After suffering severe bleeding incidents, former Xarelto patients have been shocked by damning evidence that Bayer Pharma and Janssen Pharmaceutical may have hid the drug’s significant risks from consumers. Prominent public safety advocates, including researchers at the US Food & Drug Administration, have also called Xarelto’s effectiveness as an anticoagulant into question.
Thousands of former patients have already sued pharmaceutical giants Bayer and Janssen over their “revolutionary” blood thinner. They say Bayer oversaw fraudulent clinical trials, while concealing the fact that Xarelto was approved without an antidote to reverse its potentially-fatal effects.
Thousands Have Filed Xarelto Lawsuits. Should You Join Them?
With more than 2,000 lawsuits now consolidated in the US District Court of Louisiana, effectively putting the growing litigation on a fast-track to verdicts or settlements, the legal community believes numerous patients will step forward in the coming months.
You could be one of them, one of the many patients with atrial fibrillation or deep vein thrombosis who suffered uncontrollable bleeding after being prescribed Xarelto. Family members, including those who lost their loved ones to an irreversible bleed, are also eligible to file Xarelto wrongful death lawsuits.
Who Can File?
Any one who believes they were adversely affected by Xarelto has the right to file a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and its marketer, Bayer Pharma. However, that doesn’t mean every legal claim will be viable.
It’s likely that the Xarelto litigation will focus on the drug’s link to a few specific injuries. Here’s a look at the types of harm patients say Xarelto can cause:
- serious internal bleeding in any organ; gastrointestinal bleeds seem to be most common
- infections contracted after a knee or hip replacement
- bleeding in the brain
- uncontrollable bleeding after surgery
Some patients have even suffered from strokes, heart attacks and pulmonary embolism, conditions Xarelto was designed to treat. They’re filing lawsuits, too, claiming the drug’s manufacturers misrepresented how effective Xarelto is. Tragically, hundreds of widows and widowers have also filed suit, accusing Bayer and Janssen of deadly wrongdoing.
But for all their individual differences, every patient says that if the companies had been forthcoming about Xarelto’s significant risks, they would have chosen a traditional anticoagulant, like warfarin, instead of the drug that allegedly caused them harm.
How Should I Choose A Lawyer?
In filing their lawsuits, patients seek a wide range of damages, from growing medical expenses to compensation for emotional trauma. In reality, pursuing justice in a personal injury claim may be the only way that many of these families stay out of bankruptcy.
But even with the considerable upside of winning a Xarelto lawsuit, legal action comes with its own unique combination of risks and frustrations. One way to reduce those risks? Choose the right attorney to represent you.
Signing on with the wrong lawyer can lose you more than just money, although you’ll certainly lose that. Time is another valuable asset you’ll be short on, and more importantly, you might end up losing your case altogether or get shortchanged in an inadequate settlement. Under certain circumstances, you could even lose out on your right to sue again, even if you ultimately find a good attorney to handle your case.
Narrowing Down Your Options
There are hundreds of thousands of lawyers (1.3 million in the US at last count), but the vast majority specialize in a specific area of the law. That specific legal domain is called an attorney’s “practice area.”
Contact a contract lawyer and you can expect them to understand the intricate federal and state laws controlling how and when people enter legally-binding agreements with one another. Product liability law, on the other hand, the legal domain in which most Xarelto lawsuits have been filed, may be far from their expertise.
So first things first: find a lawyer who routinely works in product liability claims. Better yet, find one whose experience includes a significant amount of personal injury claims involving dangerous pharmaceutical products, like prescription drugs or medical devices. You want someone who’s been through this before.
Ask people you know for referrals. You’ll still have to do a lot of research online, but friends and family members might have a few ideas in your area.
How To Vet Attorneys
Check to see if the attorney’s website has a “Results” or “Verdicts & Settlements” page. This is where the law firm will list their past victories and describe how they’ve helped other clients like you. Attorneys aren’t allowed to lie about their past cases, so finding a lawyer with multiple successful pharmaceutical litigations under their belt should be as easy as reviewing their results.
After you’ve identified several potential attorneys, it’s time to start interviewing them. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to potential clients. When you call a lawyer, they’ll be looking to understand the facts of your case. They want to know how high their chances of winning would be if they took you on as a client. You should do the same thing.
6 Things To Ask An Attorney Before You Hire
Here are a few questions to start out with:
- How many years total have they been in practice?
- How much experience does the lawyer have with similar cases?
- What’s their track record? What percentage of their cases have resolved in favorable verdicts or settlements?
- Are they certified or licensed as particularly qualified in a certain area of the law?
- How does their fee structure work?
- Can you get references to past clients?
Be careful to evaluate their manner, too. Does the attorney seem professional? Compassionate? Concerned with your well-being? You want to find someone who truly cares about the outcome of your case. The ideal lawyer is someone who you feel comfortable working with, both as a person and a professional.
Look Into Their Background
Lots of lawyers seem good on the surface. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper.
- Follow up on those references you got. Former clients might not be forthcoming with details, but their general experience should be a good indicator of an attorney’s responsiveness and dedication.
- Check out your state’s legal disciplinary organization. Every state keeps records on ethical violations committed by attorneys. Make sure the attorney you’re considering is currently licensed to practice law in your state.
Pay attention to things you won’t find on Martindale-Hubbel, a site that allows lawyers to review other lawyers, too. Is the attorney’s office clean and organized? Are support staff members friendly and welcoming, or dismissive and stressed?
Do I Need To Find A Lawyer In Louisiana?
While the Xarelto litigation has been transferred to the US District Court of Louisiana, and new lawsuits will be directly filed in that state, you do not need to hire local counsel in New Orleans.
How Can I Help My Attorney?
Most personal injury lawyers offer their services on a contingency-fee basis. Instead of paying up-front for their representation, you’ll owe them a percentage of the jury award or settlement they win at the end of the case. If they don’t win, you don’t pay them, although you may be on the hook for some legal expenses, like filing fees.
Still, there are ways to keep any possible legal fees to a minimum. With your lawyer’s guidance, be proactive:
- Gather all the documents, including medical records and bills, that you think might be important and bring them with you when you meet your attorney.
- Collect all the names and contact information for people who are arrived. Definitely include your doctors and family members who can attest to the extent of your injuries.
- As the work progresses, keep a notepad with you and write down any questions you have for your lawyer.
Be open with your lawyer. Share everything that could be important to the case, including things you think might not be in your favor. Everything that you say or give to your attorney is confidential.