A pharmacy error could worsen current health conditions, or cause new ones to arise, resulting in hospitalization or even death. If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of a prescription error, call a Poughkeepsie pharmacy error lawyer today to discuss the specifics of your potential case. A skilled medical malpractice attorney could evaluate what damages may be applicable and help you file a claim for monetary compensation.

Defining Pharmacy Malpractice

Along with physicians and other healthcare providers, pharmacists must complete years of education and undergo extensive supervised training. Accordingly, New York law holds pharmacists to the same standard of care as physicians. A pharmacist is required to exercise due care when distributing medication. Common pharmacy errors include:

  • Dispensing the incorrect medication
  • Failure to notice possible allergies or interactions
  • Misunderstanding a dosage or misreading a doctor’s prescription
  • Distributing the incorrect dosage amount
  • Issues with usage directions
  • Errors in compounding that cause incorrect dosage or medications
  • Failing to print warnings regarding potential interactions

Not every negative drug interaction or side effect constitutes a pharmaceutical malpractice case, but if it is reasonable that another prudent pharmacist would have foreseen that error, there may be a valid suit. A pharmacy error attorney in Poughkeepsie could evaluate the plaintiff’s situation and determine if they qualify to collect damages.

Proving Negligence in a Poughkeepsie Pharmacy Error Case

To pursue a positive outcome in a pharmacy error case, a Poughkeepsie attorney must provide evidence to establish the pharmacist’s negligence. Four elements are necessary to prove this type of malpractice claim:

  • The plaintiff and the pharmacist had a relationship and the individual relied on the pharmacist to fill their prescription or offer germane medical counsel.
  • The pharmacist failed to fulfill the industry standard of care.
  • The pharmacist’s breach of this duty of care caused the plaintiff injury, illness, or pain and suffering
  • The pharmacist’s negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s damages

A knowledgeable lawyer could gather any necessary evidence to establish these criteria such as medical records, pharmacy records, expert testimony provided by other pharmacists, any of the remaining prescriptions, medical bills, and paperwork or pay stubs showing lost income.

Who is Liable?

Pharmacists are licensed medical professionals, and as such, must abide by the duty of care that applies to physicians and nurses. If they make an error that results in harm to a patient, they could be liable to pay their damages. However, others might share liability. For example, if the dispensing error occurred in a hospital setting, the hospital might be liable. Employers are liable for the negligence of their employees if the negligence was related to the employee’s duties.

If the pharmacist dispensed the incorrect medication or the wrong dose, and a nurse did not notice the error and administered the drug, the nurse could have liability. If a physician prescribed a drug that was contraindicated, or they prescribed the drug in the wrong dosage, the prescribing physician could be liable to the patient. A pharmacy error attorney in Poughkeepsie could review the facts to identify all of the potentially negligent parties and attempt to hold them accountable.

Seeking a Settlement

Litigation is time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. A local pharmacy error attorney might attempt to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the defendant’s insurer before filing a lawsuit.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement that provides adequate compensation for the plaintiff’s losses, filing a lawsuit might be necessary. Shortly after the attorney files suit, the discovery begins. Discovery is the process where both sides seek to compile evidence and share the information that they have with each other. This evidence could include medical records, pharmacy logs, personnel files, witness statements and depositions, and other relevant information.

Insurers that had been unwilling to negotiate in good faith sometimes soften their stance once they see the evidence of their client’s negligence. In many cases, a plaintiff could receive a significant settlement before trial in exchange for an agreement to drop the lawsuit. Giving up the right to sue is a weighty matter, and an injured person should not agree to do so without appropriate consideration. However, a settlement before trial is often the best outcome for all parties.

Pursuing Damages for Injuries

Plaintiffs alleging a pharmacy error are required to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years and six months of the date of the incident under New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules §214-A. If the health care provider’s error occurred during the course of ongoing treatment, the time period does not begin until treatment is completed. The statutory time frame does not begin for minors until their 18th birthday, but in any situation involving a minor, a suit cannot be filed more than ten years after the alleged incident.

Shared Fault in Pharmacy Error Cases

In some pharmacy error cases, the plaintiff’s conduct might have had an impact on the resulting injury. For example, perhaps the patient took a larger dose than prescribed or used the medication in combination with another substance despite directions to avoid doing so.

A few states bar a negligent plaintiff from collecting damages. Most other states allow negligent plaintiffs to collect reduced damages but only if they were not primarily to blame for their injury. New York, however, allows all plaintiffs to collect damages from other negligent parties, even when the plaintiff bears more responsibility for the injury than the defendant.

When valuing damages, New York courts use pure comparative fault, which diminishes a plaintiff’s recoverable damages in proportion to their share of the blame. A seasoned Poughkeepsie pharmacy error lawyer could help victims calculate how much their claim may be worth after fault is determined.

Contact a Poughkeepsie Pharmacy Error Attorney Now

The first step to recovering compensation is to retain a Poughkeepsie pharmacy error lawyer to handle your case. An attorney could pursue negligent pharmacists and fight for the compensation that you need to cover mounting medical bills. Call now to schedule a case evaluation and get more information regarding how to pursue a claim.