How Do Class Action Lawsuits Work?
A class action lawsuit is when a person or a small group of people sue for harm they have suffered, but do so in the interests of a larger group of individuals who have been similarly harmed.
Consumers have a right to sue pharmaceutical companies if they were were either hurt or suffered severe distress due to a side effect of the medication that wasn’t properly disclosed.
Consumers also have the right to sue drug companies if they have advertised the medication for uses other than what it was originally approved for for and the consumer and the consumer suffers serious risks that were not disclosed.
To be considered part of the class in a class action lawsuit against you need to show that the medication was taken during a specific time period and that you suffered the same injury described in the suit.
When discussing a potential lawsuit against a drug company, your lawyer should:
- Determine how many other people suffer the same injury
- Find out if your suit would fall within the statute of limitations
- Review prior verdicts that have similar lawsuit claims
- Make sure whoever you want to sue is not protected
- Determine if an individual lawsuit or a class action lawsuit would be better for you
If your attorney decides to file a lawsuit he or she will need to make a legal filing that describes what damages were caused by taking the drug, and the requirements they think should be used in deciding which people make up the “class.” The lawsuit is not officially a class action lawsuit until the judge in charge of the case makes that decision.
Class action lawsuits typically take a long time, often many years. First, a great deal of medical information needs to be collected and presented, and interpreting that information can take a lot of time and effort. The stakes are also typically very high, as damages caused by drugs can severe and the number of people in the class can be high. In cases where a drug company is found guilty, total damages awarded for the entire class together often are measured in hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.
If a legal ruling is made that the drug company is guilty and owes damages, the court will send out a notice to the class members regarding what the outcome of the lawsuit claim was and what rights they have.