Prescription Drug Injury and Class Action Lawsuits
Lawsuits involving prescription drugs and medical devices have garnered much attention over the past decade. Many of the new drugs and medical devices being made available on the market are more harmful than beneficial. Many people have been horribly injured by these medications and devices and are entitled to compensation; however, many people do not know how to make this happen. A short look at how these cases are handled by attorneys will inform you on everything you need to know about filing a claim for compensation.
First, let us look at some background information on class action lawsuits. All class action lawsuits begin as an individual case. A mass tort is created if the court system discovers that there are an unusually large number of cases being filed against a specific manufacturer. By definition, a mass tort is a civil action that involves many plaintiffs filing against a single defendant or several defendants that are connected a single product or service. Attorneys often advertise ongoing litigation to involve as many Plaintiffs as possible for the mass tort lawsuit. The courts will then allow the case to be litigated throughout multiple districts.
Multi-district litigation is the first step in creating a class action lawsuit. If a class action suit is then created everyone who has an open case against the manufacturer will have the option to join the suit. Most clients choose to join the suit because it gives them the additional legal power needed to fight against large corporations with impressive legal teams.
Once a class action is established, the court will set a hearing date 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 Plaintiffs win the case, the court will also create a fund for people to join the lawsuit after the fact. This sets a time period for anyone to make a claim that was unaware of their injuries or of the possible compensation. For example, the mesothelioma case was settled 30 years ago, but the courts have chosen to let the case remain active for an extended period of time because of the time it takes for the disease to occur after exposure to asbestos.
Whichever option you as a client choose, remember to consult an attorney and make sure you entirely understand what to expect from a class action lawsuit. Your attorney can give you the most accurate advice on legal options regarding your specific injury and determine the best choice for your type of case.
There are often many advantages of joining a class action lawsuit. The national recognition of the problem leads to higher settlements. The group effort of many attorneys creates a very aggressive defense for every injured party. The court may overlook come issues in order to grant more rights to the injured parties. Also, the settlements in class action lawsuits are larger than individual settlements.
There are also disadvantages of joining a class action lawsuit. The case will take longer to reach a settlement than an individual case. Joining a class action lawsuit does not guarantee a victory in court. Settlement payments can take much longer to disburse to Plaintiffs. There is also a risk that the manufacturer can appeal if the cost is higher than what it previously anticipated. This will delay any form of compensation until the appeal process is over.
There are also advantages to filing as a single Plaintiff. The court must address your individual injuries to award compensation, and the process of filing as a single Plaintiff is often much shorter than a class action lawsuit. When filing as an individual, the Defendant is more likely to offer you a settlement out of court, avoiding legal expenses. Also, if you file a suit as an individual you will have more personal interaction with your attorney regarding your case.
While there are advantages to filing as a single Plaintiff, there are also disadvantages. A single Plaintiff will not have the same evidence present in a class-action lawsuit. Drug and medical device manufacturers can become quite aggressive against your case because they fear it will lead to other lawsuits. The compensation could be less than what you would receive in a class-action lawsuit, and the court may even require you to join a class-action suit in order to receive compensation.
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.