Have you or a loved one been injured or killed due to an opioid addiction or accidental overdose?
We are currently reviewing potential cases for individuals who were injured due to prescribed opioids and/or narcotics, including Hydrocodone, Methadone, Oxycodone, and others.
According to the CDC, 40 people die every day in the United States to opioid overdose. Since 1999, the number of opioids prescribed by doctors has quadrupled. So have the number of deaths. It’s a quiet epidemic that’s sweeping our nation.
An opioid addiction can overturn your life or the life of a loved one. It strains relationships, ruins finances, and careers and can lead to death from accidental overdose.
Opioid addiction often develops through medical treatment in instances where a doctor or medical professional behaved unethically or negligently. Patients can become addicted to opioids by their careless healthcare providers who distribute pills improperly and/or give patients bad information. The result is typically loss of job, loss of family, legal troubles and in many cases death.
Opioid Addictions Ruins Lives, Families and Careers
Drug companies aggressively market opioids to doctors and patients. The drugs are designed for extreme pain, but they are often pushed on to people with only mild pain or discomfort. Over the last 20 years, sales of pain medications have increased dramatically.
Doctors must only prescribe opioid painkillers when medically necessary. It is a violation of the law for a doctor to prescribe opioid painkillers to patients without a legitimate medical purpose. As well, pharmacists and pharmacies have a corresponding duty to not fill prescriptions that are suspect. Wholesale drug distributors also have a legal obligation to not distribute opioid painkillers to pharmacies who may be distributing opioids to patients who lack a legitimate medical need for them. These situations where doctors and pharmacies and even drug wholesalers all take part in the diversion of opioids from proper to improper uses is often referred to as a “pill mill.”
Addiction ruins careers, families and lives. If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction or a medical condition caused by opioids, you may have a case against a doctor, pharmacist/pharmacy, or wholesale drug distributor. If you or a loved one has been affected by an opioid addiction, you know the devastation it can have not only on the addict, but on their family as well.
We Represent Victims and Their Families who Have Been Devastated by Opioids
Since 2005 Van Wey Law has successfully represented the families of patients who became addicted to opioids and accidentally overdosed. We help families get the compensation they need to restore their lives after being affected by an opioid addiction, medical complications, or death. In fact, Kay Van Wey is one of the pioneers of “pill mill” litigation.
“More people are addicted to prescription drugs in the United States than are addicted to cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine, and other drugs,” Kay said in her interview with Dan Rather. “Every single day in this country, many people are dying of prescription drug overdoses. It’s not a celebrity problem, and it’s not a bum living under the bridge problem either. These are our teachers, our mothers, and our children. These are ordinary Americans. But we’ve all been raised on this notion that pills are good for us, and people wouldn’t manufacture them, and doctors wouldn’t prescribe them, if they weren’t good for us. And we’ve become a pill-popping society.”
Watch Kay’s interview with Dan Rather:
Recently, Kay contributed to a WFAA Channel 8 report on Dallas and Tarrant county lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.
“The pharmaceutical industry has made billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars off selling opioids,” she said. “In my opinion, until it is no longer enormously profitable for them, they’ll continue to do it.”
The Dangers of Opioids
Opioids are narcotic drugs frequently prescribed for serious and chronic pain. They work by binding to your receptors to block pain feelings. There are many legitimate uses for opioids, but they must be considered and administered carefully, as they can have severe side effects like addiction or death.
Opioids are highly addictive. Depending on the dosage and frequency of ingestion, some patients can develop an addiction in just a few weeks. Stopping an opioid regimen can cause withdrawal symptoms. Opioid rotations (switching opioids to prevent tolerance and dodge addiction) can also be harmful.
There are many doctors and medical professionals who underestimate opioids’ potential for harm. They often prescribe opioids when conditions are unsafe, painkillers aren’t truly needed, prescribe unnecessarily high dosages, or administer pain medication longer than needed.
If you or a loved one suffered severe harm as a result of becoming addicted or accidentally overdosing on opioids that were prescribed by a doctor, contact us for more information.
We would be happy to discuss your situation to determine whether there may have been any medical negligence associated with your medication regimen.
Types of Opioid Often Prescribed
Opioids are typically prescribed to patients who suffered a physical injury, recently had surgery or suffer from chronic pain. The most common types of opioids are:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Methadone (Dolophine)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone, Oxecta)
- Morphine (MS Contin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
Opioids Can Cause Accidental Overdose Death
There is much debate in the medical community about whether opioids are even all that effective at relieving pain. In addition, the risk of addiction has been vastly understated by the drug manufacturers and their sales representatives who encourage doctors to prescribe these powerful painkillers for many types of conditions. Over time as a patient’s tolerance increases, he or she is forced to take more opioids for the same pain relief. Opioid narcotics can and does kill patients. Patients who have no intention of harming themselves routinely die because of an accidental overdose. Opioids inhibit the brain’s ability to control breathing, causing a person to slow or stop breathing.
Opioids and Heroin Use
Many heavy opioid users find themselves saddled with an addiction when their doctor stops prescribing pills or they can’t find a doctor who will provide more painkillers. In some cases, these sufferers turn to heroin to self-medicate their pain.
Heroin produces a similar euphoric effect to opioids that blocks out pain. As you know, heroin is extremely dangerous. Not only is it unsafe in one’s body, it also deepens the addiction and, by its nature, involves the sufferer in criminal activity. A heroin user is forced to buy illegally, which means the product may contain other harmful substances, like the especially dangerous fentanyl.
Patients Injured by Prescription Opioids May Qualify for a Lawsuit
Anyone who has become seriously addicted or had a loved one accidentally overdose on prescription painkillers may be eligible to sue physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies and in some instances the drug wholesaler.
It’s impossible to determine if you are entitled to compensation without speaking to an attorney who has specific expertise handling pill mill and opioid addiction overdose cases. We are here to listen and help you explore your options.
Seeking Compensation for an Opioid Addiction or Death will Cost You Nothing
Consultations with Van Wey Law are entirely free. If we mutually decide to pursue your claim or lawsuit, we will enter a “contingent fee agreement.” This agreement means we will not charge you an upfront retainer or hourly fee for legal work. We will also take care of all of the case’s expenses.
Instead, we take a contingent interest. This means we are only paid if you win and our fee is a percentage of your gross recovery. (We’ll discuss these details when you meet with us.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some doctors over prescribe pain medication?
There are as many reasons as there are doctors out there who are inappropriately prescribing opioids to their patients. In general, they fall into two broad categories. The first is the truly uneducated doctor who has not kept up with his education and does not utilize safe opioid prescribing practices. In this day and age, there can be no excuse for this, as most medical boards, professional societies and peer reviewed medical publications have made abundant information available to doctors about how to properly and safely prescribe opioids to their patients.
The second general category of doctors are those who are not in the business of caring for patients, but are in the business of turning an enormous profit by gaining a reputation as a “pill mill doctor” who cares little to nothing about the patient’s underlying medical condition, but does care about getting paid to write opioid prescriptions. These so called “rogue doctors” made a turn in their career at some point and decided to cash in on the abundant opportunities to make millions peddling drugs to vulnerable patients.
Does illegal drug use invalidate the right to sue?
No. If you or a loved one obtained opioids illegally at any time, you still may have the right to sue a negligent or unscrupulous doctor. Oftentimes, patients who become addicted to opioids make poor decisions, such as taking more of the drug than the directions state, or “doctor shopping”, or supplementing their supply of opioids with street purchases. As medical understanding and research evolves, more is known about the addict’s brain and what causes them to behave in certain ways. Addiction is becoming accepted as a “ brain disease” and less about blaming the victim.
How much compensation can I receive?
Like most cases, this is a difficult question to answer, though we recognize that it’s top-of-mind for many people who have dealt with months or years of suffering and incurred countless expenses. Here are some variables that might affect how much you’re entitled to:
- Expenses incurred from drug treatment programs
- Expenses from medical care and/or hospitalizations
- Future medical expenses associated with ongoing/lifetime treatment for addiction
- Lost wages and loss of wage earning capacity
- Physical Pain and suffering and mental and emotional anguish
- Funeral and burial expenses (if any)
- Grief, mental anguish, loss of companionship and loss of financial support of a deceased family member.
How Our Prescription Drug Attorneys Can Help
At Van Wey Law, we have experience dealing with medical mistakes, negligence and malpractice. We have represented many patients and their families who have become the unwitting victims of opioid addiction. We understand what you’re going through. We can review your specific circumstance to determine if medical negligence occurred.
Kay Van Wey understands the value of tenacity, hard work, and integrity. She brings this background and her work ethic to each and every opioid addiction case.
- Kay Van Wey has been voted a Texas Super Lawyer for 15 years running (2003-2017). This is a prestigious honor bestowed upon her by her peers.Less than 5% of all attorneys have ever been named a Super Lawyer. Kay has received the award every single year since it’s inception.
- She has even attained membership in the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as a result of the success of past cases.
- Kay is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Less than 5% of all attorneys in Texas are board certified.
If you or a family member were injured or killed due to prescribed opioids and/or narcotics, we advise you to contact us right away. We’ll help you determine if you’re entitled to compensation and explain which steps to take. We are only paid if you receive compensation.