Injuries Caused By The Use Of Contraceptives

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Due to the need for safe, fast, easy, reliable, and cheap ways for individuals to prevent the risk of pregnancies and the transmission of diseases, various types of oral contraceptives and intrauterine contraceptive devices have been placed on the marketplace.  Unfortunately, these products sometimes fail, resulting in injuries and side effects, such as unwanted pregnancies, infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine problems, tumors, and death.

Is The Manufacturer Or Seller Of A Contraceptive Liable For Injuries To Users?

Manufacturers and sellers of contraceptives have been held liable for injuries to users under theories of product liability such as failure to warn, breach of warranty, and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Failure To Warn

Manufacturers and sellers have a duty to warn of hazards of their products.  Some courts hold that a manufacturer or seller who warns the prescribing doctor of hazards in the product has no duty to warn the consumer, while others hold that the consumer must be warned directly of hazards in products.  For example, the manufacturer of the "Copper 7" intrauterine contraceptive device was held liable for labeling which inadequately warned physicians and patients of the dangers associated with the device after a user became pregnant and suffered a septic abortion.

Breach Of Warranty

Often, products come with express or implied warranties.  When a warranty is breached, the manufacturer or seller may be held liable for injuries caused by the breach of warranty.  For example, the manufacturer of an oral contraceptive pill was found liable for breach of warranty because the drug was unsafe and not reasonably fit for use as a contraceptive.  A woman used the pill as a contraceptive and suffered personal injuries.  The court stated that these facts were adequate to find that the drug was unmerchantable in that it was not fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used.

Fraudulent Misrepresentation

A manufacturer or seller of an intrauterine device can be liable for injuries suffered by a user if there were misrepresentations by the manufacturer as to the proper use and safety of the product.  For example, the manufacturer of the "Dalkon Shield," an intrauterine device, was held liable after a user became pregnant and was hospitalized and had to undergo a therapeutic abortion.  The court said that the product was misrepresented with respect to the manufacturer's knowledge concerning its safety and efficacy, since it had not been adequately tested.  Additionally, each patient having the shield inserted should have been told that she was using an essentially experimental device which should have been monitored carefully by a gynecologist.

Should I Consult An Attorney About Injuries Caused By Contraceptives?

If you have been injured by using a contraceptive, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Proving your case can be difficult, but a product liability attorney can help explain the law and your rights so that you can collect damages for your injuries.

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Last Modified: 02-06-2013 04:33 PM PST

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