In 2020, nearly 3,000 people in Illinois died from opioid overdoses. That is approximately eight people every day whose dependence upon opioids ended their lives and left their loved ones behind. Thousands of other people deal with addiction to powerful drugs that assume control of their lives.
Opioid addiction deaths often begin with prescriptions written by physicians. Patients seeking relief from pain fall into a cycle of dependency they cannot pull themselves out of. They lose their jobs, their families, and sometimes their lives. If physicians were negligent in their prescribing and medical supervision of patients taking opioids, they should be held accountable for their actions or their failure to act in their patients’ best interests.
At Larson Law Group LLC, we have built a strong record of fighting for justice for clients in and around LaGrange and Chicago, Illinois whose lives have been destroyed by physicians and pharmacies negligently doling out opioids to patients. We believe that any case can be winnable if we can bring to light all of the evidence of negligence that led to harming innocent people.
Opioids are a family of drugs derived from opium and used primarily to relieve pain. Opioids include morphine, codeine, and prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, and Dilaudid. The basis for these medications is the same as heroin and they can be equally as addictive and deadly.
Healthcare providers owe a legal duty of care to their patients. That means they are required to exercise a professional standard of reasonable care, based on current best practices when performing any acts or procedures that could foreseeably harm their patients. Both medical malpractice and medical negligence involve a breach of that duty of care. Malpractice is an intent to breach that standard. Negligence is carelessness that breaches the duty of care.
The addictive qualities of opioids and the resulting crisis from overprescribing opioid medications have been established for decades. This means that physicians should be well aware of the risks of prescribing opioids and of the need to supervise patient use of them. In other words, doctors owe their patients a duty to monitor medication use, refer patients experiencing long-term pain to other methods of pain management, and not prescribe opioids in the first place to patients with a history of abuse or those whose conditions don’t require such powerful drugs. Their failure to exercise this care constitutes medical malpractice and for that, providers should be held accountable.
In Illinois, there is a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice. This means you must file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider within two years of the date of injury or within two years of the date you should have reasonably known about your injury. “Reasonably known” allows more time for patients whose injuries or harm might not be immediately apparent. In opioid abuse claims, evidence of malpractice is unlikely to be apparent for some time after the first prescription is written.
Illinois also requires that an affidavit of merit for the lawsuit accompany every complaint filed with the court. The affidavit of merit must attest to the validity of the basis for the complaint, citing another qualified physician’s opinion that the physician against whom the complaint is filed failed to exercise the duty of care owed to the patient.
There are four basic elements required to pursue a claim of fault or liability against a healthcare provider in Illinois. These requirements are as follows:
There was a doctor-patient relationship. The doctor was rendering treatment or care to you as their patient.
The doctor was negligent. The doctor failed to adhere to their duty of care to you as their patient.
The negligence led to an injury. The doctor’s failure to adhere to their duty of care resulted in injuries you sustained as their patient.
The injury caused damages. The injury caused you to incur non-economic and economic damages.
In your claim, you must show the standard of care owed by the healthcare provider, prove the provider breached that standard, and demonstrate that the breach of care caused your injuries and resulting damages.
Under Illinois law, patients can sue for compensatory damages and non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. Compensatory damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses. Non-economic — or “general” — damages include less-quantifiable losses like pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, and loss of future earning capacity.
Medical malpractice claims are extremely complex and often difficult to prove, particularly those involving opioid addiction. You need a medical malpractice attorney with experience litigating these cases. Your attorney needs to understand the complicated medical issues surrounding opioid addiction and have relationships with respected medical experts who can attest to a defendant’s breach of their duty of care.
We have delivered tenacious legal representation to clients in LaGrange, Chicago, Brookfield, Western Springs, Lyons, and McCook, Illinois in medical malpractice cases, including those related to opioid abuse and death. We don’t back down from attorneys hired by doctors and their liability insurers. In fact, I welcome the challenge to find justice for my clients injured by those who should have protected them from harm.
If you have suffered damages from opioids prescribed by a negligent healthcare provider, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or died as a result, call me today to schedule a free case consultation today. Time is short and the work to prove your claim is complex so do not delay. Call Larson Law Group LLC now.