Millions of people rely on medical devices to help them achieve some level of normalcy after suffering an injury or illness. Unfortunately, there are risks associated with these devices, especially those that are implanted inside the body. If your medical device was faulty or it failed for some reason and you suffered harm, you may be entitled to compensation. While many victims file individual lawsuits against the manufacturers of medical devices, others join class-action lawsuits or mass tort litigation to recover their losses. You too should reach out to a personal injury attorney to find out if you have grounds for seeking damages.
Types of Medical Devices
In the most general sense, a medical device is any product created to assist medical professionals in treating patients. Medical devices can be used to diagnose, prevent, or treat illness and injury. Therefore, bandages, wheelchairs, and enemas all fall into the category of medical devices. However, lawsuits tend to stem from the failure of those devices that go inside the body such as pacemakers, artificial joints, insulin pumps, and cochlear implants.
Implantable devices are considered Class III medical devices under the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Before they can be sold, they must go through a rigorous Food and Drug Administration approval process. While the FDA works hard to ensure these devices are safe, dangerous devices can still make their way onto the market.
Establishing Liability for Defective Medical Devices
People who suffer harm because of a medical device have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Each case is different but individuals can usually claim compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Relatives may also be able to file a wrongful death claim in the event that an individual dies because of a malfunctioning device.
Defects can occur when a medical device is being designed, manufactured, or marketed. A product can be poorly designed without being dangerous. However, if the defect causes an injury or makes an existing injury or illness worse, the patient may have grounds to sue. The courts will seek to determine whether the product is unreasonably dangerous in its design or unsafe even when used as intended and expected.
Meanwhile, manufacturing defects can occur because of human error, mechanical breakdown, or faulty components. While some flaws are easily visible, others may be concealed inside the device, making it impossible for doctors and patients to know that there’s a problem. While the mere presence of a manufacturing defect doesn’t give patients a reason to file a lawsuit, suffering harm because of the defect does.
A medical device can also be deemed defective because of the way it is marketed. It may have been designed and manufactured perfectly but still be able to cause harm. Companies that market medical devices need to describe the device accurately and provide instructions on how it should be used safely. They should also warn doctors and patients about any potential dangers. Failure to do this can lead to injury or illness, and subsequently, a product liability lawsuit.
Proving That You’re Entitled to Compensation
It’s not enough to believe that a medical device caused you harm. You need to be able to prove it. Many product liability lawsuits are filed against manufacturers but you may also seek damages from laboratories, marketing firms, and doctors. With the help of your personal injury lawyer, you’ll need to prove four elements before you can claim compensation. These are that:
- The other party had a duty of care towards you
- That party acted negligently and therefore breached that duty
- That negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injury or illness
- Because of your injuries, you suffered damages
Product liability lawsuits can be complicated. Furthermore, the manufacturers of medical devices are usually large companies who spare no expense when it comes to legal representation. That’s why it’s so important for individuals who have been injured to hire an experienced attorney with a successful track record.
Contact the Class Action Lawyers Coalition for Advice!
If you were injured because of a faulty medical device, our team of personal injury lawyers is here to help. We represent groups of individuals across the country who are facing a similar situation. In some cases, joining a class action lawsuit is the best option. Your first consultation is free and you don’t have to pay any fees until you receive compensation. Contact us today to learn about your options!