Prescription drug overdose deaths are on the rise around the country. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Overdose Death Rates, reports that in 2017, more than 70,000 people died due to drug overdoses, including prescription drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Opioid Overdose report, 68% of those deaths were due to opioid drugs, which include commonly prescribed drugs such as Hycodan, Vicodin, and Percocet.
In some cases, fatal overdoses occur due to an accident. For example, a patient misreads the dosage or takes two doses after missing one. In other cases, the patient purposefully takes too much in an effort to take his or her own life.
However, sometimes, fatal overdoses occur due to medical error, unethical marketing practices, or negligence. In these cases, you may be eligible to sue if your loved one overdosed and died on prescription drugs due to the negligence of his or her medical team. A medical malpractice attorney can help you seek compensation for the overdose death of a loved one.
Situations Where You May Seek Legal Compensation After an Overdose Death
Medical malpractice is a section of personal injury law which aims to hold doctors and other medical professionals liable when they make grievous mistakes that cause damage to their patients, and sometimes death. In some cases, the drug companies themselves may be held liable due to unethical marketing practices. In these situations, the family may be able to seek compensation.
Here are a few situations where the family of an overdose victim may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
- A doctor prescribes a drug, but an incorrect dosage. The patient takes the dosage as directed, overdoses, and dies as a result.
- A pharmacist dispenses a drug at twice the correct strength. The patient takes the number of pills as directed, overdoses from the incorrect dosage, and dies.
- A substance abuse center fails to provide treatment to a patient who is overdosing, and he or she dies as a result.
- A doctor fails to properly explain the possible risks and side effects of a drug, including the potential for addiction. The patient becomes addicted to the drug and then overdoses as a result of the doctor’s negligence.
- A drug company incorrectly markets its drugs or seeks to hide the side effects of the medication, such as how addictive the drug is.
Proving negligence in a prescription drug case can be difficult, which is why we recommend working with a medical malpractice attorney to understand your legal options.
Damages You May Collect After a Prescription Drug Overdose Death
If your loved one dies due to a prescription drug overdose, the first step is to prove that negligence contributed to his or her death. Then, we can seek compensation from the at-fault party. Depending on the details of your loved one’s medical care and death, we may pursue the following damages:
- The cost of medical treatment, including hospitalization
- Medical transportation, such as an ambulance ride
- The cost of drug rehabilitation treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- The loss of employment benefits
- Funeral and burial costs
- Other losses and damages
The final amount your family is eligible to recover may vary widely based on the damages suffered, the state you are in, and other details of your case. A medical malpractice lawyer who handles prescription drug overdose can review your civil case and outline your legal options.
Learn More About Your Legal Rights After a Loved One’s Overdose Death
When a loved one dies due to negligence on the part of a medical professional or drug company, the impact on the family can last for years to come. The loss of a parent or spouse, for example, can cause years of financial struggle in addition to emotional distress. It is only right that the at-fault party be held responsible for their actions.
The team at Newsome | Melton can help. Our team understands these often difficult cases and is committed to helping families recover the compensation that he or she deserves. In addition to recovering damages, pursuing a claim can help other families from suffering the same devastating loss.
You may be able to sue if your loved one overdosed and died on prescription drugs due to the ill treatment of a medical professional. Call Newsome | Melton today for a free case evaluation at (888) 808-5977.