Florida Wrongful Death and the Opioid Epidemic

May 29, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Florida Wrongful Death and the Opioid Epidemic

Compensation for Loved Ones Lost to Opioid Overdose

Entire communities have been ravaged by the effects of opioid abuse and the related deaths caused by overdoses. The opioid crisis has been causing widespread addiction across the country since the '90s among patients seeking nothing more than pain relief. Pharmaceutical company greed and doctor negligence have led to the epidemics of opioid abuse that mostly harmed communities in the northeast United States but also as far south as Florida. Our state has seen its fair share of people lost to prescription opioid addiction that led to an overdose. 

Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Those Lost to Prescription Opioid Overdose

Those that have lost a loved one due to an opioid overdose may be able to take legal action against those responsible for their loved one's addiction. If your loved one developed an addiction to opioids because of an opioid prescription then there is a chance that you can either sue the medical professional that prescribed the opioid for medical malpractice or file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug that got them addicted. 

What is a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit?

Wrongful death is when a person passes away because of another liable party's negligence. Those that have lost someone to wrongful death can pursue compensation for the damages caused by the passing of their loved one. These damages can include things such as loss of financial support, loss of services, loss of companionship/consortium, pain and suffering, as well as funeral expenses. A person seeking compensation for wrongful death will usually try filing a wrongful death claim against the party liable for their loved one's accident. Usually, it is the insurance company that will be the ones actually paying out any compensation in this case so claimants will typically go through them.  Wrongful death claims typically seek compensation for damages through the negotiation of a settlement. This settlement will generally hinge on how well a claimant can prove that the liable party's negligence caused the wrongful death and the claimant's ability to prove the level of damage they suffered as a result. Should a settlement fail to be reached then another option is to file a formal lawsuit. More people will typically try to handle things with a claim first since it is significantly less time and resource consuming to just settle out of court than deal with a lawsuit. A lawsuit has a dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant party heard in a court trial where a jury will decide whether or not restitution is owed to the plaintiff. 

Medical Malpractice and Prescription Opioid Wrongful Death

Medical professionals can cause a number of errors in their care for patients that can result in grievous harm. In many cases, this is enough to lead to the wrongful death of patients. Prescription opioids are a drug that many doctors have negligently prescribed to patients leading them to develop addictions that end up killing them via overdose. These doctors can be considered guilty of medical malpractice in certain cases.  When a doctor fails to provide treatment for a patient that is up to the expected standard of care through negligence or omission and harms the patient then that can be considered medical malpractice. Not if the doctor simply makes a human error while following the standard of care expected of them. Instead, malpractice needs to have the doctor or other medical professional do something in their treatment that would typically be standard procedure while the doctor should know better. While opioids can be prescribed in a safe way, many doctors failed their patients by not making sure that risk factors for addiction were kept to a minimum. For example, in the case of prescription opioids, a doctor could commit malpractice when they:
  • Fail to monitor and regularly check up on their patients
  • Neglect to look through a patient's medical history for addiction risks like hereditary addiction
  • Prescribe way too high a dose or too frequent a dose of prescription opioids
  • Simply write a prescription simply because a patient asked and acting as a prescription mill 

Lawsuits Against Prescription Opioid Pharmaceutical Companies

The companies that misled doctors as to the addictiveness of prescription opioids have been under fire for quite some time. Their decision to prioritize profit over the safety of consumers has landed them with thousands of lawsuits over their neglectful acts regarding the marketing of prescription opioids. Many people have sought compensation for damages caused by prescription opioids through product liability claims. The attorney general of Florida has gone as far as to file a lawsuit against these companies with Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Delray Beach also filing lawsuits of their own against companies like 
  • Purdue Pharma
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals
  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals
  • Cephalon
  • Allergan

Seek an Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you lost a loved one due to opioid overdose that a medical professional such as a doctor's negligence helped cause, seek the advice of a wrongful death attorney. When appropriate, an attorney can help families compile evidence of the negligence of another party such as a doctor that committed medical malpractice. Establishing negligent behavior is critical to the strength and success of a wrongful death claim. An experienced personal injury attorney regularly calculates the damages that injured parties are entitled to. When necessary, they may coordinate with experts to ensure all relevant damages are included in an injured party's demand. An attorney can also assist injured parties in determining whether to take a case to trial or to accept a settlement offer. In a wrongful death case, the personal representative must determine whether the settlement amount is appropriate and if he or she can fairly distribute it between the interested parties. The assistance of an attorney may help take the stress off the personal representative in making these vital decisions. To contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about a free consultation regarding your wrongful death case, either call our Clearwater office at (833) 606-DRUG [3784] or fill out a contact form online. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 N Belcher Rd Clearwater, FL 33765 (833) 606-DRUG [3784] https://www.dolmanlaw.com/florida-wrongful-death-lawyer/


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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