Prescription Drug Lawsuits

Dangerous medication and medical device lawsuits have been the center of much attention over the last few years.  It seems as if many of the new drugs or medical devices that are being brought into the market are more dangerous than they are helpful.  Many people have been injured by these drugs and believe that they should be entitled to compensation, but they are unsure how to make this happen.  A quick look at how these cases are handled by attorneys should provide the insight you need to file a claim for compensation.

Class Action Lawsuits And Individual Cases

If you have been injured by a medicine or medical device, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to determine your rights as a victim.  At that time, the attorney will discuss with you the option of filing a single case against the manufacturer of the product or joining a class action lawsuit.  Both types of cases have advantages and disadvantages, and deciding which one to use will be a decision best made with legal advice.

The advantages of joining a class action suit include:
•    National recognition of the problem which often leads to higher settlement amounts.
•    Group effort by many attorneys, leading to very aggressive legal defense on behalf of all injured parties.
•    Court overlooks some issues to grant more rights to the injured parties.
•    Settlements are often larger than individual settlements.

Disadvantages of joining a class-action suit include:
•    Case will take longer to complete than an individual case.
•    Joining a class action suit does not guarantee that you will win your case.
•    Settlement payments can take longer to issue to Plaintiffs.
•    There is a risk of appeal if the settlement is much larger than the pharmaceutical company anticipated, delaying any form of compensation being issued until the appeal process is over.
The advantages of filing as a single Plaintiff:

•    Court must address your individual injuries and award compensation based on the information.
•    Process is much shorter than a class action suit.
•    The Defendant is more likely to offer you a settlement out-of-Court so that they can avoid legal expenses.
•    You will have more interaction with your attorney concerning the case.

Drawbacks of filing as a single suit:

•    You do not have the same evidence to present to the Court as you would in a class action.
•    Pharmaceutical companies can become very aggressive against your case out of fear it will lead to other lawsuits.
•    Compensation can be less than what you would receive as part of a class action suit.
•    The court could require you to enter into a class action suit.

Background Information On Class Action Lawsuits

All class action lawsuits begin as individual cases.  When the court system discovers that an excessive amount of cases are being filed against a specific manufacturer for a specific reason, the court system views this as a mass tort.  By definition, a mass tort is a civil action that involves many plaintiffs against a single entity or several entities that are connected to a single product or service.   In many cases, attorneys will advertise ongoing litigation so that they can gather as many plaintiffs as possible for the mass tort.  Once this occurs in several judicial districts, the courts generally turn these cases into a multi-district litigation (MDL) case.

Multi district litigation is the first step in establishing a class action suit.  During this process, the courts will review the information from a few selected cases, known as bellwether cases, and determine if a class action suit is necessary to ensure justice to all those who were injured.

If a class action suit is created, then everyone who currently has a case against that manufacturer will have the option to join the action.  Most people opt for this because it provides them with additional legal power to fight these large corporations.

One a class action is established, the court ill set a date for a hearing and anyone who has been injured by this product has until a specified date before the trial begins to join the suit.  In some cases, this can last for up to two years.

If the case is awarded to the Plaintiffs, the court will also establish a fund for additional people to join the suit after-the-fact.  This sets a period of time for anyone who is unaware of their injuries to discover them and make a claim.  For instance, the mesothelioma case was settled nearly 30 years ago.  However due to the time it takes for this disease to occur after exposure, the courts have opted to let the case remain active for an extended period of time so that all injured parties have the right to claim compensation.

Whichever option you select to receive compensation for your injuries, make sure that you talk about it in its entirety with your attorney and make sure you understand what to expect.  Your attorney can provide you with the most accurate advice concerning your specific injury and the best choice for your type of case.

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