Although the United States is abundant with doctors, researchers and other medical professionals who truly strive to keep our population healthy and thriving, all too often, we place too much trust in them. Doctors, researchers and other medical professionals are people, just like us, and sometimes these people make mistakes – just like we do. But, a mistake by a medical professional or pharmaceutical company can cost someone dearly. What should you do if you suspect a loved one has been the victim of a misdiagnosis or incorrect prescribed medication?
Bad History for Pharmaceutical Companies
We have all heard about lawsuits against certain medications advertised on TV. “If you have taken X and experienced these adverse symptoms, you may be eligible for compensation…” or such, as the public service announcement admonishes. Over the years, as drugs have been advertised on TV and many Americans have become more likely to try these drugs, some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies have paid out a significant amount of money to people who have been harmed as a result of the use of these drugs.
For example, GlaxoSmithKline recently pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal misdemeanor and other liabilities directly related to the prescription drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The company is paying a total of $3 billion in restitution and fines. Additionally, Pfizer was fined more than $2.3 billion as a result of its illegal promotion of two of its drugs.
Who Should Be Held Accountable?
If you or a loved one was given the wrong medication, medication that caused adverse effects that were not properly advertised on the warning label, or your doctor prescribed the wrong medication, you may have a lawsuit against the practitioner or the manufacturer. Sometimes, when the medication is inaccurately prescribed to many patients, a class action lawsuit can be filed to compensate everyone that was adversely affected by false claims or negligence. An experienced malpractice attorney can review the circumstances of your case and determine the best course of action. According to a Michigan medical malpractice law firm, in order to have a legal case of neglect, at least one of three things must be proven.
1. The health care provider violated the accepted standard of care
2. The violation caused injuries
3. The injuries resulted in personal damages
When Should You Sue?
As with any legal situation, your best opportunity for resolution and financial compensation is when the evidence and circumstances are fresh in everyone’s mind. When you contact a law firm who specializes in medical negligence and malpractice, they will be able to carefully review your evidence and ask questions that will lead to the determination of how to best file your case. In some states, there is a statute of limitations, or a deadline as to when you can file a claim, so make sure you act quickly so as not to miss this window of opportunity for resolution.
Life is challenging enough without the issues and consequences of medical malpractice, negligence or the adverse effects of improperly prescribed medications. If your loved one has been a victim of these circumstances, suing the responsible parties will not take away their pain and suffering, but it may be able to make things easy on family members and caregivers.
Nicole Bailey-Covin is a former news reporter of more than 12 years and a legal researcher. She has covered many lawsuits on health related issues, and taken part in attorney led focus groups on determining medical neglect. If you’ve been injured as a result of taking medicines, you can search Michigan medical malpractice law firm online for information on the next steps you should take.