Decades of technological and medical advances helped create the current level of health care that we in Tennessee benefit from today. Whether you need a life-saving surgery or a medication to treat an infection, you can likely receive the care you need and in a timely manner.

Most doctors usually do their best to diagnose and treat patients, but they can only work with the tools at their disposal. When those tools are inherently defective or dangerous, you could be at risk.

Do drug manufacturers have to test medications?

Prescription medication must pass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's testing criteria before it can hit the market. These industry-standard criteria should keep consumers safe from harmful medication, but it is the companies themselves who carry out the testing and confirm that their drugs are safe and effective. With a focus on the bottom-line, dangerous drugs still make it to the consumer market.

There are many FDA-approved prescription medications. However, FDA licensure does not necessarily mean that a drug is completely safe and free from harm. If you are taking a drug approved by the FDA, it is a good idea to remain vigilant in monitoring your symptoms for possible side effects.

What about known side effects?

Even when determined as safe, drug trials usually reveal various side effects of taking a medication. Whether seemingly minor -- such as occasional headaches -- or more serious, like the potential for dangerous cardiovascular events, manufacturers must warn you of the dangers. Drug companies often shirk this responsibility by informing doctors and pharmacists of potential side effects, whom they expect to pass the information on to you.

There are also some drugs deemed unavoidably unsafe. These types of drugs are usually well-understood to have serious risks regardless of manufacturing processes. While unavoidably unsafe medications have the potential to cause serious harm to patients, they are also usually still beneficial. This is especially true when there are few or no other drugs available.

A medication caused my injury; what can I do?

Suffering any type of injury can put an enormous amount of strain on your life, especially when medication you thought would help was the culprit. A drug manufacturer's careless production of a risky drug can affect your health, finances, and personal life. You may seek just compensation for injuries and related damage by filing a claim against the responsible manufacturer.

However, drug manufacturers often resist taking responsibility for their careless actions. In most cases, it is best to work alongside an experienced legal counsel who understands the complex nature of establishing fault in cases such as this.