Determine eligibility and file for compensation in the Tylenol autism lawsuit
Women across the country who took Tylenol (acetaminophen) while pregnant and had a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are filing lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers of Tylenol. Why? Because in the last few years, several scientific research studies have linked the use of Tylenol during pregnancy to an increased risk of that child developing autism and other neurological disorders.
The problem is none of the manufacturers or sellers of Tylenol warned women of this risk. As a result, parents and guardians of children with autism are filing product liability lawsuits.
The main focus of the lawsuits is the failure to warn pregnant women of the dangers of taking Tylenol while pregnant. However, other claims against the defendants (the manufacturers and retailers of Tylenol) may include breach of warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair or deceptive trade practices.
Since these claims are relatively new, more cases are expected to be filed over the next year. Given the widespread use of Tylenol and the increase in recent years of children being diagnosed with autism, thousands of families could be eligible to file.
What is the link between Tylenol and autism?
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs for pain relief and is used by millions of people. It is a common choice to treat headaches, backaches and muscle aches. It is also used to reduce fevers temporarily.
Many pain relievers fall under the category of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). NSAIDs can cause significant side effects. Since Tylenol is not an NSAID, it is considered a safer option. This is why many people choose it.
For decades, pregnant women have been told that Tylenol is safe to take during all three trimesters of pregnancy and a much better option than other pain relievers or fever reducers. This recommendation was based on the known risks and side effects of other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen). A 2021 study found that approximately 65% of pregnant women in the United States use Tylenol.
Over the last few years, several scientific research studies have shown a strong connection between a woman’s use of Tylenol during pregnancy and an increased risk of her baby being born with autism.
A 2018 study that included approximately 130,000 mother-child pairs found a 20%-30% increased risk of a child developing a neurodevelopmental disorder when the mother used acetaminophen during pregnancy. More specifically, the increased risk for autism was 20%.
Likewise, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health studied umbilical cord blood in 2019. This allowed scientists to test the levels of acetaminophen a baby was exposed to during pregnancy. The results indicated that children who were exposed to a high level of Tylenol during pregnancy were around three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism compared to the children who had the lowest exposure.
Because of these studies, a group of 91 scientists, clinicians, and public health professionals from around the world published a consensus statement in the Nature Reviews Endocrinology journal in September 2021. This statement warned women against using acetaminophen during pregnancy. Approximately 29 studies that included more than 200,000 mother-child pairs from across the globe were summarized in the statement.
The studies found that significant use of Tylenol or acetaminophen during pregnancy may result in higher rates of children with autism. A link was found between the level of exposure during pregnancy and the risk of autism. A baby’s risk of autism may be increased by the long-term use of Tylenol during pregnancy.
The studies also recommended warning labels explaining the risks of using acetaminophen during pregnancy be placed on all medications that contain it. These studies, in particular, the consensus statement laid the groundwork to allow families to pursue these Tylenol autism claims.
Who is eligible to file a claim?
If you took a significant amount of Tylenol throughout your pregnancy and your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, you may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. This includes both economic and non-economic losses. Some examples of these types of losses are:
- Medical bills and out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- Pain and suffering (mental health problems);
- Permanent disability;
- Loss of income; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Current lawsuit status
A situation where thousands of people may be filing the same claims against the same defendants is called a mass tort action. While the allegations against the defendants may be the same, the facts of each case and the specific injuries and damages may differ. So plaintiffs (the injured parties) can file separate lawsuits and be represented by their own attorneys.
Tylenol autism lawsuits have been filed in several different states. However, as of October 2022, these cases have been combined under a multi-district litigation (MDL) action in the Southern District of New York. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is presiding.
What does this mean?
All Tylenol autism lawsuits filed in any federal court in the United States will be brought under this MDL action. This reduces the burden on the courts and allows parties to share evidence and go through a streamlined process for preliminary proceedings. The hope is that a global settlement may also be reached.
As of December 2022, 101 cases have been combined into the MDL action so far. In addition, Cote issued an order allowing additional lawsuits to be filed under this action. Since it is anticipated that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional claims, will be filed, this will expedite the process.
How Can You Join the lawsuit?
If you believe you may be eligible to file a claim, the first step is to contact Action Matters to receive a free case evaluation.
As mentioned above, these lawsuits will be filed in New York under the current MDL action. There will be additional procedures to follow as a result. Because it will be a difficult case to pursue and prove, it may be best to consider working with an attorney.
Action Matters is here to help. Fill out this simple form or call us for a free case evaluation.
What are the elements of a Tylenol autism claim?
Once a plaintiff retains an attorney, the attorney’s job will be to prove their claim. The attorney may ask the plaintiff to provide certain items to be used as evidence. This could be documents such as medical records, receipts of purchase of Tylenol, personal notes, recollections and statements by family and friends. An attorney will guide you through this process and work with you to gather that evidence. The attorney may be able to help use the evidence to show that:
- The plaintiff took a certain number of doses of Tylenol over a certain period during pregnancy;
- Their child has autism;
- The cause and effect between the child’s exposure to Tylenol and diagnosis of autism;
- The defendants were aware of the risks of taking Tylenol while pregnant and failed to warn women about those risks;
- The plaintiffs suffered injury as a result.
Some of these claims may be easier to prove than others. For example, a mother could use medical records, including any patient notes from doctors or nurses, to show she took Tylenol while pregnant. Receipts for the purchase of Tylenol would also be helpful. Other options would be personal notes, recollections and statements by family or friends who saw the plaintiff take Tylenol. To prove their child has been diagnosed with autism, parents could produce medical records, receipts and witness statements.
The research studies, along with medical expert testimony, could be used to prove that the use of Tylenol during pregnancy increased the risk of the development of autism. The research and expert testimony may also be essential to prove the defendants had knowledge of the risks and failed to warn consumers.
Lastly, to prove injury and resulting damages, plaintiffs can use medical bills; receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, which can include therapy, medical devices, treatments, medications, etc.; evidence that the parents and/or children went for mental health treatment; an estimate of the loss of income or wages as a result of caring for the child; and estimated costs of future medical care and treatment.
What are some autism diagnoses and treatment issues?
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders can be very difficult. Doctors must look at a child’s developmental history and behavior, talk with parents and caretakers, and perform assessments. There is no standard medical test or blood work to run to make the diagnosis.
Making things more challenging, an autism disorder can present with a wide range of behaviors. Some of these behaviors can fall under more than one disorder. The behaviors can also differ from one child to another.
With all these challenges, many children do not receive a diagnosis until they are much older. Unfortunately, this delay may result in some parents losing the ability to pursue a lawsuit because all claims have a statute of limitations. This means a plaintiff must file a claim within a certain period of time or lose the ability to do so.
The statute of limitations for product liability lawsuits can vary depending on the state. For example, the statute of limitations in New York is three years after the injury occurred while the statute of limitations in California is only two years. With a few limited exceptions, if you do not file your claim within that defined time period, you cannot pursue it. So, it is best to act quickly if you believe you may have a claim.
Another issue that may limit a person’s financial compensation is whether or not their child received treatment for autism. Not all health insurance carriers cover the cost of therapy and treatments for autism. Even if they do, the coverage may still require large contributions in the form of co-pays and out-of-pocket costs.
Unfortunately, not all families are in a position to afford these treatments. Your financial compensation may be reduced if you cannot produce evidence of medical bills and costs.
What should you expect in a Tylenol autism lawsuit?
These lawsuits are new, so it is tough to predict what will happen. The early cases, which have now been consolidated, have moved quickly but will slow down as the case progresses and a potential settlement is considered. As far as a settlement, it is also hard to guess what a plaintiff may be entitled to.
An amount offered in a settlement will likely be very different from a potential award after a trial. In addition, different plaintiffs may be offered different amounts depending on their specific circumstances. For example, the more severe the autism is, the higher the settlement amount may be.
While the research showing an increased risk of autism due to using Tylenol during pregnancy is strong, it is untested in court. So at this point, it’s unclear whether it will be enough to sway the jury or the court to rule in favor of the plaintiffs.
One thing that everyone can count on is many more cases will be filed in the coming year. The Tylenol autism lawsuit can potentially be one of the largest mass tort actions in U.S. history.
- How do I join the lawsuit?
If you want to join the lawsuit, contact Action Matters for a free case evaluation here. If you qualify, we may be able to connect you with an attorney that you can hire to represent you. You will then work with your attorney to prepare for and file your complaint.
- How do I file a claim?
You may consider retaining an attorney for assistance in filing this type of claim. Product liability and failure to warn claims are highly complex. And now that this case is a consolidated MDL, there will be even more rules and procedures to follow. However, since the cases have been combined and initial representatives have been appointed to act on behalf of all plaintiffs and defendants for the preliminary proceedings, your attorney will only need to file a complaint to start your claim.
- How long will it take to settle this lawsuit?
The Tylenol autism lawsuit is new, so it may be a long time before any settlement is reached. Cases can take years for parties to either come to a settlement or proceed with a trial. The consolidation of the cases is a good sign, and there is hope for a global settlement because the scientific evidence is strong. But it is too early in the case to even guess at a timeline.
- How long does it take to process a Tylenol autism claim?
After retaining an attorney, it hopefully won’t take very long to get your claim filed. The attorney may want to review some of your documentation, so gathering medical records and other evidence in advance is helpful. Preparing a thorough background and timeline will also help speed up the process. How long it will take them to file is a fair question your attorney should be able to answer, so feel free to ask.
Be aware, filing the claim is just the first step in what can be a long process. The claim will allow you to join the pending lawsuit. The case will then proceed through what is called discovery (where parties exchange their evidence), and if no settlement can be reached, it may ultimately go to trial.
- How do I get help with a Tylenol autism claim?
Action Matters make it easy. Complete this simple and free case evaluation form to get help now.
- How do I get compensation for a Tylenol autism claim?
Once you retain an attorney to represent you, your attorney will review all of your documentation and help you understand your circumstances. For example, there will be potential strengths and weaknesses of your claim and the lawsuit in general. Your specific circumstances will also be considered and may result in a different amount of compensation than another plaintiff.
After all of this, it will then be your attorney’s job to fight for you in court and get you your compensation either through a settlement or a trial verdict.
- Where do I file the lawsuit?
The Tylenol autism lawsuits are consolidated into one action being heard in federal court in New York. The action is titled Acetaminophen ASD/ADHD Products Liability Litigation. The case is being handled in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. The case MDL Number is 3043. There is a simplified procedure under this action to file new complaints. Your attorney will be able to file the complaint, and you will then join the current pending case.
- Do I need a lawyer for this lawsuit?
Given the complex nature of the claims, the scientific evidence at issue, and the likely aggressiveness of the defendant’s defense, you may want to strongly consider working with an experienced attorney.
- Has anyone received compensation for a Tylenol autism claim yet?
No. Cases only began being filed after the research study was published in 2021. While some cases were filed during the beginning of 2022, the action only started to pick up speed towards the end of 2022. The case has only just begun to proceed as a consolidated action. It will likely be quite some time before anyone receives any type of compensation.
If you believe you may have a Tylenol autism claim and want to learn more about joining the lawsuit, contact Action Matters today for a free case evaluation. We will connect you with a local attorney to discuss your case.
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