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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit If I’m Injured by a Drug?

Suffering an injury from a prescription medication you assumed was safe is devastating.

Despite claims of effectiveness and safety, prescription drugs hurt people every day. Many of these injuries are serious – some are even fatal.

Nothing can give you back the life you had before you were injured by a dangerous drug, but you might be able to take legal action if you are harmed. If you think a lawsuit might be the best option for you, it’s important to understand how long you have to act.

How Soon Do I Need to File a Lawsuit after I’m Injured?

The length of time you have to file a lawsuit after an event occurs is known as the statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary from situation to situation and state to state. The statute of limitations might also vary based on whether a case is filed in a state or federal court. It’s important to speak to an attorney about your specific circumstance to determine the exact length of time you have to act in your situation.

Most states allow at least two or more years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Keep in mind, this is from the date that your injuries were discovered, which isn’t necessarily the date that the event occurred.

For example, let’s say the statute of limitations in your state is two years and you’re involved in a vehicle crash that results in two broken legs. You know your legs are broken within minutes of arriving at the hospital and being x-rayed. You’d have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit because the statute of limitations kicks in immediately when you know you are injured.

Now, let’s say you were exposed to a harmful substance while on the job but didn’t realize it until two decades later when you are diagnosed with cancer. In this case, you’d have two years from the date of your cancer diagnosis to take legal action. You didn’t know about the exposure and the fact that you were made ill while the event was happening, so you’re given a timeframe that starts after you know about your illness.

Cases related to dangerous pharmaceutical medications are handled similarly.

If you suffer an immediate reaction to a drug, the statute of limitations would be from the date you had the reaction. If you don’t discover an injury until you’ve been taking the medication for a decade, you’d have from that point to take action, as opposed to the date you began using the drug.

Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit?

Many people who are injured by a drug choose to join a class action lawsuit. Dangerous drug class actions are filed when multiple people suffer injuries caused by the same product. They can make the process of pursuing legal action more convenient and might allow people who would otherwise not be able to file a lawsuit to participate in one.

However, despite the benefits of class action lawsuits related to dangerous drugs, they aren’t right for everyone who has been injured. If your injuries or illness is more severe than the average person using the drug, anything you receive in a class action is likely to be out of proportion with what you experienced.

In a class action, you receive an equal portion of a lump sum award divided up among plaintiffs after legal and other fees are paid. Furthermore, by participating in a class action related to a dangerous drug, you’ll likely give up your right to take individual legal action.

If you believe you have been injured more severely than the average user of a drug, you should opt-out of the class action and speak to an attorney about your specific situation. You should also do this as soon as possible to avoid a problem with the statute of limitations.

Dangerous drug lawsuits are filed all the time and give people who are injured or made ill an opportunity to recover damages. This could be an option for anyone hurt because of a drug, but it’s important to take action as soon as possible to avoid problems with the statute of limitations.

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