Finding a Reglan Lawyer
Those who have developed the condition known as tardive dyskinesia as the result of the side effects of the prescription drug Reglan must endure not only the physical discomfort of their condition – the uncontrollable physical movements that not only affect the facial muscles, but the arms, fingers, and even torso, hips and legs – but social issues as well. In a world in which most people are expected to deal with the public to some degree in order to survive, odd facial tics such as chewing, lip-smacking, tongue-thrusting, eye-rolling and grimacing are invariably misinterpreted by others and can make functioning in the outside world impossible.
Tardive dyskinesia can be genuinely disabling as well. In some cases, rapid eye-blinking is bad enough to make a person legally blind. In other cases, the involuntary, compulsive movements and contractions can affect the muscles involved in swallowing and breathing, making tardive dyskinesia a potentially life-threatening condition in such individuals.
In any event, this disorder is the result of the side effects of a product that was touted by the manufacturer as "safe," until the FDA finally required "black box" warnings on every package in February of 2009.
Incredibly, the dangers of metoclopramide (the scientific term for Reglan) had been known for decades – and both the FDA and the Veteran's Health Administration had published a study that clearly showed the dangers of Reglan five years before the black box warning was required.
While the federal government for years has failed to protect its citizens, consumer protection laws on the state level are generally more stringent, and allow those who have been injured by a product to hold the manufacturer accountable. Citizens can bring suit against a manufacturer under the laws pertaining to personal injury, also known as torts. Such cases only rarely rise to the federal level; in addition, corporations, valuing their reputations nearly as much as their "bottom line," often will come to a "settlement" in order to avoid the publicity and embarrassment of a trial, particularly today as people are increasingly outraged over corporate behavior.
If you are a Reglan patient who has developed tardive dyskinesia and wish to pursue legal action, it will be necessary to obtain proper legal counsel.
Finding the Right Lawyer
Like medical doctors, lawyers usually go into one of many legal specialties. As mentioned earlier, personal injury law falls into the category of torts; lawyers who handle tort cases are called litigators.
Finding a lawyer qualified to handle your case is not as simple as doing an Internet search, however. Since you are essentially an employer in this situation, you will want interview several different law firms in order to determine which one can best represent your interest. Fortunately, most law firms today offer an initial consultation free of charge, allowing you to explain your case, ask questions and decide whether or not a particular law firm is a good fit for you and your particular case.
What To Ask
There are several things you'll want to know about the lawyer and/or law firm in order to determine if they can best represent you:
- How much experience have they had, not only with product liability in general, but in Reglan cases?
- What sort of research and resources do they have at their disposal?
- What is their success rate?
- How many cases are settled out of court? (This is usually the desired outcome.)
- Will they take your case on a contingency basis?
This last point is important, because few clients are able to come up with legal fees up front. When a law firm takes a case on contingency, it means they receive a percentage (usually about 30 – 33 percent) of any monetary award or settlement they are able to win for you. If the judge decides against you, the lawyers receive nothing. The fact that a law firm would be willing to take your case on a contingency basis is strongly indicative of the strength of your claim.
Do Your Part As Well
In order to help your legal counsel prepare the strongest possible case, you should have plenty of documentation of your condition, including medical and pharmaceutical records, test results, and a clear memory of discussions you have had with the doctor who prescribed Reglan for you. All of this will come in very handy when your lawyers attempt to negotiate a settlement, or, if the case comes to trial, present your case.