All consumers expect the products they use to be safe for their intended purposes. A car should be able to be driven without fear that a defective airbag will suddenly and unexpectedly explode, a child's crib should allow a child to sleep without his or her parents fearing that the child will get stuck in the railing, and frozen foods should be eaten without concern that they are contaminated with life-threatening bacteria. Although federal regulations seek to keep consumers safe from these dangerous products, the sad truth of the matter is that far too many of these products make it to market, putting many consumers at risk of serious harm.
To see an example, one need only look at a recent lawsuit that involved the drug Depakote. The medication, which is used to treat bipolar disorder, has been accused of causing birth defects, which was the basis of this recently decided case. There, a woman sued AbbVie, the drug's maker, for failing to warn her and her psychiatrist of the potential birth defects that could arise from taking the medication while pregnant. As a result, the woman claimed, her child was born with serious birth defects. A federal court upheld a $15 million verdict in her favor.
Similar lawsuits have been filed claiming that Depakote has had similar effects, directly caused by its maker's failure to warn. However, the courts have not reached the same conclusions. Although a Missouri court has awarded millions to victims, an Ohio court found in favor of the drug maker. This highlights how contentious product liability cases like this can be, and just how important it is to make clear and convincing legal arguments when pursuing one of these claims.
Those who have been harmed by a defective product or improper safety labeling can face years, decades, or even a lifetime of hardship. They may incur unexpected medical expenses, face lost wages when they are unable to work, and experience pain and suffering that they don't deserve. When this happens, victims need to carefully consider the best route to protect their best interests, which may include taking legal action.