This blog has previously discussed the some of the types of regulations that truckers and their employers must follow to satisfy federal and Texas safety laws. These rules exist mainly for the protection of others who use the public roadways in the state. Because of the large size and weight of fully loaded commercial vehicles, they tend to pose a particularly dangerous hazard when involved in accidents. While it is not pleasant to contemplate, those who have been injured, or who have had a family member killed in an accident involving a truck, may have a way to recoup some of their financial losses.
A couple weeks ago we briefly introduced the term 'bellwether' lawsuit. For those readers who missed it or do not remember, these are suits that are expected to give both the plaintiffs' and defendants' bar in certain types of civil suits an indication of how courts and juries tend to react to certain issues and evidence that will be common among many cases about a similar issue. The outcomes in these cases will make it easier for parties to negotiate proper settlements in future cases involving similar allegation, thus allowing the judicial system to be more efficient and, hopefully, saving parties money in litigation costs.
Most Texans have probably seen television commercials for drugs that air during their favorite shows. These advertisements often show attractive, active people who are overcoming their physical or mental ailments with the help of a certain type of pharmaceutical. These also often have voice-overs that very quickly list the various side effects that the users of the drugs might have. Sometimes, they may also allude to the fact that people who cannot afford the medication can get it for free.
An expected 'bellwether' lawsuit against a large pharmaceutical manufacturer was reportedly settled last month. Bellwether suits are cases that are expected to give legal professionals an idea of what to expect from similar cases that may be filed at a later date. In this instance, the suit was settled confidentially, so no settlement amount is available at the time of this post, though other suits regarding similar issues resulted in jury verdicts ranging from half a million dollars to over two million.
A previous post here discussed the idea of statutes of limitation on lawsuits for personal injury or wrongful death in certain cases involving medical professionals. As we discussed then, not only might a lawsuit be barred if it is commenced longer than two years after the injury occurred or was discovered, but, in cases of the use of a defective medical device, there may be a "statute of repose" that also comes into play. But what does this mean in Texas?
When Texas residents think about defective products, they likely picturing items that have some kind of physical problem with the product itself, such as a design or manufacturing defect. This is especially true when it comes to prescription medications. When the topic of 'defective drugs' comes up, it is common to think of drugs that don't do what they are supposed to, or contain chemicals they are not supposed to contain. However, there is a type of defect that can occur that is as dangerous, and possibly more common when it comes to pharmaceuticals: defective labeling or instructions.