unreasonably hazardous medication. A drug is considered to be unreasonably dangerous if a:
- Different, economically feasible design could have produced a medication that was equally as effective and less dangerous
- Flaw in the production or packing process produced a drug that did not conform with its label
- Label did not provide adequate warnings of the drug’s side effects and long-term impacts
If a claimant is able to prove that a drug was unreasonably dangerous, a manufacturer could be liable to pay their damages. These could include medical expenses, lost income, and payments to compensate for the claimant’s inconvenience, reduced lifespan, diminished quality of life, physical pain, mental anguish, and other economic and non-economic losses.
How to Pursue Drug Manufacturers
In many cases, a particular drug will cause harm to many people who will sue the manufacturer for these damages. Several different procedures have been developed to prevent the courts from becoming overwhelmed with multiple claimants seeking damages from the same manufacturer for similar damages suffered due to a particular drug.
One such legal action is the mass tort. In a mass tort claim, a court will combine lawsuits alleging injuries to different claimants from the same drug. The court will hear the evidence proving the drug’s defects and the manufacturer’s defense. If the court finds the manufacturer liable, each claimant may present evidence showing the drug’s impact on them and offer their proof of damages. Mass torts are often a cost-effective and efficient way to proceed with a dangerous drug claim.
Not all dangerous drug claims will be part of a mass tort action. A Portland dangerous drugs attorney could discuss a specific claim with an injured person to assess the most effective way to proceed in their case.
Pursue a Claim with an Experienced Portland Dangerous Drugs Attorney
Hazardous medications may cause tremendous harm to unsuspecting consumers. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies generate enormous profits. When someone suffers a debilitating injury because of their products, the drug manufacturers should be held responsible.
A Portland dangerous drugs lawyer has the knowledge to identify medications that cause harm and could hold the manufacturers accountable. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your legal options.