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Settlement in products liability case involving contraceptive

Because of the extensive testing and safety regulations that exist in the United States, many Virginia consumers believe that they are able to trust that the products that they buy are safe for the prescribed and intended use. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. News sources frequently report on products liability cases that result from consumer injuries or consumer deaths related to an unsafe product or insufficient warning.

A products liability case that has been in the news lately involves Merck & Co, the maker of the contraceptive NuvaRing. According to the lawsuits against Merck, the contraceptive device resulted in the death of some of the woman who used it because of its higher risk of blood clots. There were cases in federal court, as well as several state courts against the drug company. A settlement recently reached states that the company will pay $100 million to the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits. This is an amount that is much lower than other contraceptive manufacturers who faced lawsuits related to their contraceptive products. This lower settlement may be due to the greater difficulty these plaintiffs had in proving liability in their cases. Some cases were thrown out because the plaintiffs could not prove that their injuries resulted from using the contraceptive.

This story illustrates both the importance and difficulty of products liability cases. When a product is defective or causes harm to the consumers who use it, it is important to hold the manufacturer responsible by providing compensation to victims and ensuring improved safety in the future. When medical products or medications are the subject of a products liability lawsuit, the damages are often very severe, including death or catastrophic and long-lasting injuries.

When Virginia residents find themselves injured due to a defective product or a harmful medication, consulting with an experienced products liability lawyer may be the first step. Knowing that a product caused an injury is insufficient to win a products liability lawsuit. The plaintiff must prove the causality between the product and the injury to the satisfaction of the judge and jury, which can often be more difficult than it seems. Knowing how to conduct the necessary investigations and collect the critical evidence can be key to winning these types of cases.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Merck Said to Agree to Pay $100 Million in NuvaRing Accord," Jef Feeley and David Voreacos, Feb. 7, 2014

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