Drug Recalls – What You Need To Know

Thousands of drugs are voluntarily recalled every year. Some recalls are issued by pharmaceutical companies, while others are issued by the FDA. The purpose of a drug recall is to protect the public from possible risks associated with a prescription drug. While this can prevent future harm, recalls do little to help victims who have already been injured.

State and federal laws offer protections to patients who are injured by dangerous drugs in the United States. If you have been harmed because of a defective drug you have the right to assert those protections by filing a product liability lawsuit. The company responsible for putting that defective drug in your hands can be held strictly liable for your injuries.

How Do Defective Drugs Get FDA Approval?

Before a drug can be sold or prescribed in the United States, it must be approved for use by the FDA. Applications for approval must include information about the drug’s intended use and evidence that it is effective. Companies pitching new medications have an obligation to make sure that drugs are thoroughly vetted through clinical testing procedures.

The FDA receives thousands of applications for new drugs every year. While the agency demands compliance with a 5-step process, it really lacks the ability to review each application with the attention it deserves. As a result, the FDA puts a lot of trust into pharmaceutical companies and relies on them to do their due diligence and make sure that drugs are safe for consumer use.

Drug companies are notorious for taking advantage of the stressed FDA approval process. Many cut corners and fail to put medications through extensive clinical tests. As a result, companies aren’t really fully aware of all potential side effects or the long-term consequences of using the new medication. Patients end up being the real test subjects. Dangerous side effects and risks may only become evident once the drug has been widely used for many years.

When Are Drugs Recalled in the United States?

Recalls are voluntary and can be issued by private companies or the FDA. Recalls may be disclosed publicly or issued privately to healthcare providers and pharmacists. Recalls can be issued when one or more person reports a previously unknown or undisclosed risk associated with a specific drug. The likelihood of a recall increases with each additional report.

Drug recalls are classified into one of three categories. Alerts to the public about drug recalls will often depend on which classification has been chosen for a specific drug.

  • Class I Recalls: Issued for drugs that “could cause serious health problems or death.”
  • Class I Recalls: Issued for drugs that “might cause a temporary health problem” or “pose a slight threat of a serious nature.
  • Class III Recalls: Issued for drugs that violate FDA labeling or manufacturing laws but that are “unlikely to cause adverse health reactions.”

Class I recalls are reserved the most serious health risks, while Class III recalls are more of a warning that a drug could potentially be dangerous because of legal violations.

Are Drug Companies Automatically Liable When They Issue a Recall?

No. Drug companies are encouraged to issue a voluntary recall whenever a possibility exists that a drug could pose a threat to patient health. If issuing a recall automatically caused a company to be liable, few would take this important step. However, the fact that a company issued a safety recall can be helpful if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. You could use the recall to help establish essential elements in your case.

Can Issuing a Drug Recall Shield Companies From Liability?

No. Again, drug recalls are issued for the sole purpose of protecting patients from possible health risks. The fact that a company voluntarily issued a drug recall will not shield them from liability if they are sued for damage caused by that drug. These companies can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the medications they design and sell. This means that patients do not have to prove that a company was negligent or knew about the defect.

Instead, strict liability forces companies to make sure that they take all steps necessary to ensure that products are safe for consumer use. If a company misses something or cuts corners to save time and money, they can be liable for harm in the future. The fact that they later issued a recall for a danger they should have caught earlier is irrelevant.

What Are the Grounds For Filing a Drug Recall Lawsuit?

Product liability laws can be used to hold companies responsible for the products they design, manufacture, and/or sell. Injured patients typically approach these cases using one of three arguments: manufacturing defect, design defect, or failure to warn.

Manufacturing Defect: The drug contains a defect that exists because of how the product was manufactured. It was not manufactured according to its design specifications.

Design Defect: The drug contains a defect that is inherent in its design. This defect makes the product unreasonably dangerous.

Failure to Warn: Companies have an obligation to disclose any risks or hazards that it knows or should know about.

Should I Join a Class Action or File My Own Claim?

Class action lawsuits aren’t uncommon when a recalled drug has caused a lot of damage. In a class action suit, victims who have very similar cases band together and pursue compensation as one. This can be beneficial when multiple victims have few resources. Class actions can draw attention and make it more difficult for a drug company to escape liability. When a class action is successful, each victim in the class receives a portion of the financial award.

You’re not required to join a class action lawsuit if you’ve been injured because of a recalled drug. Filing a claim on your own gives you more flexibility and control over your case. You’ll also be able to enjoy the entirety of your settlement or award without sharing with other victims. However, it can be more expens
ive and time-consuming to pursue a case on your own.

The best thing to do is consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will review your case and help you understand all of the legal options available to you. With this information in hand, you can make an informed decision about the path you’d like to take. Your attorney can help to answer any questions you may have.

Sagi Shaked is the founding attorney at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers, an injury law firm in Miami, FL. As an experienced personal injury lawyer, attorney Sagi has handled thousands of successful cases including product liability cases.

Nursing Home Abuse in California

When the people we love get older we want to make sure that they have the best quality of life. Since we often lack the time and ability to take care of our loved ones ourselves, we often turn to nursing homes for help. When our loved ones move into a nursing home, we trust that they will be well cared for and safe. Unfortunately, nursing homes abuse is very real in California. In fact, reports of abuse have increased in recent years. Some blame poor oversight while others blame greedy nursing home companies.

Has your loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home? If so, it is important for you to understand your legal rights. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover compensation for your loved one’s harm while holding a negligent nursing home accountable.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse can be broadly defined to mean conduct or behavior that harms an elderly resident. This harm can be physical, emotional, or even financial. In California, there are actually many different types of nursing home abuse.

Physical Abuse: Physical abuse involves the harmful touching of a nursing home resident. A nursing home resident who experiences physical abuse will experience a physical injury and/or pain. Examples of physical abuse can include:

  • Hitting
  • Pushing
  • Sexual abuse, and
  • The use of excessive restraints.

Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse. This type of abuse occurs when a nursing home subjects a resident to behavior that is likely to result in psychological trauma (e.g., anxiety, depression, fear). Examples of emotional abuse can include:

  • Yelling
  • Using derogatory slurs and phrases
  • Intimidation, and
  • Bullying.

Abandonment: Abandonment occurs when a nursing home or caretaker deserts an individual it was entrusted to care for. Abandonment is much more common when we trust individual caretakers or family members to watch out for our loved ones.

Neglect: Neglect is perhaps the most frequently reported form of nursing home abuse in California. Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide adequate care and aid to a resident. Examples of neglect can include failing to:

  • Provide adequate food and nutrition
  • Ensure residents receive appropriate medications
  • Bathe or assist residents with personal hygiene
  • Protect residents from safety and health hazards, or
  • Provide adequate medical and mental health care.

Financial Abuse: Nursing home residents are actually at an increased risk of experiencing financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when a nursing home exploits a resident’s money, property, or assets without consent. Examples of financial abuse can include:

  • Staff members stealing cash and/or property from a resident
  • Staff or administration making purchases using a resident’s credit card or bank account
  • Forging a resident’s signature on personal checks, and
  • Forcing or fraudulently convicting residents to sign a new will or legal documents.

What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

There are two primary signs of nursing home abuse: physical and emotional.

Physical signs of abuse include:

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Bed sores
  • Extreme and unexpected weight loss
  • Limited mobility, and
  • Complaints of pain.

Emotional signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Unexplained bouts of anger or rage
  • Isolation
  • Agitation, and
  • Confusion.

These signs will not always mean that your loved one is experiencing abuse. However, it is important to speak with your loved one and the individuals in charge of their care if you do notice any physical or behavioral changes.

What Can I Do If I Recognize Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is both a criminal and civil offense in California. The first thing you should do is report the abuse to local authorities. The next thing you should do is consider filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages. In California, anyone who assumes responsibility for the care of your elderly loved one may be liable for injuries.

In most cases, individuals or entities whose willful conduct or negligent behavior causes your loved one to suffer harm will be liable. This could include nursing home companies, administrators, nurses, caretakers, and other staff. Regulatory and government agencies in charge of oversight may also be responsible for any harm your elderly loved one suffers.

What Damages Can I Get If I File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?

Nursing home abuse can be devastating for you and your family. Fortunately, you have the right to file a lawsuit for damages. Money will not undo the abuse, but it can help to alleviate some of the financial stress you experience. In California, you will likely be able to request both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages help to compensate for your financial costs. Non-economic damages help you with more personal and intimate harms.

Commonly awarded damages in nursing home abuse lawsuits include those for:

  • Medical bills (both present and future)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Medication
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Emotional distress.

If your loved one suffered abuse that was willful, fraudulent, or malicious, you may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages. These are intended to punish the abuser and are paid in addition to other damages.

Nursing home abuse can be traumatic for your loved one and your family. Do you want to learn more about how you can file a personal injury lawsuit? Contact an experienced California nursing home abuse attorney at Citywide Law Group – citywidelaw.com. They will help you understand your rights and answer any questions you have. You can also check out our guide on finding a good lawyer in California.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Determining liability after a California car accident can be difficult. Fault and liability are often heavily disputed, requiring the need for thorough investigations into the crash. Why is it so important to find out who is responsible for causing an accident? In California, anyone who contributes to the cause of an accident can be on the hook for damages. If you’ve been injured in a crash, you’ll want to know everyone who can be held financially responsible for your injuries.

Contributory vs. Comparative Fault

There are two primary types of fault: contributory and comparative. Some states embrace the law of contributory fault, which bars anyone who is responsible for an accident from recovering compensation for their injuries. In contributory negligence states, you are only entitled to an award of damages if you played no role in your accident or injury. However, you could still be on the hook for damages if someone else was injured in your accident.

Some states, including California, embrace the rule of comparative fault, which is generally considered to be more lenient and victim-friendly. There are two important things you need to know about comparative fault:

  1. Anyone who contributes to the cause of an accident can be held financially responsible for damages, and
  2. You are not barred from recovering compensation for your injuries if you shoulder some of the blame for your injury.

Apportionment of Fault

What happens when more than one person is responsible for causing your accident and injury? California law explains that responsibility for damages will be apportioned between responsible parties. This basically means that 100 % of your damages will be divided between anyone who caused your accident. In order to determine how much each at-fault party will be responsible for paying, it is necessary to determine their role in causing the accident. The larger their role, the greater their share of responsibility for damages.

Example #1: A, B, and C are involved in a crash at a Los Angeles intersection. An investigation shows that B was texting at the time of the crash, while C attempted to speed through a yellow light. A sustained serious injuries in the crash and has suffered $100,000 in damages. It’s determined that B and C were equally responsible for causing the accident. As a result, B and C will both be responsible for paying half of A’s damages (or $50,000 each).

Example #2: A, B, and C are involved in a Los Angeles car accident. A suffers extensive injuries in the crash and has damages of $100,000. An investigation finds that B was drunk at the time of the crash and C was driving on a suspended license. As a result, B is assigned 90% of the fault, while B assumes the other 10% of the blame. B would be responsible for 90% of A’s damages ($90,000) and B would be responsible for 10% of A’s damages ($10,000).

Fault of Victim

Victims who contribute to their own accident are barred from recovering compensation in states that embrace the rule of contributory negligence. In California, however, a victim is not barred from recovering compensation as long as they share the blame with another person. In other words, victims are only prohibited from recovering damages if they are 100% responsible for their own harm.

While victims are not barred from recovering damages, the amount they can get is reduced by their own degree of fault. This can apply to circumstances that (a) contribute to the accident or (b) aggravate the severity of their injuries. The more responsibility they shoulder, the less they’ll be able to recover.

Example #1: A, B, and C are involved in an accident. A suffers significant injuries in the crash and has damages of $100,000. The investigation finds that A, B, and C were all speeding at the time of the crash. A’s ability to recover compensation will be reduced by her own degree of fault. As a result, she will only be able to get 66.6 percent of her accident-related damages. B and C will share equal responsibility in paying these damages.

Example #2: A and B are involved in an accident, and both suffer extensive injuries in the crash. Each has damages of $100,000. An investigation finds that A is 70% responsible for causing the accident. As a result, A will only be able to recover $30,000 in damages ($100,000 reduced by 70 percent fault) from B. At the same time, B will be able to recover $70,000 in damages ($100,000 reduced by 30 percent fault) from A.

Do You Need More Info?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident you should contact an attorney. Determining fault and liability can be difficult, but an attorney can help to make sure that your case is handled properly. Visit our guide on how to find a good personal injury attorney for more information.