Charlotte Dangerous Drugs Accident Lawyer
We trust prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to make us healthier, but sometimes they do the opposite. A dangerous drug reaction can easily cause a major health event, put someone in the hospital, cause permanent side effects, or even kill someone.
Patients who have been injured by defective drugs or dangerous reactions in North Carolina have the right to pursue compensation for all of their losses. They can work with a dangerous drug accident lawyer in Charlotte to identify all responsible parties and seek from them the maximum amount of compensation available.
Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers have provided legal representation to injury victims in the Carolinas and the Southeast for over a quarter of a century. Our Charlotte drug injury lawyers can provide experienced representation for your claim. If we are unable to secure a reasonable settlement for you, we are willing to take your case to court and try it in front of a jury. A history of past case successes shows we have the knowledge and strategies needed to stand up to insurers and big pharma companies.
If you or a loved one have been hurt by a dangerous drug — including having a major reaction, temporary disability, or permanent side effects — then you can speak with an attorney for free during an initial case review. Call (855) 969-5671 or contact us online today to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.
What Is a Dangerous Drug?
A dangerous drug is any medicine, including both prescription and over-the-counter products, that presents an unreasonable risk of harm to the user when it is used as directed.
Some potentially dangerous drugs can be sold legally. As long as the manufacturer warns the user of possible effects and can prove no less-safe alternative exists, they have a chance of releasing their drug to the public.
However, there are also drugs that fail to properly warn the user or whose manufacturers failed to explore less-safe alternatives. Even when a drug does issue a warning, it may be considered an inadequate warning, or a jury may rule that the drug was too dangerous and should not have been sold for public consumption.
In any situation, an adverse reaction or health event is reason enough to think that a drug might be dangerous. If you or a close family member have been harmed by taking a prescription or OTC medicine, you can explore your legal options for seeking compensation with the help of a dangerous drug accident lawyer in Charlotte.
Who Is at Fault for the Dangerous Drug?
A drug manufacturer is not always the one at fault for a dangerous drug. Other defendants in a drug-related personal injury claim can include:
- The prescribing doctor, if they failed to account for the drug’s risks
- The pharmacy retailer or distributor, if they mishandled the drug
- The pharmacist, if they made a critical mistake when filling the prescription or advising the patient on the use
- A third-party company reselling the drug under a mislabeled use
Why the FDA Can’t Protect Everyone from Dangerous Drugs
Many people incorrectly think that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) automatically catches all unreasonably dangerous drugs and prevents them from being sold.
Unfortunately, the evidence needed to prove a drug is safe can be a low bar to clear. A drug manufacturer may have proven that the drug is safe in one group that does not represent the general public. They may also have proven that the drug is safe under lab-controlled conditions, without regard for outside factors like drug interactions.
Dangerous Drug Laws in Charlotte, North Carolina
North Carolina has more protections for drug manufacturers than most states. These protections mean that you and your attorney will have to work hard to satisfy the minimum level of proof that your injury deserves compensation.
Dangerous drugs fall under the legal umbrella of a “defective product.” In North Carolina, an injured patient must prove that someone who made the drug (or made it available to them) was negligent.
Negligence, in the broad legal sense, means you can prove four things:
- Duty of Care: The defendant had a duty of care to prevent an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff, either under law or by exercising “ordinary care” as a “reasonable person” would.
- Breach: The defendant breached their duty of care.
- Proximate Cause: The breach in the defendant’s duty of care directly caused harm to the plaintiff.
- Damages: The harm caused to the plaintiff led to losses that can be recovered through the legal system. This includes both financial losses, like hospital bills, and non-financial losses, like mental anguish.
In the case of dangerous drugs, a defendant’s breach in their duty of care usually means that they either:
- Failed to adequately warn the user of the drug’s risks (C.G.S. § 99B-5)
- Deceived regulatory bodies when submitting the drug for approval
- Generally allowed the release of a product they knew or should have known would cause unreasonable risk of harm (N.C.G.S. § 99B-4)
Importantly, the injured plaintiff must have been someone the drug manufacturer expected to take the drug. The plaintiff must also have been using the drug as directed.
In some instances, if the drug were altered somehow, such as by mishandling in the retail pharmacy setting, the drug manufacturer cannot be held liable for that alteration’s risks. The retail pharmacy or its pharmaceuticals distributor will be the defendant in these cases.
There are many other dangerous drug laws in North Carolina that you can discuss with an experienced drug injury lawyer, but the most important one is this: North Carolina has a statute of repose of six years from the sale or provision date. This means injured patients have a limited amount of time to pursue their cases.
How Do You Know if a Drug Caused Your Injuries?
This is a crucial question to ask. Your lawyer will be working to determine the answer as they study the details of your case. The simple fact that you became ill or developed a health condition while taking medication doesn’t prove the drug was to blame. People get sick or develop new health problems all the time. It’s also true that at least a small number of people will be allergic or have an adverse reaction to nearly every drug. How do you determine if what happened to you resulted from a dangerous drug?
Here are some questions to consider:
Have other users experienced the same particular issue that you did? Although you should remember to take what you read on the internet with a grain of salt, it doesn’t hurt to search the drug’s name, plus “lawsuit” or “side effects.” An angry review on a medication website isn’t evidence you can use in court, but if you find a long pattern of other people reporting similar problems, it may be worth further investigation.
Did your problem begin after starting the drug, then go away or get better after you stopped using it? This is not definitive proof that the medication caused your difficulties, but it is helpful to know. Try to write down exactly when your symptoms started, how long they lasted, and when they got better or went away.
Did the prescribing information that came with your medication mention your condition could be a potential side effect? The truth is that most people don’t thoroughly read this paperwork that comes stapled to the pharmacy bag. It’s possible your condition is a known side effect listed in the medication’s info. However, it’s still possible that your doctor or pharmacist failed to warn you or ask questions to determine if you were at additional risk. The good news is that you can look up this same information on a site like drugs.com right now, even if you’ve already discarded the paper copy.
In some cases, we find that the manufacturer is aware of the risk of certain conditions with the drug, and has listed specific contraindications or situations where it should not be prescribed. Doctors are supposed to screen for these conditions, but if they fail to do so, your pharmacist should also check if this is your first time taking a new medication. If neither of these professionals screened you for potential risk factors, they might be negligent.
For example, some drugs may slightly increase the risk of blood clots or stroke. These risks may be relatively low for most patients but higher for people with a family history. The drug manufacturer may have noted in their prescribing information that people with a history of clotting problems or other risk factors shouldn’t take this drug. If your doctor doesn’t take the time to ask if you or a family member has had these issues and they prescribe the drug anyway, they may have been negligent if you later develop a blood clot or suffer a stroke.
Are you having symptoms that still haven’t been diagnosed? Sometimes being unable to determine what’s wrong is what encourages a patient to wonder about their medication. We’ve met clients who went to multiple doctors, had numerous tests, and still couldn’t get a diagnosis or treatment for their symptoms. Frustrated, they started considering whether their issues could be side effects of one or more medications they were taking. This is another situation where it’s helpful to document your symptoms each day so you have a record of them.
Did you suddenly develop a condition you had no risk factors for? For example, if you are a healthy person in your thirties but suddenly develop an uncommon, serious condition that typically occurs in people 70 or older with high cholesterol, you may wonder why. It may be worth doing some research to learn if others also developed this condition in atypical situations while taking the same medication you are.
How Can You Prove Negligence in a Dangerous Drug Lawsuit?
This is a difficult question to answer as every case is slightly different. During an early part of the trial, called discovery, attorneys for both sides may request documents and other evidence from each other. Your lawyer will likely try to obtain documents that establish the defendant breached their duty of care in one of the ways listed above. They will also go over your medical records, interview witnesses, talk to medical experts and employ other research methods.
Will You Have to Go Through a Lengthy Trial?
Not necessarily. However, your lawyer won’t know for certain until after they begin negotiations. In many cases, we attempt to work out a settlement with the other party or their insurance company. If this can be done successfully, it will allow you to receive damages without putting considerable time into a court case. When we have a large amount of evidence in the client’s favor, the other party may be more willing to discuss a settlement. However, sometimes the client doesn’t want to settle, preferring to have their day in court. They may want the world to know what the defendant did, or they may believe they will get more money if they win the case. We will answer the client’s questions and advise them on their options, but ultimately it is their decision if they want to accept a settlement offer or not. We will assist them with the next steps either way.
In other situations, the other party may be unwilling to negotiate, or unwilling to agree on a reasonable amount of compensation for the settlement. When this happens, we will help the client proceed to trial and argue their case to a jury.
Talk to a Dangerous Drug Accident Attorney in Charlotte
You and your family deserve to know your legal options when someone has been hurt by a dangerous drug.
Drug companies have powerful lawyers, as do the insurance companies that represent them. Without an experienced legal representative, you may be scared into accepting an unfairly low settlement or withdrawing your claim entirely. Only a lawyer experienced with product liability cases in North Carolina can tell you whether your case has a fighting chance of resulting in compensation.