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Can I sue my doctor if I get addicted to opioids?

In recent years, the prevalence of opioids in pain management has given way to what many pundits call an epidemic swallowing up large swaths of suburban and rural America. These drugs, which are highly addictive, came to patients who may or may not have needed them, and left many of them scrambling to keep their lives together.

Rarely has the power of a drug demonstrated itself as clearly and frighteningly as opioid painkillers. While the companies who develop and distribute these drugs built very careful legal protections around themselves to avoid costly litigation, many patients find success bringing lawsuits against individual practitioners.

If you believe that your doctor negligently prescribed opioid painkillers to you, it is possible to prevail in a lawsuit against them. Considering how devastating the far-reaching effects of opioids are, it may be your most likely path to receiving justice.

Bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit to a practitioner is not a simple matter, so it is important to consider the guidance you'll need along the way. A professional medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your circumstances and the strength of your claim, while building a strategy for your success and protecting your rights in the process.

Can you prove medical malpractice?

In this case, a medical malpractice suit hinges on proving negligence. Each successful negligence case consists of four components:

  • The practitioner's duty
  • A breach of that duty
  • Specific harm to the patient
  • The cause of the harm

In this instance, the pieces might fit together something like this. Let's say you have surgery and your doctor prescribes opioid painkillers to help your recovery. However, the doctor directed you to take the painkillers for longer than you needed to or directed you to take them at more frequent intervals than necessary. In the course of following your doctors' orders, you found yourself dependent on the opioids, and the doctor did not notice your dependency until it was already established.

While the moving parts of opioid addiction may change, this is a fairly common scenario. Very few people who struggle with opioid addiction start down the path intending to go far down that rabbit hole. It is much more common for patients to suffer because of negligent medical care that did not properly protect them from dangerous, addictive pain management tools.

Get the help you need to recover

Recovery from opioid addiction is lengthy and often expensive. You should not have to bear those costs if you do not bear the burden for your addiction in the first place. An experienced attorney can examine your circumstances and the strength of your case, while carrying the weight of litigation and protecting your rights.

After all, you have much more important things to focus on, like your own physical recovery.

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