The use of designer drugs is becoming an epidemic in the United States. "Legal highs" are usually only legal until their pronounced negative effects are caught by the radar of law enforcement and government regulatory agencies. Even when designer drugs are legal, businesses that supply these drugs could still be found guilty in a civil wrongful death suit due to negligently providing an intoxicating substance:
Claims of Danger are Well Known
Sellers of these drugs would have a very difficult time in court attempting to downplay personal knowledge of their dangers. The The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has pointed out synthetic marijuana contributed to roughly 1,900 overdoses in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Sellers surely have to be aware of the hazards associated with using.
To avoid culpability, sellers try to hide behind calling the products "herbal incense" or "bath salts" flagging them with a "not for human consumption" label. An experienced wrongful death attorney could successfully prove the seller negligently contributed to and facilitated the use of the drug. Raising a few probing questions could help prove negligence.
Establishing the Seller's Negligence
In civil courts, negligence is proven by a preponderance of the evidence. The seller does not have to outright state that the herbal incense is safe for smoking to be found liable. A decent amount of peripheral and circumstantial evidence could help sway a jury.
Does the shop also sell bongs, water pipes, vaporizers, and other accessories intended to smoking or heating illicit drugs? Clearly, this would display the establishment's connection to the drug culture. A receipt showing several packages of herbal incense and a pipe were purchased at the same time should raise eyebrows.
Did the buyer ask for a recommendation about which brand of herbal incense is best for smoking or achieving a specific high? A seller who provides recommendations for smoking the substance clearly knows he/she is helping to facilitate drug use. Suggesting a particular pipe or vaporizer for use with the incense clearly displays not only knowledge of the improper use. Making such a recommendation facilitates (in part) the use.
Was the seller aware a specific brand of synthetic marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy prominently proven to be dangerous? If the seller was knowledgeable about the dangers and kept it on the market, this surely would open the door for liability claims.
The Value of a Lawsuit
Losing a loved one due to a tragic overdose is a terrible experience. While seeking compensatory damages might not bring anyone back, it does open another legal front to fight the prevalence of these drugs. Perhaps this will lead to fewer sellers carrying these dubious products.
To learn more, contact a company like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C. with any questions or concerns you have.Share