Metal hip implants use working metal parts to either replace or resurface hip joints. They are used for persons with hip injuries, debilitative hip disease, and other conditions. In particular, “metal on metal” hip implants have been introduced into the market for consumer use. These types of implants use a metal ball fitted into a metal cup, to approximate the natural hip joint.
Due to the design of some metal-on-metal hip implants, patients have reported injuries and other complications from surgery. Specifically, a high number of lawsuits have been filed in relation to the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, both made by DePuy company. As a result, DePuy issued a recall for these two products in the summer of 2010.
How Can Metal Hip Implants Cause Injury?
Two major types of metal hip implant injuries have been the focus of lawsuits:
- Mechanical issues with the implants eroding
- Chemical injuries due to the metal ions reaching the blood stream
Over time, the walking motion can cause the ball and socket structure of the implant to erode, leaving metal particles in the area where the implant has become loose. This can result in further damage and pain to the hip area. Further surgery has often been required to remove the faulty metal-on-metal implant.
In some cases, hip patients have reported negative effects on their circulatory, nervous, and thyroid (glandular) systems due to the high presence of metal ions in the blood stream. These chemically-based injuries have been linked to the eroding metal from the hip replacements.
How Do I Recover for Injuries Caused by a Metal Hip Implant?
There may be a number of avenues for legal compensation available to you. It may be possible to recover on a product liability basis. This would involve proof of a defect in the design of the metal hip implants. Defective product designs are common in class action lawsuits.
It might also be possible for you to recover losses based on medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims can involve a number of faults, such as:
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Improper or failed surgery
- Lack of follow-up care
- Erroneous medical advice
Each case will vary depending on the surrounding facts. Contacting a lawyer can help you sort out which legal theory to apply in your claim.
What Kind of Expenses Can I Be Reimbursed For?
According to DePuy’s recall statement, the company stated that they will cover:
- Out-of-pocket expenses for insured patients
- Lost wages time spent on additional surgery
However, these may not cover all the losses you may have experienced in the process, such as additional medical costs, lost wages for missed work due to the injury, and pain/suffering in some cases. Thus, it may be necessary to file a private claim based on your individual needs.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Metal Hip Implant Injuries?
If you are facing legal difficulties in connection with a metal hip implant injury, you may wish to contact a local personal injury lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover losses for your injuries. Metal hip implant lawsuits have been filed nationwide in both federal and state courts, with favorable results for plaintiffs.