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Attorney Murry J. Parrish

Attorney Pepper DeVaughn

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Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Filing Against a Drug Company

A wrongful death suit is filed when someone dies due to the negligence of another person or party, and their immediate relatives — parents, children or spouse — seek to claim damages for their death. These cases can be difficult, especially when you’re taking on a major corporation, like a pharmaceutical company.

Millions of Americans get prescriptions filled every single day, and thanks to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, it can be difficult to file a lawsuit in many cases. Learn about filing a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, when and why it gets complicated, and how a wrongful death attorney can be your best bet.

Pharmaceutical Product Liability Claims

A wrongful death suit against a pharmaceutical company falls under product liability. This sort of case holds that someone has been harmed by a dangerous or defective product. This includes food products and prescription medications.

Under strict product liability laws, manufacturers are responsible for any defects that cause injuries, regardless of negligence. This is partly why prescription drugs have a laundry list of potential side effects.

Because of these long warning labels, however, it’s important to have a solid additional liability theory in place to pursue a lawsuit. This could be anything from a side effect wasn’t in the warnings, that the drug was advertised for use contrary to its label, or that there weren’t clear warnings.

The Generic Drug Loophole

The process gets more complicated when one considers generic drugs. The 2011 Pliva v. Mensing decision by the U.S. Supreme Court relieved generic drug manufacturers of this responsibility for injury. This has a lot to do with state regulations being stricter than FDA regulations, but federal law trumping state law.

Pursuing Your Case

Just because this decision was handed down, however, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a case. If you lose a loved one because of a defective drug, you should absolutely look into pursuing a wrongful death suit. You may be eligible to collect funeral expenses, medical expenses up to the time of their death that were related to the drug’s effects, lost wages, lost comfort, and other damages.

In addition, even if the drug in question was generic, there is a new case pending before the courts that may revise certain elements of that decision which can re-open the potential for compensation. Waiting for this decision could cause the statute of limitations for your case to run out, though, so it may be better to file sooner, which can preserve your right to continue to pursue the case when the decision comes down.

Calling a Wrongful Death Attorney

The complexities of a pharmaceutical product liability case, combined with the requirements of a wrongful death case, can make it difficult to know what to do. This is why you should call on the services of a qualified, experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

An attorney can advise you the right steps to take to preserve your ability to pursue damages, even if current laws make it tricky. Parrish DeVaughn is experienced at handling all manner of product liability and injury cases and we can help you. Give us a call for help today.

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