Medical researchers are uncovering increasing evidence that Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug that was first FDA-approved in 1996 to treat breast cancer, poses a relatively high risk of permanent hair loss.
Even though indications of this distressing side effect had already emerged in early clinical trials, explicit warnings of permanent alopecia were only added to the drug’s U.S. label in late 2015. Now Sanofi, Taxotere’s manufacturer, faces a growing number of lawsuits from women who say that unexpected hair loss is ruining their psychological health and well-being.
Seeking Help From Taxotere Attorneys
If you’re planning to file a lawsuit against Sanofi over Taxotere hair loss, you shouldn’t expect to be able to make a solid case without legal counsel. Since the drug is a manufactured product, marketed to hospitals, doctors, and patients, Taxotere litigation fits under Product Liability Law. This is an area of law that tends to be particularly complicated and difficult, especially when there’s a large amount of compensation at stake.
Presenting drug cases adequately in a lawsuit and in court requires considerable experience and finesse. The laws governing product liability are often subtle and complex. Also, pharmaceutical suits frequently require extensive supporting details, such as summaries of relevant medical studies, which the judge will need to understand clearly in order to fairly weigh the case.
Furthermore, pharmaceutical corporations usually have vast resources at their command and are able to employ teams of seasoned, aggressive defense attorneys to fight for them. Sanofi is certainly no exception, as the fifth-largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world. To stand a chance against such opposition, it’s best to have a highly experienced lawyer on your side – someone who’s stood up to huge pharmaceutical corporations before.
What About The Expense?
Even though hiring an attorney could help you win a hefty court award or settlement, you may think you can’t possibly afford it if you’re currently short on funds. But you can find compassionate, experienced lawyers who won’t charge you up front. This method of handling fees is called a “contingency fee” basis. Under a contingency fee agreement, your lawyer won’t accept pay from you until after your case is resolved in your favor so that the legal fees will come as a percentage of the settlement or court award won, not out of your pocket. You can learn more about various attorney fee arrangements from the American Bar Association.
Guide To Choosing Your Lawyer
Your choice of lawyer will likely have a large bearing on the outcome of your Taxotere lawsuit. To make your case go as smoothly as possible, it’s vital to select someone who not only has the requisite experience in handling your specific case, but also meshes well with you in terms of personality, disposition, and communication style.
Starting Your Search
You can begin by drawing up an initial list of potential choices of Taxotere attorneys. There are many resources, especially online, that you can use to help you:
- Legal Directory Websites. One of the most popular of these is Avvo.com. Such online legal directories often allow you to filter your search by area of practice and / or location and feature attorney profiles that provide important information such as experience, typical fees charged, education, and reviews / testimonials.
- Official State Bar Association Websites. You can search for your state’s bar association attorney directory here. You can typically search for a lawyer by location, practice area, name or firm name. Some state websites also list certified lawyer referral services that can help connect you with qualified lawyers. However, it’s best to be cautious with referral services and to ask as many questions as possible about the lawyer selection criteria, as some services can be less discriminating than others.
- Personal Referrals. Asking your friends, family, or colleagues for referrals can be one of the best ways to find a dependable lawyer who fits well with you, as it enables you to gain insight into the specifics of how the lawyer works with clients through the eyes of someone you know and trust.
- Individual Lawyer Or Firm Websites. Once you get a list of names, it’s important to read carefully through potential attorneys’ websites, whether you find them directly from a search engine or are linked from a directory or referral. How do your prospective choices present themselves online? Do they provide enough relevant information? In particular, you should read over the outcomes from each lawyer’s previous cases, usually included in a “Results” or “Verdicts And Settlements” section.
Once you’ve compiled your list of lawyers who seem to fit your case based on practice area, experience, and client reviews or referrals, it’s time to set up some interviews.
Scheduling interviews should be easy—most firms allow you to make appointments through online forms, on the phone, or in person. Make sure to ask if there’s a consultation fee, as many personal injury lawyers will offer a free case evaluation, and this can help you narrow down your list of interviews if you don’t have money on hand to pay fees. Here’s a basic list of items that you should make sure to go over during a first meeting:
- How many years have you practiced product liability?
- Have you worked on any cases like mine in the past?
- What fee structure do you use?
- How heavy is your current workload? Do you have sufficient time to handle my case?
- Will we correspond mostly through e-mail, or will I also be able to get a hold of you in person and on the phone if needed?
- Do you have any previous clients whom I could contact as references?
In addition to preparing a list of questions you want to ask, be prepared to share your case details so that the attorney can provide you with a professional opinion on your case’s potential and come up with a possible plan of action.
It’s important to take notes on each lawyer’s interview answers so that you can later easily draw comparisons to help you make a decision. But you should also pay attention to the lawyer’s overall demeanor and how it makes you feel since you will ideally be spending a lot of time working closely with whomever you ultimately choose. Hiring an attorney who’s easy to talk to and genuinely cares for your well-being can help make the litigation process easier and a lot less stressful.
Checking An Attorney’s Track Record
After doing your interviews, you’ll likely have enough information to minimize your list down to the few lawyers that seem to be the best fit for you.
Before you make your final choice, you should make sure to check that the attorney has a clean public record and confirm that he or she is currently licensed to practice law in your state. You can find out if an attorney has been cited for ethical violations or other misdeeds through your state’s attorney discipline organization. Such organizations serve to enforce proper attorney behavior by investigating any reasonable complaints filed against a lawyer and to take disciplinary action if necessary.
Also, if you were able to obtain past client references, it’s a good idea to call them up for further valuable insight into the attorney’s past conduct.
Act As Soon As Possible
Though the whirlwind of emotions that many Taxotere victims experience can make it a challenge just to get through the day, it’s vital to explore your legal options as soon as you can. Each state imposes a statute of limitations—a limited time period during which you can file a claim regarding a particular incident. If you wait too long after you first experienced permanent hair loss from Taxotere, you may lose the right to initiate legal action about it. Approximate statutes of limitations for various lawsuit types in each state is provided in this Nolo guide.
But it’s still worth consulting a Taxotere attorney, even if you believe it may be too late to file suit. You may be permitted to file under the “discovery rule,” which says that the statute of limitations can be suspended in cases where plaintiffs can demonstrate that they only recently discovered the cause of their injury, even if the injury in question occurred long ago.
For example, if your hair loss had been initially misdiagnosed by your doctor as a result of some other health condition, and you were only recently informed that it could have been caused by Taxotere, you can argue that you couldn’t reasonably have known earlier that you were suffering from permanent Taxotere-induced hair loss, and that your discovery of the injury occurred within the statute of limitations.
Why Patients Are Filing Lawsuits
Women whose Taxotere alopecia persisted long after the end of their chemotherapy treatments are now seeking compensation for suffering and financial loss caused by their ongoing hair loss. Permanent alopecia often proves to be a life-altering condition that causes considerable emotional and psychological stress, taking a heavy toll on a patient’s self-esteem and social life. Even patients’ finances can be negatively impacted if hair loss-related anxiety and discomfort interferes with their ability to work.
Recently-filed lawsuits say Sanofi purposely concealed Taxotere’s risks to boost sales, virtually robbing patients of their right to seek out equally effective alternatives that could have likely spared their hair. Taxotere plaintiffs who have filed suits and those who have yet to file are hoping to achieve justice against Sanofi through litigation.
After all, pharmaceutical companies, just like any other establishments in the medical community, are obligated to put patient safety and well-being first, and those who fail to uphold that duty should expect to face consequences for harm needlessly inflicted on consumers.