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How do I File a Drug Lawsuit?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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The very medicines that are intended to help us heal, or feel better, sometimes have the opposite effect and end up making us sick or even worse. In some cases, the adverse reaction is due to a lack of proper testing on the part of the manufacturer, while, in other cases, something happens during the manufacturing process itself that makes otherwise safe drugs harmful. In both cases, a victim, or a victim's family, may be entitled to file a drug lawsuit. The requirements and procedures for filing a drug lawsuit will vary throughout the world. In the United States, a drug lawsuit is a type of product liability lawsuit and may be filed by an individual plaintiff or as part of a class action lawsuit.

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Within the United States, defective products may be the basis for a product liability lawsuit. A designer, manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or retailer may be liable based on a design defect, manufacturing defect, or on the basis of a failure to warn. A design defect product liability lawsuit is based on a situation wherein all of the product is defective because the design, or, in the case of a drug, the basic chemical make-up, is defective. A manufacturing defect product liability lawsuit is based on a defect that took place during the manufacturing process itself, such as a foreign ingredient that was introduced to the product. A failure to warn product liability lawsuit is based on the theory that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the potential dangers of using the product, or, in this case, of taking the drug.

An individual may certainly file a drug lawsuit alone, although a class action lawsuit is another option. A class action lawsuit is where a number of plaintiffs who all allege similar injuries and wrongs by the defendant join together and file a lawsuit as one group of people representing the entire class of plaintiffs. There are pros and cons to joining a class action lawsuit versus filing as an individual plaintiff.

A class action lawsuit rarely involves any upfront expense on the part of the plaintiff, whereas filing as an individual plaintiff may require payment of a retainer fee to an attorney. Filing a drug lawsuit will undoubtedly invoke a barrage of attorneys on the part of the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug. For this reason, having an entire class of plaintiffs and an entire group of attorneys who represent them often evens the odds. On the other hand, a plaintiff in a class action drug lawsuit has very little control over the proceedings and generally does not actually receive much in the way of compensation by the time the case is settled and the proceeds are spread over the class of plaintiffs. An individual plaintiff, however, can receive a rather large award if he or she manages to win the case.

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