What exactly is a prescription mistake attorney? Simply put, these are lawyers who have experience in handling cases for patients or their families who were harmed because a mistake was made in prescribing, filling or administering drugs or medication.
When this happens, a prescription mistake attorney will attempt to prove the mistake was caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional which is a form of personal injury known as medical malpractice.
There is very little perfection in healthcare, whether it be in diagnosis, surgery, care or treatment of an illness, injury or condition. The same can be said for care involving drugs and medication. Although the overwhelming majority of doctors, pharmacists and others responsible for issuing, filling or administering prescriptions are highly trained and diligent in all aspects of their jobs, mistakes sometimes occur.
When one does make a mistake and someone suffers harm as a result, the person responsible may be held legally liable if it can be shown that the mistake could and, therefore, should have been avoided.
Is it time for a lawyer?
If you or someone you know suffered harm that might have been caused by a prescription mistake, you should consider seeking the services of a prescription mistake attorney. Although you may be tempted to avoid paying for a lawyer, there are several compelling reasons why hiring a prescription mistake attorney is worth it.
Perhaps the most persuasive argument for hiring this type of personal injury lawyer is that the area of medical malpractice is very complex. With rare exception, only an attorney who has successfully represented clients whose cases involved prescription mistakes has the competence necessary to assess whether you may have a solid case and, if you do, exactly what evidence will be required and which witnesses your case will need in order to succeed.
Proving that a doctor erred in prescribing a certain medication or that the pharmacy made a mistake in filling it is normally very difficult. Also difficult to establish will be that a nurse at the hospital or care facility administered an incorrect dosage or perhaps even the wrong drug altogether. Evidence may be hard to come by and witnesses willing to confirm that someone was negligent may be scarce.
The odds are not in your favor.
Not surprisingly, whenever a healthcare professional, hospital, convalescent care center or pharmacy is suspected of making a mistake that may have caused harm or injury to a patient, they will make every effort to avoid liability. And make no mistake, they have the resources to do so.
The medical care industry is big business. Like other major industries, it employs prestigious law firms and the most defense-minded insurance companies. A prescription mistake attorney knows this and knows what to expect from the other side.
The lawyer can provide you with the information and guidance you will need throughout the process of filing an insurance claim for medical malpractice and, if necessary, commencing a lawsuit to recover damages.
What you need to know about medical malpractice.
Before you hire an attorney, however, you should know that not every mistake made involving your prescription rises to the level of professional negligence. In order to make the case that you are entitled to recovery for damages because of medical malpractice, the following factors must be present:
The healthcare professional did not provide you with the proper standard of care.
For example, a pharmacist who misread the prescription and dispensed double the dosage that the doctor prescribed of a heavy narcotic painkiller may be deemed negligent if you “operated heavy machinery” while taking it.
The test for determining the proper standard of care is whether a qualified professional would have made the same mistake under the same or similar set of circumstances. If not, the pharmacist, in this case, may have been negligent.
Your prescription mistake attorney will look for other indications of professional negligence such as:
The physician simply prescribed the wrong medication for the illness or injury with which you were diagnosed, even if the incorrect medication was intended to treat the same condition.
The wrong dosage of the correct medication was prescribed.
There was a failure to provide the correct instructions for use or a failure to provide you with information and warnings regarding side effects. Examples include:
- Was the medication to be taken with food?
- Were certain foods to be avoided? Grapefruit, for example, should not be consumed by anyone taking Atorvastatin (Lipitor and others) to treat high cholesterol.
- Should you have spaced out the time between taking different medications rather than taking them all at the same time?
- The doctor’s handwriting is illegible to the pharmacist and causes her to fill the prescription in error.
- The hospital staff or employees of convalescent care center or other health care facility administer the wrong medication or the correct medication in the wrong dosage or with the wrong frequency.
The negligence (inadequate standard of care) directly or indirectly caused harm or injury.
If, for example, you fell asleep while driving because of the narcotic painkiller and crashed your car, a prescription mistake attorney could argue that you would not have fallen asleep had you been given the correct dosage.
This is a question of fact and the court will weigh the evidence to determine whether the mistake was in any way responsible for your motor vehicle accident.
The injury or harm suffered must be substantial which means that it must have lasting significant consequences.
Using the painkiller example once more, let’s assume that instead of driving you simply took the medication before bed but the heavy dosage caused you to sleep through your alarm and resulted in you arriving late for work.
While certainly annoying and perhaps even detrimental to your job standing, a court will probably not view tardiness as proof that you suffered harm of any significant consequence.
Chronic pain, significant loss of income, reduced mental or physical capacity or other demonstrable condition that has a significant impact on your life are all examples of consequential harm.
Common symptoms resulting from a prescription mistake include:
- Allergic reaction, from mild to very serious.
- Chronic pain.
- Internal bleeding.
- Organ damage to, for example, kidneys, liver, lungs or brain.
- A coma.
If you believe that you or a loved one experienced professional negligence because a mistake was made involving medication, you may have a case for medical malpractice. If so, then a prescription mistake attorney at Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith is just what the doctor ordered.