Thanks to modern medicine, patients and their physicians have access to myriad devices that make it easier to diagnose and treat various medical issues. Sometimes, though, patients may sustain injuries from the very devices that are designed to help them. When that happens, an attorney who specializes in medical device injuries can help the patient to obtain compensation for his or her injuries.
What Is a Medical Device?
Medical devices include practically anything that is used to treat injuries, illnesses, diseases or disabilities. Some of the devices that have been singled out in lawsuits over recent years include:
- Stents – tubes that are inserted into arteries to reduce the likelihood of blockages
- Defibrillators – electronic devices that are implanted in the heart to maintain normal rhythm
- Contraceptive devices
- Implants – synthetic devices that correct disabilities (hip and knee replacements, for example)
If the device has been defectively manufactured, defectively designed, or defectively marketed, the injured party may have a product liability claim. Attorneys who specialize in this type of claim can help the patient to determine if they have a basis for a claim due to defective devices.
Who Is Responsible?
A number of people or companies could potentially be defendants in a lawsuit related to medical devices. These include:
Usually, the manufacturer will be a large company. This is good in that big companies usually have deep pockets, and may be disposed to settle out of court, but it is bad in that they will certainly have a team of high-powered lawyers to defend them.
The Testing Lab
This would include any laboratories that tested the device, whether or not they are independent of the manufacturer.
Manufacturers of medical devices frequently employ sales representatives who market their product to the medical community. If they recommended a device that caused you harm, or if they misrepresented the possible dangers inherent in the device, they could be held liable.
The Health Facility
Any hospital or clinic that provided the device that harmed you could be held liable.
If the doctor failed to properly instruct you on how to use the device, or didn’t warn you of the dangers that could be involved, he or she could be held liable.
Finally, if you purchased the device from a pharmacy or other retailer, the supplier could be liable.
Essentially, anyone who had anything to do with the harmful device is a potential defendant.
Proving Your Claim
In order to win a lawsuit for defective medical devices, you will have to prove a) that you were injured, b) that the device was defectively designed, manufactured and/or marketed, and c) that the defect or misleading marketing caused the injury. You will also have to be sure that your lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations, which can vary from state to state. In other words, time is of the essence.
If a number of people have been harmed by the same device, you may be able to join your claim with others in a class action lawsuit. Your attorney can advise you on the best course of action.
Don’t Try to Do It on Your Own
Because the issues involved in a product liability lawsuit are very complex, you should not try to seek compensation on your own. You need an attorney who specializes in litigation related to medical devices in order to be sure that your interests are protected, and that you receive all the compensation you deserve.