There was a pretty interesting series on Netflix recently called “Painkiller,” which is about the disgusting Sackler family and the rise of Oxycontin and general opioid abuse in this country. It’s beyond shameful how many lives they destroyed because they seem to worship money.
We’ve sadly seen a lot of injured Illinois workers suffer from the issues that these highly addictive drugs can cause. They have been widely prescribed and over-prescribed in the last two decades and left a lot of trauma in their pathway.
While I wouldn’t wish the problems Oxycontin can cause on anyone, there is an advantage that those who got hooked via a work accident have that those who weren’t on the job don’t have.
Under Illinois workers compensation law, any injury that stems from the original injury is part of the case itself. I get that phrase sounds very confusing and full of lawyer talk.
What it means is that if you sustain a new injury because of your work accident, that new injury is part of the work comp case itself. An example would be if you have to use crutches for a leg injury and as a result of that develop elbow or shoulder pain. The arm injury would be part of the work comp case that started as just a leg injury.
In the same way, if you get harmed by Oxycontin or any other drug that was prescribed due to your work comp case, that becomes a part of the work comp case.
So we’ll see workers who have serious neck or back injuries and end up having a lumbar or cervical fusion. Those are serious operations that cause a lot of pain. It’s not unusual for a surgeon to prescribe pain killers after this happens. It’s also sadly not unusual for those pain killers not to be properly monitored and to cause additional problems.
Any new problem that develops due to opioid abuse would be part of your work comp case. That includes having to go to rehab, treatment for liver damage, treatment for severe depression, brain injuries, death or anything else that these overly powerful drugs can cause.
This is of course a small consolation for the people whose lives have been ruined by the Sackler family and/or doctors who handed these pills out like they were candy. But it does give victims and their families some options at least. We can’t make you whole, but we can hopefully make things a little better.
This analysis should be a part of EVERY Illinois work comp case. Your attorney should not only look at the main injury, but other issues it’s caused. Some people get depression from being injured and not able to work even without the opioids. Whatever happened to you, Illinois law covers everything you are going through. If you’d like a free consultation with an attorney to discuss this, please contact us any time.