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What a Product Liability Attorney Can Do for You

Product liability attorneys specialize in helping people injured by products like dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. They can evaluate claims and see what kind of compensation may be available.

An estimated 34 percent of American adults — including half of those older than 55 — turn to prescription drugs for a variety of health needs. In addition, many Americans rely on medical devices to improve their quality of life.

Drugmakers and medical device manufacturers constantly rush to introduce new products to address these patient needs.  Too often, they don’t test their products adequately before putting them on the market. Even worse, some manufacturers and marketers are aware of dangerous side effects, but hide their products’ risks from consumers.

Their negligence can result in injuries that are costly for those who take the drugs or use the devices. Often the injuries caused by prescription drugs and medical devices are more harmful than the condietions they were supposed to treat.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription drug or medical device, you will likely need financial help. Needed compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit.

However, each circumstance is difference, and many of them are complex. A qualified, experienced product liability attorney can explain the process and help you file a claim.

How Can a Product Liability Attorney Help You?

Prescription drug lawsuits and medical device lawsuits fall under a special category of law known as products liability law. If filing a lawsuit related to a prescription drug or medical device is an action you want to take, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer who is familiar with this type of law.

It is also helpful to talk to a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to prescription drug lawsuits and medical device lawsuits in particular.  You should consider speaking with someone who can use their knowledge to evaluate your situation.

Attorneys can help in a number of ways. They will be able to help you understand your legal rights and options if a drug or device is recalled. They can evaluate whether you have a weak or a strong claim, and if you do have a claim the attorney can file the claim for you. Once a claim (lawsuit) is filed, your lawyer can help negotiate a settlement in the case or take it to trial.

Before you hire an attorney, you want to make sure the attorney is qualified to practice in the state in which you live or the state in which your lawsuit may be filed. You also want to make sure the lawyer is experienced in cases involving pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

Your Rights during a Recall

Usually, by the time the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gets involved and a prescription drug or device is recalled, people have already suffered serious injuries. Fortunately, a product does not have to be recalled in order to sue for injuries.

However, responding to a recall can affect your right to sue later. Often, drugmakers and manufacturers that voluntarily recall their products try to limit their liability in the process. They may try to convince you to waive your right to sue. In exchange, they may offer to pay for treatments to remedy your injuries. But the compensation they offer may not be enough to pay for your treatment. They may also use information obtained from you during a recall in any lawsuit you try to file later. So you should know what to expect when calling a helpline or otherwise responding to a recall. That’s why it’s important to learn about your legal rights early.

You should always consult a physician about any injuries you experience. But you should also consider talking to a product liability attorney to find out how you can protect your rights during a recall.

Do You Have a Claim?

The law requires drugmakers and device manufacturers to make sure they are safe. It also requires them to market their products only for their FDA-approved purposes and to warn the public of any dangers. If the manufacturer or marketer of your prescription drug or device has fallen short on any of these duties and you have suffered injury, you should consider talking to an attorney to see if you have a potential claim for compensation.

Filing Your Claim

Drug and device manufacturers usually sell their products around the world. This means you’ll usually have a choice of filing your claim in your state or in federal court. An attorney can help you decide where to file and handle the entire process — including gathering medical records and other evidence to support your claim — while you focus on your health.

Class-actions lawsuits may form when many people are injured by the same product. An attorney can explain the possible consequences of joining a class action. They can also help you decide whether to join a class action or file an individual lawsuit.

If many cases are filed against the same company in federal court, a judicial panel will often transfer all of the cases to a single court. A product liability attorney can also explain this process, known as multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Negotiating Your Settlement

Drugmakers and manufacturers sometimes decide to keep litigation costs down by agreeing to settle. Product liability attorneys are familiar with these tactics and have experience estimating the value of a case. They can help you evaluate potential settlement offers and decide whether to settle, wait for a better offer, or go to trial.

Litigating Your Case

Attorneys know how to place a fair value to your injuries, including things that are hard to quantify, such as your emotional distress. They will plan your case strategy and present it in the way that best demonstrates how a prescription drug or medical device has damaged your life.

But before you can win damages, a jury has to understand how you were injured and why a manufacturer or marketer is at fault. This depends on the law and how it applies to the facts, including the medical evidence. Skilled and experienced attorneys understand both and know how to explain your case to a jury.

Choosing the Right Attorney

There are many factors that affect your decision to select an attorney. Here are just a few things to consider:
The attorney’s experience and reputation.
The attorney’s ability to listen to and communicate clearly with you.
How comfortable you feel sharing your medical history with the attorney.
How thoroughly the attorney looks at the pros and cons of your case.

Product liability attorneys usually work on a contingency fee basis, which means they are only paid if you win or settle. But be sure to ask about fees and expenses before you sign a retainer agreement.

You should put appropriate thought into hiring an attorney. But remember that the law limits the amount of time you have to file a claim.