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Could My Doctor Be Liable for My Opiate Addiction?

September 6th, 2017
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

When you seek medical care following a catastrophic injury, you trust that your healthcare providers will take both safe and effective measures to facilitate pain management. This might include giving you a prescription for opiates, which are synthetic drugs derived from opium.




According to CBS News, approximately 38 percent of Americans, or nearly 92 million people, had a legitimate prescription for opiates in 2015. Although popular opiates like hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl can effectively ease debilitating and chronic pain, relief comes at a cost: Opiates are incredibly addictive, and any kind of long-term use will almost always lead to dependence, which can eventually morph into substance abuse and addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that up to 25 percent of people who receive an extended prescription for opioids to treat pain unrelated to cancer struggle with addiction. Addiction is a powerful disease that can affect all aspects of your life and have fatal consequences if left untreated.

If you think your doctor prescribed opiates for too long and you are now suffering from dependence as a result, turn to The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. David A. Bowling has more than 30 years of trial experience, and he will help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a case evaluation with a medical malpractice lawyer in New Orleans.

Could My Doctor Be Liable for My Opiate Addiction?

Addiction is a complicated disease, and there are a lot of factors that affect how susceptible a person is to developing a substance use disorder (SUD). As a result, doctors are not typically–or solely–responsible if a patient develops a dependence and subsequent addiction while taking a prescribed opiate.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and in some cases, a doctor can be liable for a patient’s opiate addiction. If the provider overprescribed the medication, for example, and the patient develops an SUD as a result, he or she may be able to file a malpractice claim and sue for damages.

How Can I Recover Compensation for the Damages I Have Incurred as a Result of My Addiction?

As with any malpractice claim, you need to prove that your doctor was negligent in prescribing the medication in order to recover any kind of settlement. In order to prove negligence, your lawyer will look at your medical history, current diagnoses, any complaints about your condition, the doctor’s medical findings, and the standard of care for treating conditions similar to yours.

If during the course of this research your attorney finds that your doctor may have been negligent, you may be able to sue him or her and/or the facility where you received care. In general, there are only two circumstances in which a doctor may be liable for a patient’s opiate addiction. A provider could be liable if the patient already had a history of addiction that the doctor overlooked or if the doctor prescribed opiates for an extended period of time without referring the patient to a pain management specialist.

If you think your doctor overprescribed opiates and you want to hold him or her accountable, attorney David A. Bowling will help you pursue compensation for the damages you incurred. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation with a New Orleans medical malpractice attorney. You can learn more about medical malpractice in Louisiana by visiting

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