Zoloft & Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuits: When To File A Lawsuit?

Birth defects caused by GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil and Pfizer's Zoloft use are traumatic for both the children and the families they affect. Birth defect attorneys allege that these manufacturers knew about the increased risks of birth defects, but failed to warn consumers. The first paxil birth defect lawsuit against GSK recently resulted in a $2.5 million damages award to plaintiffs – and similar verdicts are expected in the future. If you're considering filing a lawsuit, it's important to know how long you have to do so. Our legal expert explains:

Birth defect lawsuit statute of limitations

Bryan Aylstock, a Florida Paxil and Zoloft birth defect attorney, says that many states have discovery rules, which means that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date the injury is discovered. He explained:

Because of the way in which the drug companies reacted to…evidence that was coming in [over the years], I think that juries and judges could certainly find that the date of discovery would not begin to run until the manufacturer made label changes. So, just because a mother had a child with a birth defect in 1999, that doesn’t mean that she or her doctor was ever able to link the defect to Paxil.

The other very significant thing is that the statute of limitations for a minor doesn’t outrun until the age of majority in most states. That means children with these birth defects have many years to bring a claim. The parent's claim might expire because by now they probably should have known that the drug was the cause of their child’s birth defect. However, the child's cause of action may not accrue until they’re 18 years old. So, I think there’s a lot of potential here for victims to seek redress in courts across the country.

Many birth defects are recognizable immediately

We asked Aylstock whether most of the birth defects associated with Paxil – an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant drug – are recognizable at the time of birth. He said that many of them are:

If you have a cardiac defect, for example, doctors will probably be able to detect a murmur with a stethoscope. If there’s any sort of failure to thrive or problem identified with the baby’s movement, they’ll do a test to confirm cardiac abnormalities. The same is true with abnormalities concerning the head and extremities. They’re fairly obvious. Persistent pulmonary hypertension isn’t so much a birth defect as a disease. That will result in labored breathing and it’ll be fairly obvious at birth.

The foregoing article has been prepared by an attorney who is a regular contributor to FreeAdvice, and is now undergoing review by the site's editorial staff.