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Pharmacy Error – When Do I Have a Claim?

Most patients do not know what is on their prescription notes. All they know to do is hand it over to the pharmacist, who issues the right drugs and dosages.

In most cases, pharmacists do their job well, but like all humans, they can make mistakes. Unfortunately, these errors can come at a massive cost to the involved patients, in some cases leading to death. If you believe you have suffered harm due to a pharmacy error, this guide can help determine if you have a claim.

Proving Negligence

Pharmacy error claims, like most personal injury claims, are negligence-based. This means you only have a claim if you can prove all of the four elements of negligence: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and harm.

A duty of care is the pharmacist’s responsibility to exercise care when dispensing drugs to patients. If they fail in this responsibility, they will be in breach of care, which isn’t sufficient ground for a pharmacy error. The case only has standing if the breach results in a mistake in drug dispensation and compensable harm to the patient.

Common Pharmacy Errors

Dispensing Wrong Medication and Dosages

Dispensing wrong medication occurs when a pharmacist dispenses medication not on the doctor’s note. On the other hand, dispensing wrong dosages occurs when the pharmacist dispenses the right medication but the wrong dosage.

Several circumstances can give rise to such scenarios, for example, a mix-up during dispensing where the pharmacist is serving different patients, distractions, or illegible prescription notes.

Failing to Identify Drug Interactions

If a patient is taking more than one drug, the prescribing doctor and the pharmacist must ensure that the drugs do not result in adverse interactions after consumption.

Drug interactions refer to reactions between one drug and more. In some cases, it can occur between drugs and certain foods. Pharmacists must ensure they do not dispense drugs that could result in adverse reactions to patients and point out any such interactions with foods to ensure patient safety.

Expired Medication Errors

All drugs have an expiration date, after which they may lose their effectiveness and, in some cases, produce toxic substances that could harm a person once consumed. If a pharmacist issues expired drugs and thus causes harm to patients, they can be liable for resulting damages.

How Much Is a Pharmacy Error Claim Worth

The worth of your pharmacy error claim depends on several factors, such as the severity of the injuries suffered. More severe injuries require more extensive and expensive treatment, directly impacting economic and non-economic damages.

“The involvement of a lawyer is also a huge factor. Lawyers have experience and training in damage valuation. As such, they leverage this knowledge to ensure that a claimant gets the most favorable outcome regarding settlement value,” says New York personal injury lawyer John H. Fisher of The New York Injury & Malpractice Law Firm, P.C.

Also, a pharmacy error claim is a relatively technical claim. It requires a technical approach only a lawyer can offer while working with experts, without which your chances of recovering reasonable compensation in New York will be pretty low.

Recoverable Damages in a Pharmacy Error Claim

Like other personal injury claims, successful claimants in a pharmacy error claim in New York recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages encompass tangible losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic damages encompass intangible losses such as pain and suffering, stress, depression, etc. Where gross negligence or intentional tort is a factor, the court may award punitive damages at trial.

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