What costs are covered in a drug injury lawsuit?

Updated on December 15, 2020

A drug-related injury has a lot of complications one has to grapple with. Some are going to be related to the pain that one suffered from the drug, while others are going to be related to the cost of the damages caused by the drug, such as any medical costs that you incur. In the event that a drug manufacturer was found to be liable for the damages, it begs the question: what costs incurred by these damages are they liable for? It is a complicated question where the answer is not going to be simple, so we are here to help make it a little less complex.

What are the costs a defendant may be expected to compensate in a drug injury lawsuit?

One of the major causes of a drug injury is to wind up in the hospital as the result of an adverse reaction to any side effects from taking the drug. Roughly more than 1.5 million people are admitted to hospitals due to an injury caused by a prescription drug. This, of course, only accounts for those who go to the hospital, as some choose not to go entirely. Of that 1.5 million people, 100,000 of them pass away from the adverse drug reaction. Prescription drugs are regularly used by a great many people; almost half of the country takes at least one prescription drug per day. Prescription drugs do a world of good to help people with numerous issues and illnesses, ranging from simple physical pain, to depression, to dementia, and to many other things. However, prescription drugs have their own complications, namely the existence of side effects that may occur for all or some of those who take the prescription drug. This is why you will see a lot of commercials where after all the flowery promotion of the prescription medication, you will see a massive list of side effects. In some cases, the prescription may seem like they are a worse deal than the thing the drug is meant to treat!

One may feel inclined to file a lawsuit against a prescription drug manufacturer because of harm that they incurred as a result of a side effect of the drug. However, in order for a lawsuit to be successful, they need to be able to show that the risk of the side effect or effects they suffered from were not adequately demonstrated to them. So for instance, if you found out about the drug from a commercial where they very clearly state the drug’s side effects, and upon purchase you were made aware of this risk even further, you have about a snowball’s chance of a successful lawsuit. Of course, just because a drug company said the side effects does not necessarily make them off the hook for damages either. For example, if the drug company was found to have done an inadequate job of making the side effects clear, a judge or jury may find that any efforts they made to bring to light the side effects were so woefully insufficient that they were comparable to having not warned about the side effects in the first place. It is also possible that the side effects were more severe than they were advertised, so while a side effect may be advertised, they may be found to have understated just how bad the side effect is.

Now we get onto the subject of costs. Luckily for those suing over drug injuries, attorney’s fees and other reasonable costs directly linked to the filing will not be taken out of any compensation you may receive. Medical expenses that were incurred as a result of negligence by a drug manufacturer or the owner of the drug are obviously covered, although you would still have to demonstrate to the court or the defendant that the medical costs were directly caused by an unstated side effect associated with the prescription drug. The kind of medical expenses that are covered may include certain things such as surgery, medical appointments, physical therapy, and other medical costs. You may also be entitled to compensation if the side effect caused long term or otherwise permanent damage. One important thing to take into account when figuring out what costs they will be required to cover is that there may be different state-level laws that are going to be relevant, and make the outcome at least somewhat different than if you had filed in another state. Be sure to check up on your state’s relevant laws to ensure that you are not taken by the unfortunate surprise of a law that may reduce the number of things a drug company is required to cover, or reduce the value of said compensation for damages in a drug injury case.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.