I was given the wrong medication. Can I sue the doctor or the pharmacy?

Whether or not you have a case depends on the facts of your situation. Since every case is different, it would be difficult to make a comprehensive list of all the circumstances that prove you have a case. A big consideration in malpractice cases is how severely injured the patient was as a result of the mistake.

I caught the mistake and didn’t take any.

Personal injury cases are all about the injury. If you caught a mistake before you were injured by negligence, you probably don’t have a case. Even though the pharmacy made a mistake, you weren’t damaged by it, so you probably can’t sue for damages that never existed.

Even though you weren’t injured, it would be a good idea to make the provider aware of the error so that it doesn’t happen again to a less observant patient. If the provider brushes you off or doesn’t treat their error as a big deal, speak to their manager or an administrator if they work at a hospital.

I took it and the side effects were unpleasant, but I got over it.

This depends on how severe the side effects were and how long they lasted. A few days of feeling funny is probably not enough in damages to justify a lawsuit. If you had to take a significant amount of time off work for your recovery or if you have to go to the hospital for a long period of time, it’s possible that you have a case. You might want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney if your damages were severe.

I took it and almost died.

This is a situation that would possibly warrant pursuing a personal injury case, presuming that someone was severely injured as a result of the pharmacy’s negligence. As a result of this experience, the victim would likely have incurred a lot of damages that they wouldn’t have had to deal with if they had been given the correct medication:

  1. You possibly had to go to the emergency room, and you might have had an extensive stay in a hospital or nursing home as you recovered.
  2. Your organs may have been damaged because the pill interacted with another medication or was the wrong dose for you.
  3. You experienced pain that you wouldn’t have felt if you received the proper medication.
  4. You might have long-lasting, even permanent, effects on your body that will change your life forever. You might have difficulty walking, talking, seeing, holding objects, or performing any other function of your daily life.
  5. You might have had to take a long time off work to recover. It’s possible that you can’t return to your previous occupation because of your injuries.
  6. You might have to pay for ongoing care that you wouldn’t otherwise need, like a home nurse or a walker or wheelchair.
  7. You might need surgery in the future to deal with the damage caused by the medication.

If you need to file a lawsuit, be aware that medical malpractice cases are very difficult for patients to navigate by themselves. Determining whether malpractice has occurred is not only a very particular field of law, but a very particular field of medicine. A personal injury attorney who has experience with malpractice cases would likely be able to help you collect and present the evidence that you were damaged as a result of a medical provider’s carelessness.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.