Individual Opioid Injury Claim Types
A MASS TORT NEXUS OVERVIEW:
by John Ray
A great deal of media attention has focused on lawsuits filed by States, Counties and Cities against the manufacturers of opioids, yet less attention has been given to viable individual opioid patient claims against these same companies. This article is the second in a series published by Mass Tort Nexus to have you gain a better understanding of the vast number of opioid claims, which may be filed on behalf of individual victims of the opioid crisis. Please also read the first article in the series (link to the first article).
This article is intended to cover the major categories or types of potential opioid individual claims based on injury or adverse event type.
Overdose resulting in death
Overdose without death
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Attend the July 20-22, 2018 Mass Tort Nexus Opioid Crisis Summit to learn more about what your firm can do to help individual victims of the opioid epidemic.
In addition to providing information related to the types of claims that may be brought against the opioid defendants on behalf of individual plaintiffs, you will also receive information related to marketing to obtain these clients, as well as vital information related to the complex issues related to qualifying clients for each category of opioid injury.
Opioid Litigation Individual Claims
Given the publicity surrounding the opioid crisis gripping our nation, most of the country is aware that opioid addiction and overdose risk is far greater than the opioid litigation defendants, their Key Opinion Leaders and Front Groups led us to believe.
The researchers at Mass Tort Nexus estimate that there are approximately 250,000 individuals and families with viable claims against the opioid litigation defendants; however, yet few firms have engaged in an effort to retain these clients and provide the legal representation they desperately need and deserve. This fact is somewhat astounding given that many of these potential plaintiffs have been represented by your personal injury firm in the past.
Overdose Resulting in Death
When an individual, often a juvenile, dies from an opioid overdose, family members are left behind to suffer the pain and costs.
Significant evidence exists to demonstrate that the opioid manufacturers negligently and wantonly deceived doctors and the public about the risks associated with opioids. They continued to do so, even after it was apparent that their deceptions were resulting in loss of life and other severe injuries caused by their products.
The potential number of wrongful death claims which could be brought against the opioid defendants, could exceed the total number of wrongful death claims brought for any other reason over the next decade.
Overdose Deaths Soared as Big Pharma Reaped the Profits
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse revised report from March 2018, despite the efforts to stem the opioid crisis, 115 people in the United States die from an Opioid overdose every day.
Overdose deaths, once rare, are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpassing peak annual deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV infection.
More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 than the number of American lives lost in the entirety of the Vietnam War, which totaled 58,200.
Prescription opioid deaths account for the majority of the increase in overdose deaths since 1999. It is no coincidence that the astounding increase in drug over dose statics beginning in 1999 coincides with the opioid manufactures campaign (beginning in the late 1990s) to convince doctors, based on false information, that past concerns related to opioids were unwarranted.
The opioid manufacturers are accused of using big tobacco style techniques to increase the consumption (and their profits) from increased sales of opioids. The manufacturers are accused of taking a page from the big tobacco play book, using front groups and key opinion leaders in the health field to promote the narrative that the risk associated with opioids was not significant. The false narrative promoted by the opioid manufacturers has been unveiled at the cost of an enormous loss of human life and suffering.
The link between the success of the opioid manufacturers deceptions, and the devasting effects caused by their fraudulent acts can be seen in a single chart. As the opioid manufacturers made billions of dollars, individual patients relying on these companies paid the price.
Overdose Without Death
Opioid overdose deaths are devasting to the family of the victim. Opioid overdoses that do not result in death can be equally or even more devasting.
Victims of opioid overdoses often suffer brain damage, heart damage and other adverse events that will impact their lives and their families permanently.
In many cases, the financial and other damages caused by an overdose not resulting in death will exceed those of overdose cases resulting in death.
Despite the opioid litigation defendants attempts to blame the victims and their doctors, the blame for the meteoric rise in opioid addiction coincided with the opioid manufacturers fraudulent practices designed to deceive doctors and the public about the risk of opioid use.
According to the CDC, by 2016 2.1 million Americans suffered from opioid addiction (opioid use disorder) and 2.1 million more Americans received their first opioid prescription in the same year, guaranteeing the continuation of the Country’s opioid addiction epidemic.
Not every opioid addict will have a viable claim for damages against the opioid manufacturers.
Qualifying opioid addiction clients is complex. Attend the Mass Tort Nexus July 20 -22
Opioid Crisis Summit to learn more about qualifying clients with viable opioid addiction claims.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
By 2012, the National Institute for Health had recognized a dramatic increase in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and the number of babies born with NAS has continued to increase since that time.
NAS occurs when a mother ingests opioids during pregnancy. Despite the risks associated with NAS and opioids, the opioid manufacturers are accused of aggressively promoting the use of opioids for pain commonly associated with pregnancy.
In addition to damage to the fetus before birth, opioid consumption during pregnancy often results in the infant being born addicted to opioids. The long term impact of NAS, often results in consequences that will plague the infant for the remainder of their lives.
Impaired cognitive abilities, severe behavioral issues, as well as an increased susceptibility to opioid use and addiction later in life are among a long list of complications associated with NAS.
Babies born with NAS and opioid related birth defects will often suffer from the day they are born until the day they die. The opioid defendant’s actions leading to the harm of infants should be a great source of shame for the opioid defendants; however, at this point, it appears that the opioid defendants have no shame. They continue to blame others for what is clearly their fault.
There is significant support in the medical literature demonstrating opioids cause numerous severe birth defects.
One of the types of birth defects potentially caused by maternal opioid use is Tetralogy of Fallot.
Tetraolgy of Fallot is a heart defect that presents with some or all of the following defects in the infants heart: Overriding Aorta, Pulmonary Stenosis, Ventricular Septal Defect and Right Ventrial Hypertrophy.
Any of the defects associated with Tetraolgy of Fallot can result in infant death or the need for multiple cardiac surgeries and a permeant decrease in quality of life.
Neural Tube Defects may also be caused by maternal opioid use. Neural Tube Defects include Spina Bifida, Anencephaly and Encephalocele. Any of these birth defects can result in infant death, the need for multiple corrective surgeries over numerous years, as well as a permanent decrease in quality of life.
The above is only a partial list of birth defects which are associated with maternal opioid use. Given the increase in clinical interest and study surrounding opioid use, we expect to see additions to the medical literature demonstrating a large number of opioid associated birth defects, in the near future.
There is overwhelming support in the medical literature demonstrating an increased incident of heart attack and other coronary issues associated with opioid use.
Cardiac damage and heart attack are common secondary issues related to opioid overdose; however, these adverse events appear to occur at a high rate in all opioid users without regard to the occurrence of an overdose. The increased risk appears to exist for patients that are predisposed to cardiac problems, as well as those who are not.
The conditions and adverse events associated with opioid use covered in this article do not include all the medical issues associated with opioid use.
Attend the July Mass Tort Nexus Opioid summit for a more through understanding of the medical conditions which may give rise to viable individual claims against the opioid defendants.
To register for the Opioid Summit contact Jenny Levine at 954-530-9892 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also register online at https://www.opioidcrisissummit.com