As more and more people fall victim to opioid addiction, more and more lawsuits are being filed. States are suing drug companies, addicts are suing doctors, and the federal government is starting its own investigation into the crisis.
But who’s liable for opioid addiction? The addict? Doctors? Drug manufacturers? All three? Here’s what you need to know about opioid lawsuits and addiction liability.
Physicians owe their patients a duty of care, and can be liable for medical malpractice if their prescription of opioids — either the dosage, the type of drug, or the failure to notice your developing addiction — constituted a breach of this duty.
As noted above, normally patient overdoses are dealt with in a medical malpractice claim, or, unfortunately, in a wrongful death claim. But in rare instances, doctors also have been charged with and convicted of murder in overdose cases.
Successful lawsuits blaming a drug manufacturer for addiction are rare; courts often find addicts liable for their own addiction and the drug companies too far removed from the use to be liable. But that could be changing in the opioid context.
Drug companies have a duty to warn of known dangers. So if you’re claiming that a drug manufacturer knew how addictive an opioid was and failed to warn either doctors or patients, you may have a better shot at proving the manufacturer’s liability.
Tragically, some addictions end in overdoses, and many of those can be fatal. Wrongful death lawsuits can look a little different than a standard medical malpractice or product liability claim, so it’s important to know how liability may be different as well.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction to opioids, get help now. Then consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney.
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