New Jersey Opioid Prescription Malpractice Attorneys

The president has called it a national emergency. It destroyed the promising NFL career of the number two overall draft pick in 1998, quarterback Ryan Leaf. It has turned celebrities, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Nicole Richie, and Winona Ryder, into felons. It has plagued the wives of presidents (Ford) and senators (McCain). It has caused the death of the common and the famous, including Heath Ledger, Prince, Anna Nicole Smith, and even The King himself, Elvis Presley. The “it” we’re talking about is, of course, opioid addiction.

Just how bad of an epidemic is opioid addiction in our country? Well, in 2016, more Americans died from opioid overdose than the number of our countrymen who died in the entirety of the Vietnam War.

All it takes to have access to this deadly class of drugs is a slip of paper signed by a physician – a prescription – and it doesn’t even have to be your physician. Opiate addicts’ increasing hunger for these pills drives them to engage in what is called “doctor shopping,” the practice of obtaining multiple painkiller prescriptions from multiple doctors all at the same time. In many cases, the doctor isn’t aware that he is writing fraudulent prescriptions, but in other cases, the doctors are. America’s ravenous appetite for opioids has caused many physicians to lose sight of their sacred Hippocratic Oath in favor of an easy buck, made by writing prescriptions for a patient’s recreational use.

If your doctor has written painkiller prescriptions for you that you didn’t need and now you’ve developed a dependency on them, then the “Good Doctor” has committed prescription malpractice. To find out what legal action you can take to get your life under control and prevent other patients from falling into the same trap, contact an experienced NJ medical malpractice attorney. New Jersey law firm Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari has roots dating back to 1929. Since then, they have handled thousands of cases on behalf of Garden State injury victims. If you’re looking for justice for you or a loved one, call Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari for a free consultation by dialing (973) 635-5400.

Patient Beware

Anyone who has undergone surgery or suffered a serious injury knows how welcome the relief of pain can be. Fortunately, we live in a time when we have a variety of medications that can relieve pain without the need for injections and direct doctor supervision. Unfortunately, this can lead to a “kid in a candy store” situation where no one is looking over our shoulder to regulate how much we take of what makes us feel good. If a physician prescribes any of the following medications for you, you need to use them with extreme caution:

  • codeine (only manufactured in generic form)
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
  • oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)

Prescription Malpractice Lawsuit

Like any other treatment a doctor prescribes for you (surgery, X-rays, chemotherapy, etc.), negligently prescribing a medication for you makes that doctor liable for any ill effects that medication causes. But not all prescriptions for opioid painkillers can be considered negligent. To prove a physician was negligent in providing a drug to you, your attorney will have to show that the doctor:

  1. Owed you a duty of care (you had a patient/doctor relationship),
  2. Breached that duty of care (he prescribed to you a medication that a reasonable physician, under the same circumstance, would not),
  3. That the prescribed drug caused ill effects (made you an addict),
  4. And those ill effects caused you harm (the addiction made you lose your job, ruined your marriage, damaged your health, forced you to pay for expensive rehab, etc.).

A doctor’s negligence could come in the form of not taking your medical history into account, prescribing the wrong drug, prescribing the wrong dose of the drug, or failing to notice you developing an addiction. For instance, if your doctor saw from your medical records that you had a history of addiction, and another treatment like physical therapy or ultrasound would be just as beneficial, yet prescribed you painkillers anyway, that would be considered negligence.

However, if you had a secret history of drug addiction and the doctor had no way of knowing that, then it wouldn’t be considered negligence.

All medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove, especially when going up against a doctor’s powerful insurance company. To have a successful malpractice claim, you’re going need a powerful and experienced attorney.

If you’ve suffered harm or lost a loved one due to opioid abuse, you need to speak to the legal team at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari for a free case evaluation. Call us today, at (973) 635-5400.