We get plenty of questions from readers about filing a claim. Here, we’ve compiled the answers to the ones we hear most often.
Our Top 7 Questions, Answered
1. What’s the deadline for filing my claim?
This is a question we can’t answer for you on DrugJustice.com. Every claim is unique, and filing deadlines are different in every state. Only a lawyer can tell you how much time is left for you to claim any settlement money. While each state has its own unique Statute of Limitations for claims like yours, each one includes some exceptions.
2. How much money will I get if my case wins?
Only a judge can truthfully answer such questions. However, an attorney may tell you recent settlement amounts paid for cases similar to yours.
3. How long does it usually take to resolve a case?
Nobody can answer these types of questions without reviewing your medical history. However, you should never share this information with anyone online! If your individual case goes to court, it could take much longer to resolve unless the defendants offer to settle. An approved MDL (multi-district litigation) dramatically speeds up your claim’s resolution time. Plus, you’re far more likely to win a settlement after transferring your claim for consolidation. Joining an approved MCL (multi-county litigation) is likely your fastest option to get your claim resolved and win settlement money.
4. What do lawyers typically charge for claims like mine? How much does it cost to just answer my questions?
The lawyer that completes your free case review specializes in mass tort claims. Mass tort attorneys always work on contingency. That means you pay nothing unless your case wins. So, the lawyer we match you with won’t accept your case unless they believe you’ll qualify for a settlement. If your case does win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee afterwards. You’ll review a fee agreement and sign it before filing your claim, so the amount is no surprise. Plus, you can get confidential answers to all your questions for free before you decide to do anything.
5. How can I prove X (drug, device, product) caused my Y (injury, side effects)?
There are three steps to proving your harm came from a specific cause, including:
Step #1: Gather any proof you used, took or bought the item that harmed you.
If your doctor prescribes a medication with undisclosed side effects, your medical history will show that. Your health insurance provider, doctor or pharmacy can print those records out for you. For medical devices, you’ll need relevant information from your surgeon. Find out the device’s name, model number (if relevant) and submit copies of bills/receipts from your surgery to your lawyer. Hospital records may also help prove your case.
Step #2: Follow your lawyer’s advice to preserve anything you may submit into evidence in court.
Ask the lawyer how to do that before removing or replacing anything implanted inside your body. For example: If you have an Essure implant, you’ll need to remove it a certain way to preserve any evidence. If you developed cancer after using talcum powder, keep any bottles you still have left at home. Your lawyer can get those products tested for asbestos contamination. Your store receipt may also count as evidence for that case. In addition, a doctor can dissect your tumor after removal. If that doctor finds talc particles embedded in that tumor, your lawyer can submit that evidence in court.
Step #3: Get expert or witness testimony that supports your case through a recorded, sworn statement.
You don’t have to bring your own witnesses or even appear in court for this. Most mass tort attorneys have access to local experts, doctors or scientists they can call on to provide testimony. For example: The manufacturer recalls your hernia mesh three months after undergoing surgery. Your doctor calls and says you need surgery to replace the one you have. When your doctor removes the faulty patch, he notices the old one’s stuck to your intestines. Surgery takes several hours longer than you expected. Your recovery’s slower this time because the old patch hurt you pretty bad. The lawyer then asks your doctor for a sworn statement saying the old patch seriously injured you.
You might not need all three to prove your case, but one or two of these are fairly standard.
6. Will suing a cancer drug manufacturer just make these medications more expensive or harder to get? Or would they stop trying to come up with new ones because too many people sued them? I don’t want that!
There’s no chance whatsoever that this will happen. Companies that make cancer drugs currently spend 3x as much money on marketing as they do on research and development. According to studies, manufacturers inflate the price of each new cancer drug by a billion dollars to cover marketing costs. And that’s not a one-time markup, either. They add a billion to the cancer drug’s price tag annually, and only charge U.S. patients the extra cost. Here’s a takedown of the myth Americans pay more to cover cancer R&D costs for the rest of the world.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind: Companies like Johnson & Johnson earn mind-boggling profits each year. In 2018, J&J earned $81.6 billion dollars. About half that amount, $40.7 billion, came from global pharma sales. Litigation costs for lawsuits like yours are simply line items in their quarterly budgets. Literally every company that produces prescription drugs and medical devices operates the same way. Even if not one single person sued these companies in any given year, most still face litigation. That’s because the U.S. government sues Big Pharma companies for things like Medicare fraud, false advertising and manufacturing safety violations.
7. If this drug/device/product isn’t safe, why am I still seeing it on store shelves? Wouldn’t the FDA just recall it?
Most people don’t know how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration actually works. Many drugs that doctors prescribe don’t go through the agency’s strict PMA (pre-market approval) system. Instead, companies that agree to conduct post-market studies get drugs fast-tracked onto market. That means they don’t conduct clinical safety trials on many different patients first. Post-market studies may run for 5-10 years before the FDA gets that data. That means you’re the guinea pig testing each drug for unknown side effects and long-term complications.
And medical implants are even worse. Today, less than 1% of medical devices that doctors implant into patients’ bodies have FDA approval. Instead, companies “clear” these implants through a controversial process called the 510(k) program. This all started when Congress passed the Medical Device Amendments Act in 1976. Today, a company can submit a letter to the FDA saying their new device is “substantially similar” to another one. That letter gets dangerous things like pelvic mesh and Essure “cleared” for market.
As for why you still see talcum powder on store shelves if it might cause cancer, here’s why. The FDA only approves drugs and medical devices for safety as well as efficacy. Cosmetics fall under a completely different category. As a result, the FDA never tests those products for contamination. Talc is regulated as a cosmetic. In fact, it’s the number-one ingredient in most powder makeups. The FDA has no authority to recall cosmetics, and doesn’t require manufacturers to test products for safety.
In other words, the FDA can never recall Johnson’s Baby Powder that tests positive for asbestos. It can warn consumers when products test positive for cancer-causing substances, like the 2017 Claire’s and Justice makeup scandal. But legally, it has no way to make companies pull their products off store shelves.
Still Have Questions? Get Free, Confidential Legal Advice Today!
The best person to answer questions about your unique injury, side effects or legal situation is a lawyer. You’ll pay nothing to either talk to one over the phone or meet in person to get confidential legal advice. To connect with the closest one near you right now, first, you’ll need to visit this page. Then, choose the relevant drug, product or device from the pull-down menus. If you don’t get a phone call within one business day, it means no nearby lawyers were available to answer your questions.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.