Opioid Lawsuit Lawyer

Opioids are effective but highly addictive painkillers. Once prescribed to treat cancer pain and pain associated with other terminal conditions, opioid use has skyrocketed. Since the late 90s, pharmaceutical companies have incentivized physicians to use these drugs to treat even moderate pain. Thousands of Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, causing significant adverse effects on their health and personal lives. Some seek heroin to curb their cravings because it is less expensive and sometimes easier to acquire. Unfortunately, these drugs can be fatal. A trustworthy lawyer at The Lake Law Firm is available to help you file an opioid lawsuit.

Our law firm is currently handling lawsuits on behalf of individuals and families harmed by opioids. If you or your family member has suffered from the negative effects of opioid addiction, you could seek compensation from the pharmaceutical company that marketed the drug. Speak with an opioid lawsuit lawyer to learn about the legal options available to you.

Consequences of Opioid Addiction 

Opioids are effective at treating acute cancer pain or terminal pain, but their use to manage other types of ailments is often problematic due to their addictive properties. Nevertheless, the aggressive marketing of Oxycontin to treat temporary muscular and post-surgical pain introduced healthy people to these drugs. Opioid deaths continue to climb every year. In 2020, 68,630 people died from opioid overdoses.

Addiction to opioids could lead to criminal behavior, including fraudulently seeking prescriptions or even theft of the drugs. People suffering from opioid addiction might even have trouble holding a job or caring for their children. In addition, opioid addiction causes multiple physical and mental problems, including:

  • Constipation
  • Immune suppression
  • Hypoxia
  • Hormone dysregulation
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Personality changes
  • Death

Individuals who try to end their opioid addiction typically suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms. Although medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can help mitigate withdrawal symptoms, recovering from opioid addiction is still incredibly challenging. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. That same year over 47,000 people died of opioid overdoses.

A seasoned attorney could evaluate the details of a person’s opioid addiction and determine if a drug manufacturing company should be held liable for overprescribing it to a patient.

Holding a Drug Manufacturer Liable for Damages Through Mass Torts

Historically, manufacturers have benefited financially from selling opioids. However, drug companies failed to warn the public about how addictive they were until it was far too late. The effects of opioid addiction have cost individuals, families, and local governments billions of dollars and unfathomable losses, including death and lost potential.

Local governments began suing opioid manufacturers and pharmacies for their role in the crisis in 2014. Since that time, individuals have also filed lawsuits, alleging that drug manufacturers failed to warn of the extreme addictiveness of the drugs and their potential consequences.

When many parties file lawsuits against the same defendants alleging similar damages, courts often consolidate the cases to minimize court time. The consolidated cases are known as mass torts. Numerous mass tort cases against opioid manufacturers are now active across the country.

A hardworking attorney who handles opioid litigation could advise a claimant on whether joining a mass tort would be beneficial for their case.

Who Could be Responsible for Damages in an Opioid Lawsuit?

In a mass tort action, the court hears evidence proving the defendant’s liability. If a court finds a defendant liable, each plaintiff has an opportunity to prove their damages. A claimant’s losses will depend on whether the plaintiff in the lawsuit suffered opioid addiction or whether they lost a family member because of drug abuse.

A plaintiff seeking damages for the results of their addiction could expect to be awarded payment for their medical costs, including mental health and addiction treatment, the impact on their earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other documentable losses.

If a plaintiff is a family member of an individual who died of opioid addiction or an overdose, they can receive damages for the harm the death did to the family.  Losses in this context might include funeral and burial reimbursement and compensation for the loss of their loved one’s companionship or contributions to the household.  

An attorney with experience handling opioid lawsuits could help a plaintiff calculate and prove their damages.

What Do We Know About Opioid Lawsuits?

The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s with Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin. Since then, many states and individuals have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors. These lawsuits allege that companies downplayed the addictiveness of opioids. Furthermore, lawsuits claim that companies falsely marketed opioids and did not disclose the high risks. Also, plaintiffs and states argue that companies knew that opioids were overly prescribed, but did not tell doctors the truth about the drugs. And that companies even lobbied doctors and politicians to increase opioid use in the country. Thousands of people have filed opioid lawsuits nationwide. The JPML transferred all opioid cases to the Northern District of Ohio in a federal multidistrict litigation. The panel appointed Judge Dan A. Polster to oversee MDL-2804.

With litigation growing against the pharmaceutical giant, the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in 2019. Although the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, continue to assert that they did nothing wrong, the company has pled guilty twice to federal charges for its marketing of OxyContin. There have been many settlements and verdicts in opioid lawsuits nationwide. Yet, there are still over 3,000 cases under MDL-2804. Also, multiple counties and cities have opioid lawsuits in all fifty states.

Opioid Verdicts & Settlements

While the battle is far from over, drug manufacturers and distributors have paid massive amounts in settlements for opioid lawsuits. For example, in August 2019, a judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay the state of Oklahoma $572 million for its role in fueling the state’s opioid crisis. In another major development for opioid lawsuits, in February 2022, four U.S. companies agreed to pay approximately $26 billion to settle opioid lawsuits. Of this $26 billion settlement, Johnson & Johnson will pay $5 billion, AmerisourceBergen will pay $6.1 billion, Cardinal Health will pay $6 billion, and McKesson, $7.4 billion. This settlement will support addiction treatment programs, opioid education, addiction prevention, and other services to combat opioid problems in countless states. 

Other verdicts and settlements include:

  • In March 2022, a judge ordered the Sackler family (owner of Purdue Pharma) to pay $6 billion to states and individual claimants
  • Johnson & Johnson reached a $40.5 million settlement with New Hampshire in September 2022

Work with an Opioid Lawsuit Attorney to Hold Responsible Parties Accountable

If your life has been negatively impacted by opioid addiction, you could seek justice from the manufacturers. By joining one of the mass tort actions or filing a lawsuit independently, you could receive financial compensation for your injuries and damages that resulted from opioid use.

Speaking to an opioid lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible could increase your odds of a positive case outcome. Statutes of limitations apply to these lawsuits, so taking prompt action is important to preserving your rights. Contact our law firm today for a case evaluation.

How Our Law Firm Can Help You

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529 or submit an inquiry on this page.