Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Pharmaceutical Company?


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Maybe you woke up not feeling well one morning. Maybe you have been dealing with a chronic illness, or maybe you have been trying to treat an infection that came on suddenly. In each of these instances, prescription medications are often one of the first tools used to treat the health condition. But what happens when the medication that was supposed to make you feel better actually ends up causing severe harm or death?

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?

Before addressing the details of filing a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, it is first important to cover the elements of wrongful death. In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there are several factors that must be present in the situation. An individual must have died because of someone else’s negligence or intent. Additionally, there must be surviving family members who are suffering financially because of the death.

How Does Wrongful Death Occur Because of Pharmaceuticals?

We take prescription medications and antibiotics because they are supposed to treat the ailment, alleviate our discomfort, and help us return to being healthy. Unfortunately, things can go very wrong sometimes. There are several types of pharmaceutical-related claims that can play a role in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The pharmaceutical drugs have catastrophic side effects.

Before any pharmaceutical drug is administered to individuals, it first undergoes rigorous testing to help ensure both its safety and effectiveness, and it must be approved by the FDA. However, dangerous side effects can and do still occur. For example, a drug could be on the market for several years before it is discovered that it significantly increases the risk for certain conditions or injuries, such as heart attack or high blood pressure. In a worst-case scenario, the pharmaceutical manufacturer may have even known about this serious risk and concealed it from patients.

The pharmaceutical drugs have been marketed improperly.

All medications come with some degree of risk for various side effects. Most patients understand that the possibility of side effects exists, but they should also receive accurate information and adequate warnings about the severe injuries that could occur. It is the responsibility of the pharmaceutical manufacturer to provide these details. Additionally, individuals must also receive proper instructions and recommendations from the professionals who are assisting them – healthcare provider, pharmacist, etc.

The pharmaceutical drugs have been defectively manufactured.

You would think that with all the rules, regulations, and requirements in place, it would be nearly impossible for any defects to occur from the time the drug was created at the factory until it was delivery to individuals. Unfortunately, defects can still happen, and the consequences can be catastrophic. If there is an error at the manufacturing facility, the medications can be contaminated or developed incorrectly. Errors could also occur in how the pharmaceuticals are labeled or shipped. And for the individuals who end up taking the defective medications, there could be serious repercussions.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you have lost a spouse or close relative due to negligence regarding pharmaceutical drugs, you have the option to take legal action against the responsible party. But before you can move any further, you first need to get an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side. With professional legal expertise, you can then begin the journey of determining exactly who was at fault for the death. If the pharmaceutical company failed to disclose serious side effects, the drugs were marketed incorrectly, and/or the medications were defective, then you have the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company. Additionally, others could be held responsible as well, such as the doctor or pharmacy, depending on the exact circumstances surrounding your case.

However, there is one very important loophole that you must keep in mind. After the ruling in Pliva v. Mensing in 2011, generic pharmaceutical manufacturers cannot be held liable for any injuries that result from their medications.

What Types of Damages Can I Recover?

Your attorney will help you determine what types of damages you can recover through your wrongful death lawsuit. After losing your spouse or close relative due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses due to injury from the pharmaceutical drugs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of the victim’s anticipated earnings
  • Loss of benefits, such as medical coverage and pension
  • Pain and suffering from the untimely death
  • Loss of love and companionship


How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

By contacting an experienced wrongful death attorney, you get professional assistance in developing a strong case against the pharmaceutical company. Additionally, your attorney will aid in determining both the economic and non-economic damages that you may be able to recover. While the money will not bring back your loved one, it can at least help to ease any burdens you may face.

The attorneys at Ross Feller Casey have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine the best course of action. Best of all, the law firm has an unmatched record of recoveries in catastrophic injury cases, including many successful multi-million dollar lawsuits involving wrongful death caused by pharmaceutical drugs. To learn more about how the law firm can help you, contact the team at Ross Feller Casey today.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.