Q: Can my a family member sue a pharmaceutical company over the death of a loved one?
My stepmother was prescribed xenazine, for treatment of Huntington disease. Xenazine has the known side effects of depression and suicidal thoughts. My step mom was never depressed or suicidal before taking this treatment. 4 years ago, she committed suicide at home.
Is it probable to ask the makers of this drug, for some sort of compensation for her death? Since they a producing a drug with known risk of suicidal thoughts.
A: Arising from the situation you describe are potential product liability and medical malpractice claims. However, you may have a statute of limitations problem. Not sure which State you are referencing, as you are writing to Fla. attorneys on Justia, but you are writing from Birmingham, Alabama. In Fla., there is a 4-year deadline to file a product liability lawsuit, and just 2 years for medical malpractice. I am not an Alabama attorney, but from quick googling, it looks like Alabama has a 2-year limitations period for both product liability and medical malpractice.
A: To add to my last answer, there are a couple other limitations period factors applicable to deaths caused by defective products. Fla. has just a 2-year deadline for wrongful death lawsuits that also applies to deaths caused by defective products, even though there is a 4-year deadline for claims regarding injuries from defective products. On the other hand, the "discovery rule" also applies in these cases (at least in Fla.), which means the clock starts ticking on the date the facts giving rise to the cause of action were (or should have been) discovered. For example, let's say a defective product causes a death on 1/1/17, but it's impossible to have known the cause of death until 1/1/20. Then the limitations period would be extended until 1/1/22 - though the defense certainly would make an issue of it, should suit be filed.
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