What is a deposition?

Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2019 at 3:22 pm    

By: Jessica Zorn

A deposition is a question-and-answer session when you give testimony under oath before your trial. It is your opportunity to answer questions asked by an attorney and, to some extent, tell your side of the story. Everything said in a deposition is recorded by a court reporter – so anything you say during your deposition could be read out loud at trial.

Opposing counsel will be focusing on a few different things: (1) they want to hear your side of the story, (2) they want to judge you as a witness (see how you will translate on the stand at trial), and (3) gather your testimony so they can prepare to take the case to trial.

What happens during the deposition?

There is no judge or jury in a deposition. Usually, there are only a few people in the room: you, your attorney, the opposing attorney and a court reporter. Sometimes the other party will be in the room, but not always.

Usually, the opposing attorney will begin by asking questions about your background – where you grew up, where you went to school, where you go to church, etc. Those questions help the attorney make sure that your friends and family do not end up on the jury if the case were to go to trial. Everything you say is under oath and will be recorded by the court reporter, so try to speak slow and do not interrupt.

Deposition testimony is not like giving testimony on the stand in a courtroom. If you need a break, ask for one. If you need to speak to your attorney privately, ask for that too. You have the right to get a glass of water or use the restroom, you are not under arrest or forced to sit in the same spot the whole time.
You may hear your attorney verbally object during a deposition, but do not be alarmed. Your attorney probably isn’t trying to signal you to be careful with your answer, he or she is simply putting an objection on the record so that the judge will have to look at the question before it is asked at trial. Unless your attorney instructs you not to answer a question, you can still answer even if there is an objection.

Depositions can last anywhere from thirty minutes to eight hours. Ask your attorney for a more accurate timeline so you know what to expect. Make sure you eat a good meal beforehand and use the restroom to avoid unnecessary delays.

Tips and Tricks for Giving a Good Deposition

Above all else, it is important to remain calm, collected and polite during your deposition. The opposing attorney is trying to see how you would look in front of a jury. If you get agitated or frustrated while you’re being questioned, the attorney will know that he or she can upset you in court and make you look emotional or irrational. Some lawyers will even try to upset you on purpose, but do not fall into that trap. Staying calm and keeping your cool is the best strategy, because it shows the other side and the jury that you are reasonable and confident in your case.

Make sure you talk to your attorney beforehand about any worrisome aspects of your case. If you’re not sure what the speed limit was or you may have had a beer right before your accident, tell your attorney so you will know how to handle those questions if they come up.

The most important tip for giving a good deposition is to only answer the question asked. If you can answer a question in one word, do it.

Do not be afraid to tell an attorney that a question was confusing. A lawyer can always rephrase a question to make it easier to understand. Watch out for a lawyer putting words in your mouth; if the attorney summarizes something incorrectly, do not be afraid to correct them.

Listen very carefully for absolute or broad questions and beware of absolute answers. An attorney may try to trap you by asking a question like, “have you ever had back pain before?” That is a very broad, absolute question. You may not remember ever having back pain, but many people do not remember small instances that required only one doctor visit. Instead of saying “no, I have never had back pain,” the safer answer would be “not that I remember.” Attorneys will research your medical history and try to find one record from twenty years ago that shows mild back pain… and if you testified that you’d never had back pain, then you look like a liar. Instead, hedge your bets and try to answer truthfully: “not that I remember” or “I’ve never had back pain like this before.”

Try to pause or take a breath before answering to make sure you really heard and understood the question. It will help you identify the absolute or broad questions that are trying to trap you.

If you give an answer in a deposition and realize later that your answer was incorrect, feel free to correct your answer. Just speak up and tell the attorney that you suddenly remembered something – it will ensure that your testimony is truthful.

Prepare for your deposition by reading your interrogatory answers again and asking your attorney if there is anything in your medical records you should know about. Your lawyer should be prepared to discuss your criminal history, driving history, medical records, etc. with you in case there is anything you do not remember. You are paying your attorney, so take advantage of their preparedness.

Most importantly, tell the truth, even if it seems like a certain answer would be bad for your case. A lie or a half-truth will probably hurt your case more than an honest bad fact will, because your lawyer has probably already developed a strategy for dealing with the bad fact. You also need to tell the truth because a lie would be considered perjury under oath.

What NOT to do During a Deposition

Do not guess. If the correct answer to a question is “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember,” then say that. Guesses lead to inaccurate answers that could mess up your case.

Avoid absolute answers. Instead of “yes,” try saying “as far as I can remember,” and instead of “no,” try “not that I can remember.” That way, if you remember additional information later, you can change your answer and not seem like a liar.

During your deposition, the opposing attorney may try to catch you in a lie or an exaggeration. Do not exaggerate, make something up, or estimate. If they catch you lying or exaggerating, the attorney can make you look untruthful in front of a jury, and then you will probably lose your case.

Do not volunteer information or over-explain. If you start giving lots of extra information, you are giving the attorney extra facts they can use to prepare for trial, and you are opening the door to hundreds of extra follow-up questions. Witnesses who over-explain during a deposition seem defensive. Have confidence in your case and your attorney; just answer the question. Your answers are little building blocks that your attorney can later build together into a story that makes sense in front of a jury.

Do not talk about any conversation you had with your lawyer or any of your lawyer’s paralegals. Those conversations are privileged, and you do not have to reveal any of it. Similarly, in Alabama state court, you do not have to reveal any conversations or treatment details involving any psychological medical treatment. That includes treatment for drug abuse, alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Do not show up to your deposition under the influence of any medication or drug that might affect your ability to answer questions. You need to do everything you can to give accurate, clear answers and medications might stop you from doing that.

Lastly, do not joke around or get too comfortable. Some attorneys will make it seem like a deposition is a casual conversation to get you to relax and give away too much information, but IT IS NOT a conversation. A deposition should be a very dry question and answer session, that’s it.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not be afraid to ask your lawyer. A deposition can go smoothly with some preparation and following the basic ground rules. There’s no reason to be nervous or anxious as long as you tell the truth, avoid absolute answers, and stay calm. Your lawyer should be with you every step of the way.


10 Reasons Why Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer is Important

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2019 at 9:29 pm    

If you’ve been seriously injured due to an accident caused by someone else, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses. The Birmingham injury attorneys with Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP have been helping people after such tragic accidents for over 20 years, and we can help you too.

Though you’re not required to call on an attorney to deal with your personal injury case, it’s a prudent move. So, what are the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney to fight for you?

1. They’re Professional And Objective

A personal injury can cause you immense physical pain and emotional trauma. The pain and suffering endured as a result of your injury may prevent you from bringing objectivity to your case. Your personal feelings and opinions might affect your ability to stick to the facts of the case.

An accident lawyer is only interested in the facts of your case. They’ll bring knowledgeable perspective to your case so you can get you the settlement you deserve. They’ll fight for you without focusing on things that are immaterial.

2. They Have Excellent Negotiation Skills

When it comes to negotiating how much compensation you should get, the other party will be putting their best foot forward. You’ll need to deal with their insurance representative or their lawyer. These professionals have training in driving a hard bargain and you’re no match for them.

Even when the other party is at fault for your injuries, their representatives may try to persuade you to accept a settlement that’s too small your injuries. Keep in mind that they look out for the best interests of their clients, not yours.

To even things out and increase the amount of compensation you receive, you should hire a lawyer.

3. They Can Help You Get The Medical Attention You Need

If you contact your personal injury lawyer immediately after your injury, they can help you get quality treatment. They might know medical practitioners that can provide you with treatment for the injuries you’ve suffered.

The right medical team will help ensure a speedy recovery, but can also help you get the most out of your personal injury claim. Doctors can serve as witnesses if your case goes to court.

4. They Can Give You Options And Help You Choose The Best One

Pursuing a personal injury claim for your injuries can take time if you’re not familiar with the process. Usually, there are two routes you can take. You can either file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Court action should be the last resort, as it can take time before the court determines your case. However, it may be the only option for you if the offending party has refused to admit culpability for your injuries.

A personal injury lawyer will advise you on the best course of action depending on your specific situation.

5. They Can Help You With Litigation

If the offending party contests your compensation claim, the next available option is to take court action. Even if your personal injury claim is legitimate, going to court may turn the tide against you, especially if the other party has a lawyer and you don’t.

Having a personal injury lawyer in your corner will level the playing field. You can also get the legal representation you need to get the most out of your claim. They’ll gather all the evidence required to win your case in court.

6. They Can Expedite Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have to wait until you get a clean bill of health by your doctor to seek compensation for your injuries, getting settlement might take too long.

If you hire a lawyer, they’ll start pursuing your compensation claim while you’re still recuperating. Lawyers have experience with similar cases, so they’re able to anticipate most of the setbacks they might face. They know what steps to take to avoid those setbacks.

7. They’ll Scrutinize The Defendant’s Evidence

If your personal injury claim ends up in court, the offending party’s legal team will try to prove they’re not responsible for your injuries. If they provide any evidence to support their claim, you’ll need to analyze and counter it. This will require a legal mind, so it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer.

8. They’ll Give You Peace Of Mind

Seeking compensation for your injuries after an accident can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Having a personal injury lawyer will save you time and give you the peace of mind you need to focus on getting better.

Your lawyer will take care of the complex things you don’t want to deal with.

9. They Can Keep Your Settlement Claim On Track

If you’re bogged down with other important things, you may not be able to meet strict deadlines for filing paperwork for your personal injury claim.

A personal injury lawyer keeps tabs on timing and procedures to make sure things happen within the stipulated time limits. This will help keep your compensation claim on the right track. This is vital for ensuring fast settlement of your claim.

10. They’ll Increase Your Chances Of Getting The Compensation You Deserve

When you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, your ultimate goal is to get the full amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries. But keep in mind that the tax treatment for settlement of personal injuries is complex and ambiguous.

The offending party’s insurer’s goal will be to ensure you get the lowest compensation possible through third-party capture. After all, they’re businesses protecting the own financial interests.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer virtually eliminates the risk of settling for less than your case should be worth.

If you were injured in an accident, do not hesitate to contact the Birmingham personal injury lawyers with Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. Our experienced attorneys can help you through the challenging process of filing a lawsuit. Contact us at (205) 324-1212 or fill out an online contact form.


What You Should Know About Rear-End Collisions

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 3:58 pm    

If I’ve been hit in a rear-end collision, is the driver behind me automatically at fault?

rear end collision
When rear-end collisions happen, the trailing driver will likely be considered at least partially responsible for the accident. This is because all drivers have a responsibility to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. If the car in front of you needs to slow down or stop for any reason, you need to allow enough distance to bring the vehicle to a sudden stop and avoid a collision.

There are some instances in which the driver of the car that was rear-ended could be partially responsible for the accident. Some examples of negligence on the part of the driver in front include:

  • Broken or malfunctioning brake lights – If the vehicle’s brake lights were not functioning correctly, the driver of the following vehicle might not have adequate warning of the impending stop.
  • Reversing suddenly – If the driver in front reverses without notice, they could be at fault for the accident.
  • Stopping for no reason – If the driver in front stops without an apparent reason, they could be held liable for the crash.
  • Mishandling mechanical problems – Stopping to address a mechanical issue is normal, but drivers have a responsibility to pull over to the side of the road or engage their hazard lights.

When it comes to recovering compensation for a rear-end collision, it is important to note how the process works. Alabama subscribes to a “contributory negligence” system, which means that it will be challenging to recover compensation if you are found to be at fault for the crash by even a slight percentage.

That’s why it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side if you’ve been hurt or if your property was damaged in a rear-end collision. To secure the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, replace lost wages from time missed from work, and get your vehicle repaired or replaced, you will need to present a convincing claim.

Your attorney will work quickly to secure all of the necessary evidence to prove that the other driver was at fault and behaved negligently. They will negotiate with insurance company representatives to get a fair settlement for your claim, and if no such arrangement is offered, they will try your case in court.

The most important thing to remember after a car accident is that time is of the essence. You should first seek immediate medical attention and then contact an attorney as soon as possible to make sure that vital evidence is preserved and witness testimony is secured.

Contact Us

If you have been hurt in an accident in Alabama, the car accident lawyers at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP are here to help you. We have the experience, skill, and resources that you need on your side. Contact us at (205) 324-1212, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation with us today.


The Truth About Switching Attorneys

Posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 at 3:45 pm    

By: Jessica Zorn

There are two common ways you could end up with a different lawyer handling your case after you hire someone: (1) you may fire your attorney and hire someone new or (2) your attorney may refer your case to a different lawyer or firm.

Here is everything you need to know about navigating those processes, what it means for your civil case, and what’s going on behind the scenes.

Firing Your Attorney

Although you may feel like your civil attorney has total power over your case, you almost always have the power to fire your attorney and hire a new one. You may want to consider switching attorneys if your lawyer does not communicate with you, tells you about deadlines or hearings at the last minute, or if they are unable to explain why your case has not progressed in a long time.
There are a few important considerations when firing your attorney:

  • Call them first. If you are unsatisfied with your lawyer, call them first and see if there is an explanation for your frustrations. The court system is largely outside of an attorney’s control, and it is possible that there is a really good reason for whatever is bothering you. If you can’t get ahold of your lawyer right away, try to email your lawyer or ask to speak to that attorney’s paralegal or legal assistant. Assistants are more available than an attorney who could be scheduled to be in court for weeks at a time.
  • Ask to speak to a senior partner. If your lawyer is an associate in a firm, sometimes a senior partner would be willing to speak to you about how your case is going and why you are upset with your representation. It may be easier, faster and more efficient for you if the partner re-assigns your case to a different associate in the same firm instead of starting completely over with a new firm.
  • If you decide to fire your lawyer, do it in writing. Whether you do it via e-mail or snail mail, keep a copy of the firing letter you send to your attorney. It can be a simple letter stating that you no longer require his or her legal services for your claim or case.
  • Fire your attorney before you hire someone else. There are ethical rules that prevent lawyers from speaking to someone who already has an attorney. Generally, if you’re shopping around for new representation, the new lawyer will ask to see a copy of the letter you sent firing your old attorney. Keep that copy handy when you start looking to hire someone new.
  • Firing an attorney will probably lead to delays in your case. Your new lawyer will need to take some time collecting records and becoming familiar with your case. Be aware that these delays are inevitable – even if they may be worth it in the long run.

Having Your Case Referred

When your case is “referred,” that means your attorney has asked a different lawyer to take over the case. There are many good reasons for a lawyer to hand over a case, and the referral will likely benefit you.

Many civil injury claims have two stages: pre-lawsuit negotiation with the insurance company, and then the lawsuit itself if the parties are unable to settle.

One of the most common reasons for your case to be referred involves attorney expertise in these two areas. There are plenty of civil firms who specialize in negotiation before a lawsuit is ever filed. However, if the insurance company will not settle your claim for a fair number, then a lawsuit needs to be drafted – and your case will be in better hands if it’s being handled by a lawyer with litigation expertise.

On a related note, your case might turn out to be a type of claim that your first lawyer doesn’t normally handle, and a more specialized lawyer needs to work it.

Here are some things to keep in mind if your case is referred to a lawyer you have never met:

  • You will probably not be paying any extra for the new attorney. When your case is referred, that generally means that your old and new attorneys will split the original fees that you had already agreed to pay. You will not be paying for 2 attorneys or a double fee. However, it is always a good idea to verify with your new attorney that your contract with your first lawyer will still be honored.
  • There are usually good reasons for the referral. Call your original lawyer or your new lawyer to ask why your case is being transferred – generally, the change in hands will benefit your claim.
  • Lawyers only refer cases to other attorneys they trust. It can be intimidating to be assigned a new lawyer you’ve never spoken to or met. However, the lawyer you hired sent your case to someone else because he or she trusts them. Do not hesitate to call your original attorney and ask about their relationship with your new attorney, how often they have worked together, etc.
  • Your case may not be significantly delayed because of a referral. When a case is referred, usually the first attorney will send over your entire file to the new attorney. Because both the old and new lawyers are on your side (and they have a pre-existing relationship), the transition can generally be easily made from one lawyer to the next.

Whether you end up changing attorneys by choice or by referral, there are mechanisms in place to make sure your case is in the best hands for the job. Importantly, do not hesitate to contact your attorney (old or new) to ask questions until you feel comfortable with who is working your lawsuit.


Bayer’s Essure Contraceptive: What You Need to Know

Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 at 9:50 pm    

On Friday, July 20, Bayer AG, a German pharmaceutical and chemical company, announced it will cease selling its Essure medical device. Unsurprisingly, Bayer’s announcement was termed a “business decision” due to declining sales rather than the safety and efficacy of the device. In fact, Bayer cited “inaccurate and misleading publicity” as the primary reason for its decommercialization of Essure.

While the Essure device is itself unique, its tortured history is not unlike many implanted contraceptives that came before it. Indeed, the suffering of nearly 1 million women caused by the Dalkon Shield IUD in the 1960s and 70s served as the impetus for Congress’ passage of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (“MDA”). The MDA established for the first time comprehensive federal pre- and post-market regulation of medical devices.

What is the Essure Device?

  • Essure is a small, metal spring-like device wound with synthetic fibers designed for implantation in the fallopian tube to create a barrier of scar tissue to block sperm from reaching eggs.
  • Essure was developed by Conceptus, Inc., and FDA approved by the FDA in 2002. Bayer AG purchased Conceptus, Inc. in 2013, including the rights and liabilities associated with sales of Essure.
  • Since approval, the FDA has received nearly 30,000 reports of serious complications associated with the device, including migration and perforation of the device through tissue and organs, severe autoimmune response (fatigue, hair loss, weight gain), chronic pain and even death.
  • In 2015, the FDA held a public meeting with OB/GYN experts, concerned citizens and women injured by Essure.
  • In 2016, and due to continued complaints of complications and injury, the FDA required Bayer to conduct a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of Essure.
  • In October of 2016, the FDA demanded that Bayer add a “black box” warning to the Essure device.
  • In April of this year, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb took the unprecedented step of imposing “unique” restrictions on the sale of Essure, including limiting the sale of the device to physicians who agreed to employ a “Patient-Doctor Discussion Checklist – Acceptance of Risk and Informed Decision Acknowledgement,” to ensure that the risks associated with the device were presented to prospective users prior to implantation.

What Do You Do if You Have Been Implanted with or Injured By Essure

  • Talk to your doctor to make sure you fully understand the risks of the device
  • If you’ve been injured by the device, consider seeking legal assistance now as your claim may be subject to strict time limits.

By Nate Vanderveer


The Dangers of IVC Filters

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 at 4:17 pm    

Have you suffered complications from an IVC filter? Contact the Birmingham defective medical device lawyers at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today for a FREE case evaluation.


The Biggest Food Recalls in History

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 at 3:59 pm    

If you or a loved one has been harmed by contaminated food products, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact our experienced lawyers today to explore your legal options.


How Nursing Home Understaffing Can Lead to Senior Abuse and Neglect

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 at 3:25 pm    

There comes a time when most of us need some form of regular medical assistance, whether from friends and family or a senior living facility. For those who need help with activities of daily living (ADLs), a nursing home is often the only option.

Unfortunately, nursing homes also have a reputation for abuse and neglect. Due to understaffing, residents are often abused and neglected by overworked and distracted medical professionals.

Nursing Home Understaffing Statistics

The level of understaffing in nursing homes is astonishing. According to a 2002 New York Times article, the Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 90 percent of nursing homes were insufficiently staffed at the time.1

The situation hasn’t improved much since then. In 2014, the Center for Public Integrity published their findings from a nationwide analysis of nursing home staff. They compared reports of staff numbers on the Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare website with the costs nursing homes provided to the Medicare program.

The discrepancy between the data sets was enormous. Eighty percent of nursing homes reported more staff on Nursing Home Compare than in their financial documents. In other words, anyone who visited the government website received an overinflated staff estimate when researching their nursing home options.2

Why Nursing Homes Are Understaffed

There are two feasible explanations for nursing home understaffing:

  • Lack of willing nurses in the area
  • Owners deliberately cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profits

Some unsafe nursing homes are truly doing their best to provide for residents but cannot find or retain staff. Since nurses and nursing aides must undergo a significant amount of training, there may be a shortage of qualified professionals in the area.

On top of that, nursing homes are extremely demanding environments. Any one nurse or aide could be responsible for dozens of residents. Many nursing home employees work an overwhelming amount of overtime and end up burning out and quitting, worsening the staff shortage.

However, some nursing home owners have more nefarious motives. They intentionally understaff their facilities to save on skilled labor costs, boosting their own profits at the expense of resident safety and well-being.

Negative Effects of Understaffing Nursing Homes

Residents receive better care when more nurses are on staff. Abuse and neglect are often direct results of understaffing and lead to the following consequences:

  • Falls and injuries
  • Inability to use the restroom in a timely manner
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Inaccurate medication administration
  • Development of bedsores or infections
  • Being berated or forcefully moved by staff
  • Death

Nursing Home Staffing Regulations in Alabama

All nursing homes must abide by state law, and those that accept Medicare and Medicaid funding are also subject to federal regulations. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), nursing homes in the state must have:

  • A registered nurse who is available eight hours every day of the week
  • A full-time director of nursing who must be a registered nurse and can act as the charge nurse in facilities with up to 60 residents
  • “Sufficient staff” for the amount of residents3,4

Surveyors make unannounced visits to each facility to ensure they are complying with the rules. If a nursing home is understaffed, they may be issued a fine or put on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) special focus facility list.

Legal Help for Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Victims and Their Families in Alabama

While the staffing shortage in nursing homes is sometimes understandable and not the result of willful negligence, it’s still inexcusable. Many seniors fall victim to abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers, which can lead to illness, injury, psychological trauma and even death.

If your loved one has been subject to nursing home abuse or neglect, the injury attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP want to help. We can guide you through the tricky process of settlement negotiation or arbitration and fight for the justice your loved one deserves. Call us at (205) 324-1212 today for your FREE case evaluation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/18/us/9-of-10-nursing-homes-in-us-lack-adequate-staff-a-government-study-finds.html

https://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/11/12/16246/analysis-shows-widespread-discrepancies-staffing-levels-reported-nursing-homes

http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/providerstandards/assets/NursingFacilitiesRules.pdf

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/nursing_home_staffing_standards_in_state_statutes_and_regulations.pdf


What You Need to Know About AndroGel®

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 at 3:07 pm    

The use of testosterone therapy drugs like AndroGel surged this decade, peaking at nearly five million total prescriptions in 2013.1 However, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) recently linked testosterone therapy with some serious health conditions. AndroGel has since been implicated as the cause of injury in more than 6,000 lawsuits.2 Here’s what AndroGel users and family members of users need to know to ensure their safety and protection.

What is AndroGel?

AndroGel is the most popular testosterone therapy drug available on the market. Of the 1.8 million total testosterone gel prescriptions in 2017, more than 994,000 were for AndroGel.1

The testosterone therapy gel is used to increase or replace testosterone in men with abnormally low or no testosterone. This condition is called hypogonadism, and it can be caused by many factors, including illness, trauma to the testicles, pituitary gland or hypothalamus issues or a side effect of chemotherapy.

Ample testosterone levels are important as they help maintain critical bodily processes, including:

  • Bone density
  • Fat distribution
  • Muscle mass
  • Sperm production and vitality

What Are the Concerns?

In recent years, drug manufacturers shifted their marketing campaigns to advertise products like AndroGel as a solution to “low T” and the natural effects of aging, such as fatigue, low sex drive and increased body fat. Essentially, a drug designed to replace testosterone in men with serious health problems began to be improperly prescribed to treat the normal effects of aging, leading to adverse effects.1

The concerns are larger than misleading advertising. In early 2014, the FDA began investigating whether testosterone therapy products increase the likelihood of potentially life-threatening side effects, such as heart attack, blood clots and stroke.

The FDA later issued a warning stating the product is not designed to treat low testosterone levels due to aging. All manufacturers are now required to provide a warning of increased risk of heart attack and stroke on the label. Additionally, the FDA states patients experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part of the body or slurred speech while using testosterone therapy should seek immediate medical attention.5

A January 2014 study found that men with pre-existing heart conditions taking testosterone have a “substantially” higher risk of heart attack, while another in March 2014 concluded men undergoing testosterone therapy have an “increased risk of adverse outcomes.”3,4

Ongoing Legal Precedent

More than 6,000 people have filed lawsuits against AndroGel manufacturer, AbbVie, alleging that the company promoted the product as cure for “low T,” while failing to advertise that the drug was only approved for hypogonadism and has potentially deadly side effects.2 The lawsuits have had mixed results.

Most recently, a jury decided that AndroGel was not to blame when a 72-year-old Arizona retiree suffered from a pulmonary embolism after using the drug for more than two years. AbbVie’s attorneys successfully argued that a genetic predisposition to heart problems and his own choices were to blame.1

Just months prior, two separate cases heard in Chicago federal courts resulted in favor of the plaintiffs – one was awarded a $150 million verdict and the other $140 million. Both plaintiffs suffered heart attacks while using AndroGel. Despite AbbVie convincing the judge to throw out the $150 million verdict, the plaintiff was awarded more than $3 million in punitive and compensatory damages after a second trial.6

These are just a few examples of the ongoing product liability battle between the thousands of men who claim AbbVie’s drug has caused them serious injuries. The manufacturer has been named the defendant in more than 4,000 cases as of June 2018.2

Product Liability Compensation

Product liability cases like these hold negligent product manufacturers accountable for causing serious injury to consumers. The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP have many years of experience handling dangerous drug cases in Alabama. If you or a family member were seriously injured while using a testosterone drug like AndroGel, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

To find out if you have a case by calling (205) 324-1212 or filling out the form on our website for a FREE consultation.

1 https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-abbvie-androgel-lawsuits-20180205-story.html

2 https://www.drugwatch.com/news/2018/04/26/androgel-testosterone-lawsuits-set-for-federal-trials/

3 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0085805

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24193080

5 https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm436259.htm

6 https://www.drugwatch.com/news/2018/03/27/jurors-award-3-2m-verdict-androgel-lawsuit/


Drunk Driving and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 at 2:56 pm    

Alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of traffic-related deaths. In 2016, nearly 10,500 people were killed in crashes involving an impaired driver.1 Unfortunately, the DUI arrest rate is much lower – just over a million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence, a minuscule number compared to the 111 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving that same year.2

If you’ve lost a loved one in a DUI crash, you may be wondering what legal action you can take. Depending on the specifics of the case, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death laws allow survivors to pursue consequences for those whose negligence or intentional act of harm caused a loved one’s death. Each state has its own wrongful death statute, so it’s important to know the limitations of the law in your state. For example, in Alabama, a wrongful death claim is like a personal injury claim, except the estate of the deceased person steps in to seek compensation on their behalf.3 Unlike other states, Alabama doesn’t allow family members of the deceased to file the claim – it must be done by a representative of their estate.

How State Laws Affect Damages

Though many DUI crashes result in criminal charges, some do not. If your loved one was killed in a DUI crash and the driver was not charged, you still may be able to file a wrongful death claim in civil court.

State laws also affect how damages are handled. Because a wrongful death case is a civil claim, liability comes in the form of damages, rather than punishment by imprisonment or other penalties that can be decided in a criminal case.

Many states offer compensatory damages, which cover funeral expenses, medical bills and other losses. Alabama’s wrongful death statute allows only for punitive damages, which are designed to:

  • Punish a defendant who’s found negligent
  • Deter similar negligent actions in future

Any damages awarded are paid directly to the deceased person’s heirs.

Timeline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Each state’s statute of limitations sets a time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Alabama, a case must be filed within two years of the date of the incident. In rare cases, the deadline may be extended. If you miss the window for filing a lawsuit, you could lose your right to a legal remedy.

When a loved one dies in an alcohol-related crash, family members are often left stunned and unsure where to turn for help. Seeking legal advice immediately following the accident is advised, as evidence can be collected and eyewitnesses can be contacted. Memories get fuzzy, damages get repaired and the chance of video or photographic evidence being deleted or lost rises as time passes. Acting quickly is the best way to ensure as much evidence as possible is collected.

Legal Support for Wrongful Death Claims in Birmingham, AL

If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, it’s wise to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you have about your case.

The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have represented many families who have lost loved ones in tragic accidents. Our team understands the importance of working quickly to gather evidence that can be used to help us fight for the justice you deserve. We have extensive experience representing drunk driving cases and other wrongful death claims in Alabama.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone getting behind the wheel when they were intoxicated or otherwise acting irresponsibly, call (205) 324-1212 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.

1 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812450

2 https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

3 https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wrongful-death-lawsuits-alabama.html

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