You can sue your doctor if you develop an opioid addiction from prescriptions, but you will need to prove that he or she were medically negligent in doing so. A medical malpractice lawsuit will allow you to pursue damages for the injuries you or your loved one suffered as a result of the addiction, including brain injuries and damage.
Medical Negligence and Opioids
Your doctor has an obligation to behave responsibly toward their patients, and that duty of care extends to any prescriptions he or she choose to write. This is especially important when dealing with opioids, a class of drugs that carries a high risk of addiction and abuse relative to the other painkillers on the market.
When a doctor prescribes opioids, he or she must consider a variety of factors to minimize the risk of the patient becoming dependent on, tolerant to, or addicted to the medication after the treatment has run its course.
Examples of Medical Negligence When Prescribing Opioids
A doctor can be found guilty of medical negligence in the following situations:
- Overprescription— If your doctor writes you a prescription for opioids that are stronger than necessary or for a supply of opioids that exceeds the amount needed for treatment, he or she could be found negligent.
- Unnecessary prescription— There are many different painkillers, and almost all of them are less prone to eventual abuse and addiction than opioids. If your doctor fails to disclose alternatives to opioid medications that would work equally well at treating your pain, he or she could be found negligent.
- Failure to consider the patient’s history— Doctors must carefully assess the risks and benefits of prescribing opioids to any individual who has a history of past opioid use, drug abuse, overdoses, or addiction. These behaviors can indicate that the prescription could reasonably be expected to cause the patient more harm than good. Doctors who fail to inquire about or otherwise consider these factors before prescribing for opioids could be found negligent.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you or a loved one develop an opioid addiction from prescriptions, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you sue your doctor to pursue compensation for your injuries, losses, and other expenses.
To prevail in your lawsuit, you will need to demonstrate the following:
- Your doctor had a duty of care toward their patient. This requires them to act in the same way another doctor with equivalent training would have acted in the same situation when presented with the same information.
- You doctor failed to uphold their duty of care by acting with negligence, such as by prescribing too strong a dose of opioids or by prescribing opioids when another drug could have treated the problem with less risk.
- Your doctor’s negligence led to your injuries, and these injuries resulted in damages.
Proving medical negligence also generally requires the testimony of an expert witness. This is another doctor who can explain to the court what a reasonable healthcare provider would have done differently and how the defendant’s negligent actions contributed to your injury and subsequent damages.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
A medical malpractice lawyer can assist you at every step of the process by:
The tedious back-and-forth between lawyers, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies can make it easy for important documents and deadlines to get lost in the shuffle. A medical malpractice lawyer can help streamline these communications for you, which ensures you stay informed and everything stays on track.
Your lawyer can help you collect the evidence you will need to establish negligence, including medical records, witness statements, and other information. He or she can also secure expert witnesses to speak on your behalf if your case goes to trial.
Negotiating Your Settlement
Your attorney can work with the liable party to reach an equitable settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries. He or she can also explain what the settlement means, how it works, and what to expect as you are guided through the process.
Representing You at Trial
If an appropriate settlement cannot be reached, a medical malpractice lawyer can represent you in court to fight for the compensation you deserve.