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Depakote Attorney "Time Is of the Essence"

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Orlando, FLPatients who have been harmed by Depakote or who have children who suffered Depakote side effects should not wait to file a lawsuit. That is the advice of J. Benton Stewart II, attorney at Stewart Law, P.L.L.C. Although some Depakote side effects can take years to develop, parents who think their children were harmed by Depakote should speak to an attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

"If you're the parent or guardian of a child born with birth defects as a result of the mother taking Depakote during pregnancy, time is of the essence," Stewart says. "You should file a claim immediately to ensure you do not miss an opportunity to recover moneys to help care for that child."

Why the mother was prescribed Depakote becomes an important issue in these cases. Some mothers are severe epileptics and, despite the risk of birth defects, there may have been no better medication choice. But some mothers may have been prescribed Depakote for migraines in which case the benefits of taking the medication may have been far outweighed by the risks.

In addition to birth defects such as spina bifida, allegations have been raised that use of Depakote while pregnant has resulted in neurological damage that caused genital deformations in babies. Those deformations allegedly result in babies who will, as adults, be unable to have sex or have babies of their own.

"These are babies who will grow up and be unable to reproduce and the damage associated with that has a value," Stewart says. "How much is it worth to be able to have children? These children were born with deformed genitalia, rendering them sexually incompetent and unable to reproduce. They're deprived of their intimate human need for bonding and procreation."

Complicating matters is that some of the effects of Depakote on adults and children might not be seen for years after the exposure. Although there is a legal argument that in such cases the statute of limitations should be extended because the person could not know in that time frame that they were harmed, such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Stewart theorizes that children exposed to Depakote could still potentially suffer further harm. "We could potentially see developmental issues," Stewart says. "This is a maturation issue. The claims are rising from births going back to 2005, so those children are just six years old. We have not yet seen the totality of the issue to the child. Spina bifida you see right away. Deformed genitalia you see right away. Some of these developmental issues you might not see right away."

Because potential settlement discussions are ongoing, potential claimants should contact an attorney to ensure their legal rights are protected. Factors that determine eligibility to file a claim include the reason for prescribing Depakote, the child's date of birth, the daily dose prescribed and the child's injuries.

"The best option is not to wait if people fit into the matrix of those affected by Depakote," Stewart says. "There are certain criteria we look for in determining eligible clients. If they fit into that criteria, they shouldn't wait because there's no guarantee they could later bring a claim."

READ ABOUT DEPAKOTE BIRTH DEFECT LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

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My name is Meagan and I have epilepsy and have since I was a child but not since birth. I have a pretty rare case and doctors are always wanting to cut me open however I don't ever let them for the pure and simple reason that I was always so young when they began suggesting it and now I am a mom and they give me absolutely no guarantee that I will not only get any better but make it through a surgery and come out alive. I'd rather live as I am now than not be here for my kids. When I was 24 and found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with my son, I got specialist for my pregnancy right away and was on Depakote and had been for as long as I can remember. *I am allergic to most epilepsy meds and the rest just don't work for me for one reason or another* so I remained on it and at the end of my second trimester I was maxed out on that and 2 other epilepsy drugs. My son was born 2 weeks early in distress with Hypospadias as a birth defect. It has cause him to have a lot of problems still now in the bathroom department. He's almost 7 now. I'm actually taking him to a specialist to see if he doesn't have a case of encopresis that has come from this. That is still to be determined though. He was born in IL and we still reside here now. I was wondering if he/we would be a candidate for all the lawsuits that are going on out there for people who were on Depakote during pregnancy then had kids with birth defects?

Thanks

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