A drug injury attorney must know the deadline to sue. For example, the deadline to sue for personal injury in New Jersey is generally two years from the date of the incident. That includes cases involving defective products, otherwise known as products liability claims. (Sometimes, the personal injury suit deadline in New Jersey is actually longer. For example, if the victim was a minor. Or if the victim had no reasonable way of knowing immediately that they suffered harm. On the other hand, in government liability cases, there is a deadline that expires just 90 days from the incident.)
But what if the client of the drug injury attorney lives in one state, and the drug manufacturer is from a different state? Suppose that each state has a different deadline to bring a personal injury claim? Which deadline controls?
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently had to decide this very question. An Alabama man took the acne drug Accutane. The drug did improve his complexion. However, it also allegedly caused him to contract a severe case of irritable bowel disease. Indeed, he allegedly came down with a permanent case of that horrible condition. Among other things, he required a colostomy. (A colostomy is a surgical opening from the colon, generally to the surface of the abdomen. It provides a new path for waste to leave the body –usually into a pouch.)
The victim claimed that the side effect warnings that accompanied the drug were inadequate. His lawyer filed a lawsuit in New Jersey. But, before he did, Alabama’s deadline to sue expired. However, there was still time left on the deadline under New Jersey law.
At trial, the drug injury lawyer won a substantial verdict from the jury.
The drug manufacturer screamed foul. It filed a court motion to throw out the verdict. The manufacturer’s lawyer argued that the Alabama deadline should apply to an Alabama resident. But the trial judge disagreed, and let the verdict stand. The Accutane manufacturer appealed. The appeals court reversed the trial judge’s ruling, and dismissed the case.
DRUG INJURY ATTORNEY WINS DEADLINE ARGUMENT IN NJ SUPREME COURT
Now it was the turn of the drug injury attorney to appeal. The appeal was successful.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the longer New Jersey deadline would apply. While the ruling was quite technical, the gist of it was that “New Jersey has a substantial interest in deterring its manufacturers from developing, making, and distributing unsafe products, including inadequately labeled prescription drugs.”
I agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The upshot from this case is that, if you are ever injured by a defective product or drug, don’t assume that you are out of time to sue. Even if years have passed, an experienced drug injury lawyer may still find a way to get compensation for you. Though, sometimes, it may mean suing in a different state.