Medical Causation in Drug Products Liability Cases

What is a drug products liability case?

Drug products liability is an area of the law dealing with personal injury that results from using a drug or medical device.

What must the plaintiff prove in a drug products liability lawsuit in order to recover damages?

The plaintiff (the person suing) has to show that the drug or medical device was defective and that the defective drug or device caused the plaintiff's injury or disease.

What is medical causation?

In order to recover damages in a drug products liability case, it is essential to show medial causation. There are two components to medical causation: general causation and specific causation.

What is general causation?

The plaintiff (the person suing) must prove general causation. This means that the drug or medical device was capable of causing the injury or disease in the general population. Epidemiological studies and expert testimony are used to show general causation. Epidemiology is the study of the incidence of disease in different groups. Epidemiologists determine if a specific drug or medical device and a disease or condition are associated. If so, the next step is to determine whether there is a causal connection between the drug or medical device and the disease or condition. The reliability of epidemiological studies is an issue at trial.

What is specific causation?

The plaintiff must also show specific causation, which means that the drug or medical device actually caused the plaintiff's particular injury or disease. Expert medical testimony is generally necessary to establish a causal connection between the drug or medical device and the plaintiff's injury or disease.

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