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Virginia Attorneys > Blog > Dangerous Drugs > Dangerous Drugs And Medical Malpractice

Dangerous Drugs And Medical Malpractice


There is a complex issue within the scope of medical malpractice that involves the prescribing of dangerous drugs to patients in need. What happens if the drug causes a negative reaction? In some cases, it’s just tough luck. That’s how the cards played out, and there isn’t much you can do about it. In other cases, however, it’s possible to file a lawsuit to recover damages related to injuries caused by the dangerous drug. The question then becomes: Who do you sue?

The answer may not be as black and white as you imagine. While the drug companies are liable for injuries caused by their products, holding them accountable is an uphill battle. In some cases, the drug companies will argue that the doctor who prescribed the medication was aware of the potential side effects and did not monitor their patient closely enough. This puts the blame squarely on the doctor.

Dangerous drugs: Medical malpractice or product liability? 

Whenever you hear of “dangerous drug” lawsuits, you’re probably talking about product liability lawsuits. Product liability lawsuits are among the easiest for plaintiffs to win. The plaintiff is not required to prove negligence, only that they were injured by a product that they were using properly. You can’t bang yourself on the head with a hammer or something, but if the handle breaks and hurts your face, that is actionable.

Under the law, drugs are considered products and are thus held to product liability standards in court. The drug company is found liable when the plaintiff can prove that their drug caused an injurious side effect for which they were not warned.

But what happens when the warnings clearly say that specific side effects can occur? The burden then goes to your doctor. Your doctor has a duty of care to ensure that you are being treated in accord with the prevailing standard of care for the medical industry. Monitoring a patient’s symptoms for dangerous side effects is within the purview of their practice.

While product liability lawsuits are among the easiest lawsuits to file and win, medical malpractice lawsuits are, by far, the most difficult. Why is that? Well, your state government officials want to protect the health care industry from unprofitability by ensuring that a plaintiff can only collect so much on a claim. They also want to avoid losses caused by meritless lawsuits that nonetheless require billable hours to defeat. Therefore, the rules regarding medical malpractice lawsuits are much stricter than the rules governing product liability lawsuits.

How do I know if my doctor is to blame? 

If you have suffered a dangerous side effect due to a dangerous drug interaction, the Charlottesville dangerous drugs lawyers at MichieHamlett can review the facts surrounding your case. If the doctor made an error, we can help you file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the drug was intrinsically dangerous, we can file a product liability lawsuit. Call today to learn more!

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