Could an opioid prescription lead to a wrongful death claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Personal Injury & Wrongful Death |

Medical doctors understand how addictive and deadly painkillers can be. Best practices when prescribing pain medication include observing a patient for drug-seeking behaviors, limiting both the dosage recommended and the number of pills prescribed and tapering the patient off of their opioid use at the end of the prescription.

Many doctors fall far short of that standard of care, which might lead their patients into a spiral of addiction. If you have recently lost a loved one to an opioid overdose as the result of an addiction that started with painkillers, might you have grounds for a wrongful death claim against the prescribing physician?

Negligence often factors into prescription addiction

When researchers first announced the creation of synthetic opioid drugs, they seemed like a money-saving miracle. Traditional narcotic opiate painkillers can be expensive to produce and occasionally hard to come by due to the process used to manufacture them. Synthetic opioids, on the other hand, are stronger, cheaper to produce and have fewer supply chain restrictions than traditional opiates.

Unfortunately, what could have been a miracle has turned into a nightmare. For the first time ever, overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 fatalities in under a year. That represents a 29% increase in overdose deaths in just two years. Medical professionals are acutely aware of the surge in overdose deaths and the risks associated with prescribing opioids. Yet, they may choose to ignore those risks and prescribe medication to a patient without proper oversight to save time.

If you can show negligence in a physician’s deviation from best practices, you could potentially have grounds for a wrongful death claim against the physician whose practices set your loved one up for addiction. Looking into the circumstances around a recent loss can help you determine if you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.