Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

The Opioid Epidemic and Product Liability Claims

Posted Friday, April 13, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Numerous cities and counties in Washington, and the state itself, have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers for their role in fueling the statewide opioid epidemic. In fact, a King County judge recently made a decision in the state’s lawsuit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, rejecting the company’s motion to dismiss and allowing the state’s claims to proceed.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit on the state’s behalf. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the drug manufacturer downplayed addiction risks and deceived both doctors and the public about OxyContin’s effectiveness in treating chronic pain. This is a type of “product liability claim” that may be brought under Washington law. Note that individual consumers who have been harmed by OxyContin, opioids, or other pharmaceutical products may also have a viable product liability claim.

*Other Lawsuits*The City of Seattle filed its own lawsuit against Purdue, as well as other opioid manufacturers, in September of 2017. According to the Office of the Attorney General, “Purdue’s illegal conduct contributed to excessive prescriptions and addiction, causing many addicted patients to look for other ways, including illegal means, to get more pills or to get heroin.”

Thurston County recently announced that it is joining its sister counties and cities in filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. The county alleges that the manufacturers’ conduct constitutes negligence and gross negligence, among other claims. (According to the Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions, gross negligence “is substantially greater than ordinary negligence” and means “failure to exercise slight care.” The term has never been explicitly defined by state statute.)

Washington’s Opioid Epidemic

The Office of the Attorney General said in a press release that prescriptions and sales of opioids increased by 500% between 1997 and 2011. Additionally, a 2017 study by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality found that Washington experienced a 60% increase in opioid-related hospital stays between 2009 and 2014, which was the fourth highest increase in the country.

Filing a Product Liability Claim in Washington

A product liability claim arises when someone has been injured by a particular product. The injury must happen because there is something wrong with the product, specifically related to its:

You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related damages. Keep in mind that you only have three years from the date of the injury to file your claim. (This is called the statute of limitations.)

Injuries caused by general user error, like assembling a product without reading the instructions or taking more than the recommended dosage of a medication, might not be compensable. Make sure you talk to an experienced attorney before deciding whether to file a claim.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you have suffered a product-related injury. You might have a viable product liability claim against the manufacturer, supplier, retailer, or marketer. Our experienced attorneys will examine the facts of your case and help recover compensation for your injuries.