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My brother died of a drug overdose, hydrocodone intoxication. He was at my other brothers house at the time, is he liable?

Poughkeepsie, NY |

Also, the two of them were going from doctor to doctor, getting RXs from different docs, of hydrocodone. They filled them all, at different pharmacies. Isn't there a database that would red flag this type of behavior ? I feel like suing all of these pharmacies and doctors.

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Talk to a NY lawyer if this happened in NY. Both brothers may have violated the criminal law, and depending upon the doctors and the amounts precribed for each etc, there could be liability on them. if the rxs were filled at a chain with computerized records, they should have noticed multiple rxs. If they went to independent pharmacies, they probably wouldnt know.

  2. Consult a local wrongful death attorney to investigate. The prescribing doctors and/or pharmacies may have liability.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at

  3. Unless the doctors knew or should have known your brothers were drug shopping, I think it is a real stretch. The pharmacy may be a different story. If more than one was filled at the same pharmacy chain, that should raise a red flag. going to any of the big box chains, their computers should be linked. You can discuss with a NY attorney who handles wrongful death cases, but another issue you need to find out about, is whether under NY law , you are the proper party to sue. Did you brother have parents, spouse, or children? I'm sure you will get responses form NY attorneys who can address and answer this.

  4. I am sorry you lost your brother, but prospects of a successful claim seem remote to me. Your brother was fraudulently, indeed criminally obtaining a controlled substance, then he took enough of it to kill himself. While the docs or the pharmacies may have been negligent, your brother's own actions resulted in his death. That's the defense argument anyway, and it would be a hard one to overcome. The recoverable damages in the case would likely be very limited. Lastly, depending on who your brother's survivors are, you may not even have a right to sue.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.

  5. Sorry to hear of your loss. Consult with a lawyer where the death took place. Bring all the records to the lawyer to show the drug usage and purchase. Not an easy case to prove liability of the doctors and stores unless they knew of other prescriptions or the amounts being prescribed were above the legal limits.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or

  6. There are databases; and you might check into their history. Sounds like a voluntary and willful participation by your brother, though. Liability may be possible but remote. Consult an attorney who has experience in wrongful death and in professional malpractice.

  7. There may be avenues of recovery, such as the homeowners insurance carrier. Retain a lawyer to investigate.

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