Are you or a loved one addicted to opioids?
Perhaps you’ve lost a family member to opioid overdose.
If so, you could consider joining one of thousands of opioid class action lawsuits to seek redress for the damages opioids wreaked on your life.
Today, we’ll be outlining what to do if you’d like to pursue the possibility of taking legal action against an opioid manufacturer.
Before that, though, is opioid addiction still a genuine problem in 2020?
The Opioid Crisis
Opioid addiction continues to place enormous strain on health care, the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and workplace productivity as well as burdening treatment centers.
Deaths from opioid use have quadrupled since 1999. Nearly 70,000 people die in the US annually, and 70% of those deaths are caused by opioids. Unfortunately, this is expected to rise sharply due to the pandemic, this despite a 10% decrease in opioid-related deaths from 2018 to 2020.
The cumulative economic burden of the opioid epidemic between 2001 and 2017 exceeds $1 trillion. Over 200,000 Americans have died from opioid-related deaths. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for adults under 50.
Remember, opioid addiction is not a sign of moral failure or weak will. Addiction to opioids does not discriminate according to class, race, or gender. Indeed, most people in the US addicted to opioids didn’t end up there as recreational drug users, but because they took painkillers prescribed by their physician.
For example, someone might be prescribed Vicodin for a weightlifting injury and continue to take it for another 3 years. As tolerance builds, they take more painkillers until one day they overdose. This is not the profile of a typical drug user.
Given those sobering statistics, what can you do if opioids have negatively impacted your life and you want to take legal action?
Currently, 2500 counties, cities, authorities, and individuals are pursuing big pharma companies for over-prescribing and over-promoting opioid pain medication like Oxycontin.
The underlying aim of these class action lawsuits is to seek justice and recoup some of the costs of this devastating epidemic.
In October 2019, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million toward funding addiction treatments and research centers in Oklahoma.
There are still more than 1600 lawsuits still pending against Purdue Pharma. As over 2000 cases are being brought against big pharma in general, they are consolidated into one lawsuit called the National Prescription Opiate Litigation in order to streamline the process.
A bellwether trial was due to take place in Ohio in October 2019. A bellwether trial is a test trial of a highly controversial issue. This was halted when Teva Pharmaceuticals, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen offered out of court settlements.
What Is An Opioid Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits are mainly a US phenomenon.
In a traditional lawsuit, one party sues another for redress with both parties present in court. With class action lawsuits, by contrast, a plaintiff takes legal action on behalf of you and a group of absent parties.
An opioid class action lawsuit is initiated by a group of people who have taken opioid medication and suffered negative consequences. The underlying claim of these class suits is that manufacturers encouraged the prescription of opioid medications despite knowing there were safer alternatives.
Why, then, are these pharmaceutical companies being held to account?
Big Pharma And Opioids
In some states, there were more opioid prescriptions than residents. Opioid manufacturers routinely turned a blind eye to pharmacies placing suspiciously large orders for these painkillers.
The manufacturers knew their medications were being abused, but they did nothing to stop this.
Purdue Pharma introduced Oxycontin in 1996 and employed unlawful and aggressive marketing tactics, placing profit over people. The company downplayed the addictive potential of these pain killers to doctors and aggressively promoted them for off-label use.
Doctors over-prescribed opioids based on misinformed decisions because they were misled by the manufacturers about the addictive nature of opioids.
As a result of these factors, opioid painkillers were heavily over-prescribed, and consequently widely abused. People from all walks of life took these painkillers, and many became dependent. Often, when painkillers became too expensive or prescriptions were not refilled, desperate users turned to the street for cheaper options.
How You Can Join An Existing Opioid Class Action Lawsuit
The first step to joining an opioid class action lawsuit is to find a lawyer who is looking for people to add to their case.
There are lawyers in every county and state now who are representing class-action lawsuits. To find a relevant lawyer you can search here.
Alternatively, you can contact the Northern Ohio District courthouse for more information.
To be eligible the injured or deceased person must have been getting a prescription at the time of death or injury. Unfortunately, if the person was addicted to opioids after being prescribed, but then died or received injury after developing a heroin habit, they are not eligible.
If you are deemed eligible to join a class-action lawsuit, your lawyer will ask you to provide further evidence. When you join a class action lawsuit you won’t have to pay any legal fees upfront.
Can You File An Opioid Class Action Lawsuit?
To pursue an opioid class action lawsuit, you need to use a lawyer. Trying to navigate the legal complexities involved alone could end up costing you a great deal with no return.
Your best option is to contact a lawyer specializing in class action lawsuits. Alternatively, contact the North District Ohio courtroom.
What Compensation Can You Expect From An Opioid Lawsuit?
An opioid lawsuit aims to seek compensation for:
- Drug rehabilitation
- Funeral costs
- Hospital bills
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
It’s tough to tell how much you might receive in compensation as these lawsuits are only just making their way through the court system.
No one really knows how much any settlement is likely to be. If an attorney advises you how much you might get, be aware that they could be misleading you. Keep your expectations open.
The Bottom Line
Make sure you seek legal advice from a reputable attorney. This is new legal territory and the pharmaceutical giants are well represented legally. Ensure you also have solid representation.
To keep up to date on the current status of opioid class action lawsuits across the country visit the Class Action.org website just here.
What To Do Next
If you’re in need of more urgent assistance for opioid addiction, we can help you with residential treatment or an intensive outpatient program here at Landmark Recovery. Call us today at 888-448-0302.