Attorneys at Law

The Thin Line Between Negligence and Crime

By Ryan Springer • September 26, 2011 • Filed in: Medical Malpractice, Pharmaceuticals

Attorneys for a Utah physician convicted of distributing opiate narcotics to his patients for no legitimate medical purpose have asked the court to dismiss the case based on accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.  You can read the article here.

This case illustrates just how thin the line can be between negligence and criminal conduct.  Not all cases of medical malpractice are crimes, even when they involve narcotics.  As a Utah medical negligence attorney, I have represented many clients in civil cases involving the negligent prescription of narcotic painkillers.  Some of these cases involve separate criminal actions as well which are pursued by local and federal law enforcement agencies.

In these cases, there are a number of hidden pitfalls for unwary patients and inexperienced attorneys.  The negligent physician’s insurance company may try to escape responsibility by denying coverage and forcing injured victims to seek restitution in the parallel criminal proceeding.  At minimum, the negligent doctors’ attorneys will try to delay the civil case for years, pending the outcome of the criminal matter.  This delay can cause catastrophic results for families who have lost loved ones, face enormous medical bills, and have smaller household incomes.  Prescription drug use causes hundreds of deaths per year, and leave unanswered questions for the families.  If you’re considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, or just want answers, give me a call for a free, no obligation consultation: (801) 424-9088.


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