According to Cleveland Clinic, autism affects one in every 44 eight-year-old children in the United States. With cases of this condition on the rise, scientists have wondered if certain factors contribute to it. Although every case differs, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that the use of APAP (i.e., Tylenol, acetaminophen, Dayquil, Nyquil, Excedrin, Paracetamol) during pregnancy correlates with the risk of autism.
Doctors have told pregnant women that if they have a fever or feel sick, it’s safe to take this over-the-counter medication. However, some research challenges this advice. If you or a loved one took APAP during pregnancy and your child has received an autism or ADHD diagnosis, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the liable manufacturer.
An autism and APAP lawyer in our network can review your case and determine your eligibility for taking legal action. Fill out our contact form to connect with a firm that handles cases like yours today.
What Is APAP?
APAP is a drug intended to alleviate mild to moderate cases of:
- Menstrual cramps
- Back pain
- Cold and flu symptoms
APAP is an oral medication and comes in the form of capsules, tablets, gels, and liquid. How much you take depends on your age and weight. Unless your physician prescribes it, children should not take this medicine for pain for more than five days, and for adults, over 10 days. This number of days may vary based on your complication. For example, if your fever doesn’t progress after three days of taking APAP, consult your doctor. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about administering the drug or its side effects.
The Use of APAP and Pregnant Women
For decades, Tylenol was thought to be the safest over-the-counter drug for pregnant women to take for fever and pain relief. About 70% of them take Tylenol or some other form of it at some point during pregnancy. However, it appears that this information has evolved in the last few years.
According to the aforementioned study, in addition to a 2021 Spanish study, researchers found that when pregnant mothers take APAP, it might increase the risk of their child having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After studying 73,000 mother and child pairings across Europe, the study found that children who had exposure to APAP in utero were almost 20% more likely to receive an ASD diagnosis than children who were not.
Although these studies and a few others have not shown a causal relationship between APAP use and autism, it has prompted the medical community to inform expectant mothers to take APAP only when it’s necessary. After all, a fever may harm a mother more than taking a couple of over-the-counter pain relievers.
A Look Into ASD and Its Symptoms
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASD is a developmental disorder stemming from differences in the brain. People with ASD may learn, move, or pay attention differently than those who don’t have it. In addition, they can struggle with communication and social interaction. They also exhibit repetitive or restricted behavior.
Your child may have ASD if they show signs of:
- Delayed social, cognitive, language, and movement skills
- Anxiety or excessive worry
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Atypical emotional reactions or mood
- Atypical sleeping and eating habits
- Excessive or lack of fear
- Impulsive, hyperactive, or inattentive behavior
- Following certain routines and getting upset if anything changes
- Obsessive interests
Your child could experience other symptoms of ASD we haven’t listed here. If you notice any unusual behavior, consult their pediatrician. They may run a series of behavioral and development screenings to determine a diagnosis, if any.
Taking Legal Action If Your Child Developed ASD Following APAP Exposure
With this new information about APAP use during pregnancy and its correlation with children receiving a diagnosis of autism, there have been several plaintiffs filing lawsuits against APAP manufacturers and retailers. These lawsuits allege:
- Pregnant mothers taking Tylenol during pregnancy caused their child to develop autism.
- The company failed to warn about this potential risk.
If you used APAP or a medicine like it during pregnancy and your child developed ASD, you may qualify to file a lawsuit against the respective manufacturer.
As of September 2022, we’ve only seen an influx of these lawsuits within the last several months. Lawsuits filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) may be consolidated into a class action multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers.
Because litigation is in its early phases, there haven’t been any settlements or trial verdicts. However, oral arguments are set to begin at the end of September 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Damages You Can Seek in an Autism and APAP Use Lawsuit
If you qualify to file a product liability or class action lawsuit after your child developed autism due to prenatal APAP use, you may be able to recover various damages. However, the nature of them depends on various factors, such as:
- The severity of your child’s condition
- Their current and expected medical care
- If one parent has to stay home to attend to the child’s needs
This information helps your attorney determine how much compensation and which forms of them to demand from the liable party. Common forms of damages plaintiffs can include in their lawsuit include:
- Current and anticipated medical bills: Per the CDC, children with ASD may require behavioral, developmental, social-relational, pharmacological, educational, psychological, and alternate and complementary therapies.
- Lost income: When your child initially receives a diagnosis of ASD, you may choose to take time off work to be with them and learn more about their condition.
- Loss of future earning capacity: Let’s say your child’s condition is severe, and you and your partner decide that it’s best for one of you to stay home and tend to your child’s needs or at least work part-time. In that case, you may have grounds to demand compensation for this future decrease in pay.
- Lost quality of life: Dealing with the effects of ASD can take a toll on your child’s emotional and mental well-being. Compensation for lost quality of life can help you access resources to help enrich your child’s social and educational environments.
- Scarring and disfigurement: Because more extreme cases of ASD restrict the person’s movements, you can request compensation that covers the costs of mobility aids and other tools.
You and your family may have sustained other losses we haven’t listed here. In that case, bring them up to your lawyer. They can review your situation and see what you’re eligible to seek.
How an Autism and APAP Attorney Can Help You With Your Product Liability Case
Your priority should be taking care of your child not figuring out how to begin or join a lawsuit against a negligent manufacturer, familiarizing yourself with legal jargon, and calculating how much you can seek from the other party.
A product liability lawsuit attorney can take the lead on your case and assume these responsibilities and others, such as:
Gathering Evidence Linking the Prenatal APAP Use to Your Child’s ASD Diagnosis
With more studies finding a correlation between taking APAP and similar medicines during pregnancy and autism development, plaintiffs can add more substance to their claims against the negligent manufacturer.
However, this information may not be enough to convince a jury that you deserve compensation. You may also use evidence like medical records to build your case. It’s possible that your doctor prescribed and documented that you take higher doses of the acetaminophen product. If you bought it during pregnancy or still have the bottle, hold onto the bottle or receipts if you can. Your attorney may also ask for doctors’ medical testimony to back up your claim.
The other side’s legal team may also ask for your family records. If you don’t have a history of pregnancy complications, autism in the family, or any other neurological conditions that could have caused your child’s autism, that may give them less room to argue the validity of your claim.
Contacting Other Parties and Their Representatives Through the Legal Process
Keeping track of emails, phone calls, and letters with the other side and their legal team can prove overwhelming quickly. Instead of monitoring the back and forth on your own, have an attorney do it for you.
Also, these big corporations, their insurance company, and their attorneys strive to protect their bottom line. That said, they may try to use questionable tactics to avoid paying out your claim if they talk directly to you. Your product liability lawyer should be familiar with their ways, so they may know how to go up against these entities and ensure they don’t engage in bad faith, especially during negotiations.
Meeting Corresponding Deadlines
Every state enforces its statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit against negligent parties—not to mention other deadlines on the national level. However, there can be exceptions to these deadlines, as circumstances can lengthen or shorten the filing time frame. This way, it’s difficult to determine how long you have to file.
A lawyer can help you identify the timelines that apply to you and comply with them. Keep in mind that it’s best for you to start working one as soon as possible. You don’t want to risk missing the statute. If so, the courts may not allow you to pursue the other party for your damages, making you responsible for covering them.
Fighting for You During Legal Proceedings
If and when your case goes to trial, your attorney can advocate for you. Usually, class action cases go through bellwether trials. These proceedings give the attorneys representing both an idea of how the case will turn out, as well as gauge the settlement negotiations process.
During a trial whether it’s a bellwether or a final trial—they may present evidence, examine and cross-examine experts and eyewitnesses, and ultimately convince the jury that the other party acted negligently and therefore owes you compensation.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Product Liability Attorney for Your APAP Use Case?
Law firms that take product liability cases operate under various payment structures. Generally speaking, though, many work for a contingency fee. This way usually doesn’t require the client to pay a fee out of pocket, by the hour, or up front. Instead, the lawyer takes their payment only if they secure compensation for you at the end of your case.
This contingency-fee arrangement allows the mass torts lawyer to start building your lawsuit right away. In addition, it helps you reduce your financial risk, as the law firm covers all the costs of your case from start to finish.
Connect With an Autism and APAP Use Lawyer in Our Network Today
For decades, pregnant women have been told that they can take APAP without any potential risks to their baby. Unfortunately, recent studies have suggested the opposite. If you or a loved one had a child diagnosed with autism after taking APAP during pregnancy, you have a right to hold the negligent manufacturer or retailer accountable for your damages.
A product liability lawyer in your area can seek compensation to cover your medical bills, lost income, and loss of quality of life, among other losses, on your behalf. Allow them to handle all aspects of your case while you spend time with your child and focus on meeting their needs.
Fill out our contact form today to get in touch with an APAP and autism attorney in our network. They may offer you a free, no-obligation consultation and only take payment if they obtain a compensatory award for you.