Who is Liable?
Because prescription drug use is becoming a dangerous and frequent hobby amongst people of all ages, there are many illegal activities surrounding the acquisition of such drugs. For instance, many patients who were initially prescribed a prescription drug for a medical purpose, may want to continue using the drug even after their prescription runs out. In this case, they would search for ways to purchase their medication illegally. This is usually done via drug deals.
Another common method for acquiring prescription drugs is to forge prescriptions, manipulate doctors into prescribing the drug over and over again, or jump from doctor to doctor for the same prescription. Users have also stolen prescription drugs from others who are rightfully-prescribed, such as people with disabilities or elderly persons.
Drug DealersSince there are various ways for users to acquire prescription drugs, both legally and illegally, it can be difficult assigning liability to a person or entity. For example, if a user overdoses on a prescription drug they have acquired through a drug dealer, the dealer may be arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter, or drug trafficking.
But since the initial act of acquiring the drugs was illegal, a person cannot collect compensation for a wrongful death or overdose. And in most cases, drug dealers are not arrested for these kinds of charges because they do not have a documented paper trail for their sales, unlike doctors.
Doctors and Pharmacists
In some cases, health care providers and pharmacists may be held accountable for a drug overdose if they were negligent in seeing a pattern of abuse, or continued to prescribe the medicine without proper evaluations and dosage supervision. These parties have a duty of care to recognize past drug use and monitor prescription drug use, as well as, be on the lookout for illicit activity. However, it is rare to be able to sue doctors and pharmacies for a drug overdose since it is highly complex to prove that the victim’s overdose was a direct cause of a healthcare provider’s negligence. There are many questions that can evade liability of a doctor or pharmacist: To what extent was their overdose related to the healthcare provider? And to what extent was the overdose caused by other factors?
It is imperative to consult a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for compensation after a loved one overdoses on prescription drugs. With so many complex details surrounding such cases, you need an experienced accident attorney to support your efforts and recover the truth.