In general, product liability claims stem from a particular area of tort law which deals with injuries and losses caused by defective or faulty products. Specifically this field of law can be used to help determine when a manufacturer may be held liable for permitting defective medical products and devices to be placed into the stream of commerce, where they can then be sold to consumers, hospitals, and various other medical facilities.
So, for example, if you suffer an injury that was caused by a defective medical device or product, then you would be able to file a claim for medical product liability. It is important to note that the majority of medical product liability cases are usually reserved for actual medical devices or products and not for medicinal or pharmaceutical-related claims like prescription drugs. However, there are some cases where certain drugs may be filed as this type of claim.
Medical products or devices can lead to a claim for medical product liability for all sorts of reasons. Similar to all claims involving product liability, the defects in medical products stem from three primary categories:
- Defective design: A design defect is said to occur when the entire product or device is faulty. It means that the product was never safe for consumer use from the start and that the product needs to be re-designed in a way that is not only safe for consumer use, but also complies with national health and safety standards.
- Defective manufacturing: A manufacturing defect may arise during the manufacturing process. This can happen when the manufacturer excludes a part from the device that makes it whole, uses faulty or old parts to finish assembling a medical product, or some other issue that affects how the product is constructed.
- Defective warning labels: A defective warning label may refer to a medical product or device that lacks sufficient warning labels, instruction manuals, or advertising that would notify consumers about improper use or dangers associated with a particular medical device or product. The warnings may either be left out entirely or may just be considered to be insufficient.
Although a single claim may involve more than one of these three types of defects, each will require a different set of standards in order to prove that the specific defect being claimed actually exists. Thus, you may want to hire a local products and services lawyer for further legal advice if you wish to file a medical product liability lawsuit.
What Are Some Common Medical Product Liability Claims?
There are many reasons as to why a person may want to bring a medical product liability claim for a defective product. Some medical products, such as hip implants and joint replacements, tend to cause more injuries and may be recalled more frequently than others.
Some other common medical products and/or devices that may be involved in a claim for medical product liability may include the following:
- Defective or faulty hospital equipment, such as defibrillators (used to reset a patient’s heartbeat), breathing machines, automatic reclining hospital beds, and/or kidney dialysis filers;
- Faulty products or devices used during surgery like robotic instruments, surgical tools, and sponges;
- Defective braces, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and other stability or mobility-related medical products;
- Joint replacement products (e.g., knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, etc.);
- Surgically implanted products or devices, such as hormone-related implants, glucose monitoring systems, IVC filters, breast implants, IUDs, and pacemakers; and/or
- Various prescription medications or drugs used during medical procedures (e.g., anesthesia, morphine, IVs, etc.).
Additionally, in some cases, a medical product can cause further injuries to the area or condition that it was initially supposed to treat. In other cases, a medical product or device can give rise to a whole new set of medical problems. For example, joint replacement products, such as those for knees, can create injuries that were not related to the original problem.
Normally, a person undergoes surgery for a knee replacement to fix deteriorating kneecaps and their cartilage. After surgery, while a patient’s knee might be completely fixed, they may experience other issues from a defective knee replacement product like failure of internal organ systems due to infection or issues with their blood circulation.
Are There Any Legal Remedies for Medical Product Liability Cases?
Depending on the facts of an individual case and which set of laws apply to a case, product liability laws may prescribe serious legal consequences and extensive remedies for injuries resulting from a medical product liability claim. In most instances, medical product liability lawsuits usually involve some sort of monetary damages award that can be used to reimburse the injured party for any losses caused by the defective product and resulting injury.
Monetary damages awards may be used to cover a number of things, including medical expenses, lost wages, hospital bills, loss of future earnings, pharmacy-related costs and various other expenses that may be needed to treat a person’s injuries.
Plaintiffs can also receive monetary damages for injuries that are harder to quantify, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of reputation, disfigurement, and other considerations. These damages are known as noneconomic or general monetary damages. Plus, if a case is serious enough, the court may even issue a punitive damages award. Though punitive damages are usually reserved for special cases.
In cases where a medical product injured enough parties, the parties may join together and file a class action medical product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the harmful medical product. If the plaintiffs win the class action lawsuit, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) can issue a recall of the defective medical product.
In addition, plaintiffs who are successful in bringing a class action medical product liability lawsuit also tend to receive very large settlement awards. However, such cases should be brought with the assistance of an experienced products and services lawyer due to the amount of complicated requirements that the plaintiffs will need to comply with and because the particularities involved with how these lawsuits must be filed.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Medical Product Liability Claims?
Claims for medical product liability can be fairly complicated due to the complexity of the laws and procedural requirements involved. Medical product liability claims may also create serious health problems for the consumer, which can be difficult to deal with when you are trying to both resolve your claim and take care of your medical issue simultaneously.
Therefore, if you wish to file a medical product liability claim, then it may be in your best interest to hire a local products and services lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced products and services lawyer who practices in your area will already be familiar with the local laws and procedural requirements needed to resolve medical product liability claims.
Your lawyer can discuss these laws and requirements with you, and can inform you about your rights, protections, and potential remedies you can recover if your case is successful. Your lawyer can also provide you with current legal research, which can help support your case and increase your chances of winning. In addition, if you need to attend court hearings for any reason, your lawyer will be able to provide legal representation as well.
Finally, if you help initiating a class action lawsuit for a defective medical product, your lawyer can assist you in preparing and drafting any necessary legal documents. Your lawyer can also answer any questions you may have about the class action process and can discuss the types of remedies you may be able to recover if the class action lawsuit is successful.
Your attorney will be able to provide representation in court if you become the named member of the class action lawsuit. Alternatively, if a class action lawsuit has already been filed for a certain defective medical product, you can also speak to your lawyer about how you can be added to that class to receive damages for your injuries.