Strict Liability – Pharmaceutical Products

Under product liability law, drug manufacturers can be held strictly liable for injuries or deaths caused by their products, irregardless of the degree of care they took to prevent such harm. Stated another way, a seller of a pharmacutical product is liable without being at fault for the damages they cause if their product is sold in a defective condition, which is defined by the law as being “unreasonably dangerous” to the consumer for intended use.

As stated, the single most important issue to be legally determined is whether the product is “unreasonably dangerous” for its intended use. However, the law also provides that a pharmaceutical product would not be held liable under the law of strict liability if the drug is determined to be unavoidably unsafe.

While the term “unavoidably safe” is a strange and confusing way to classify a drugs potential to harm, it nevertheless means that the benefit of the drug outweighs it’s risk of harm, so long as the labeled descriptions of the drugs adverse effects and potential dangers are clearly made known to the consumer of the drug. This is otherwise known as the duty to warn.

This legal determination of whether a product is so unreasonably dangerous as to be deemed “defective,” requiring the imposition of strict liability, has been held by the courts to be based on the state of scientific knowledge and technology at the time the product was sold and not at the time the product liability case comes to trial.

Under product liability law, a drug manufacturer and its entire distribution network can be held strictly liable for your damages. The distribution network has been construed broadly to mean wholesale resellers and retail drugstores and outlets.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury from a drug or medical product, you may have the right to seek damages and compensation for your past and future medical expenses, loss of income, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering. These are known as economic and general damages.

The plaintiff carries the burden of proof in drug liability cases. This means that the plaintiff must prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence meaning at least fifty-one percent.

These types of cases can be filed by an individual plaintiff through his or her attorney or through the legal process known as a class-action. In either case, you should make sure your personal injury lawyer has extensive experience in this very complicated area of the law.

To learn more about the law of personal injury see below for related topics:

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