Advances in medicine and technology over the last century have resulted in average Americans living considerably longer than they did just a few generations ago. An illness or injury that would have been certain to end in death or suffering a few decades ago may now be treated or even cured.
While many of the advances in medicine have the potential to save lives, some defective medical products can lead to serious injury or even death.
Our South Carolina defective medical device attorneys at Joye Law Firm see all too often the results of medical procedures that have gone wrong.
Lawsuits Over Defective Medical Products – Frequently Asked Questions
Defective Medical Devices
Although there are numerous federal agencies that are charged with approving products and overseeing the use of consumer products in the United States, a shocking number of defective products still make it to consumers. Defective medical products are no exception. Defective products in general cause over $500 billion in injuries, deaths and property damage each year and are responsible for 22,000 deaths and $29 million in injuries each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Ultimately, the party responsible for causing your damages should be held legally liable. In the vast majority of defective medical product cases, this will be a large company. It might be the manufacturer, a supplier or even a retailer. Many people also wonder if the doctor who prescribed the defective medical device might bear any liability. The answer to this question is generally no. Though in a select set of rare cases, it is possible that a doctor might bear liability.
Lawsuits over defective medical devices fall under an area of the law known as products liability. There are three different types of product liability cases, they include:
- Design defects: A design defect means that there was a defect in the design of the product itself. In other words, the entire product line was inherently flawed and never should have been allowed on the market in the first place.
- Manufacturing defects: A manufacturing defect means that the product was designed properly, but something went wrong during the manufacturing of the product that caused a defect. It could be that the entire line of products was manufactured defectively. However, it could also be that only certain products, possibly ones from a certain year or a certain manufacturing facility, were defective.
- Failure-to-warn: These cases are limited to products that are inherently dangerous no matter how they are designed or manufactured. These products must carry adequate warnings of the dangers. Inherently dangerous products can be on the market in some cases, but they must be properly labelled and properly marketed. If a company created dangerous false impressions in the minds of consumers, then the company could be held liable for any resulting damages.
Regardless of which type of products liability your specific claim falls into, to hold a company liable you will need to prove that they failed to live up to their legal obligation. If a company put an unsafe medical product out on to the market, they must be held responsible for the resulting damages.
In South Carolina, defective medical product victims are entitled to recover compensation for the full extent of their damages. Specifically, victims can seek compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Past and future pain and suffering and emotional distress;
- Past and future lost wages and loss of earning capacity;
- Wrongful death in cases where the product contributed the victim’s death.
In South Carolina, you generally have three years to take legal action in relation to an injury. This is a very strict time limit. You must take the statute of limitations seriously. However, there is an important caveat to add when considering defective medical products claims: you have three years from the date that the injury should have been discovered. The three year clock does not begin ticking until you actually found, or should have reasonably found, your injuries. This is a major issue in defective medical devices cases because sometimes damage can take a considerable amount of time to appear. For example, imagine that a South Carolina patient had a transvaginal mesh implanted in 2007. She may not start experiencing complications until 2015. In this type of scenario, the statute of limitations clock starts from the date that the patient starts experiencing problems (2015), not from the date of the initial procedure.
Product liability claims are among the most complex types of legal case. This is especially true for defective medical device cases. This area of law involves a complicated web of state law and federal regulation and the defendants are typically large companies. To go up against these big companies, you need aggressive legal representation. It is imperative that you get your case into the hands of your attorney as soon as you possible can. At Joye Law Firm, our product liability attorneys will:
- Thoroughly investigate your claim;
- Ensure that you have obtained all relevant evidence;
- Assemble your evidence in a compelling manner;
- Consult with industry experts;
- Consult with medical experts to better understand and document your injuries;
- Use legal tools, to seek necessary information that is held by the company;
- Negotiate with the opposing parties; and
- Ensure that the responsible company is held fully accountable for the damage that they have caused.
Types of Defective Medical Devices
Some of the more common defective medical device cases that Joye Law Firm handles concern the da Vinci surgical robot, DePuy hip transplants, and transvaginal mesh failure.
If you have been injured by any of these products, contact our South Carolina defective medical device attorneys at Joye Law Firm by calling (888) 324-3100 or by filling out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.
- Da Vinci Surgical Robot – Modern medical devices in the hands of trained doctors and technicians can pinpoint diseases, aid in surgical procedures, and speed patient recovery. But even the safest medical equipment in the hands of an under-trained doctor or technician can cause serious injury. A number of patients have suffered serious surgical injuries from the da Vinci surgical robot manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. The surgical robot is used for a variety of surgeries, from hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures to prostate removal and heart surgery.
- DePuy Hip Recall – Johnson & Johnson’s artificial joint replacement company, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., has issued a recall of two hip replacement products because of higher failure rates that necessitated second surgeries. DePuy recalled the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and theASR XL Acetabular System after data showed that within five years, one in eight patients needed a “revision surgery,” which is required when an artificial joint doesn’t fit properly. Serious pain and difficulty walking can result from a faulty hip replacement.
- Stryker® Orthopaedics Hip Implant Recall – Stryker® Orthopaedics has issued a voluntary recall of its Rejuvenate Modular and ABG-II modular-neck hip stem implants, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Corrosion can occur in the devices, and this wear and tear can release metal debris that can cause adverse tissue reactions and pain and swelling, according to Stryker.
- Transvaginal Mesh Failure – Many women who suffer pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI), medical conditions that occur when the internal support structure of the vagina fails, undergo a surgical procedure in which a transvaginal mesh (TVM) is inserted to help hold the woman’s internal organs in place. A recent study regarding vaginal meshes published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed troubling results with these procedures: women who had transvaginal mesh inserted suffered higher rates of serious complications, including bladder perforation and pelvic hemorrhage and an increased number of adverse events after the surgery, such as urinary incontinence and pain during intercourse.
- Power Morcellator – A power morcellator is a device that is used during surgeries. Essentially, it cuts up large tissues into smaller pieces. Surge
- NuvaRing Injury – NuvaRing is a form of birth control that was approved by the FDA in 2001. While NuvaRing has been advertised as a safe alternative to the more traditional forms of birth control, there have been some very serious issues with this product. In fact, there have been indications that NuvaRing adversely impacts certain consumers. There have been reports that NuvaRing has led to strokes, cancer, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, toxic shock syndrome, and even death. According to reporting from the Consumerist, the manufacturer of NuvaRing, Merck, has agreed paid out nearly $100 million in 1700 different NuvaRing lawsuit settlements.
- Mirena IUD – Mirena IUD is another commonly used alternative form of birth control. An IUD is a small plastic device that is implanted into the uterus. Many adverse side effects have reportedly been related to this device. According to the FDA, nearly 50,000 complaints have been sent in regarding Mirena. Common adverse side effects include perforation of the uterine wall, severe headaches, abdominal pain, hemorrhaging, ovarian cysts and migration or dislocation of the device.
- Power Morcellators – Surgeons use power morcellators during certain procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies. It has been reported that these devices have been recalled and suspended by their manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, due to the fact that the device potentially increases the risk of cancer in some women. Other side effects that have been reported include bleeding and infections, bowel obstructions, organ damage, pelvic pain, bruising and abscesses.
- Blood Clot Filter – These devices are inserted into people who are at risk of developing certain medical conditions such as pulmonary embolisms. While blood clot filters can help control that issue, evidence has emerged to indicate that these products may be defective. According to reporting from NBC News, blood clot filters may even be linked to several fatalities.
If you have developed side effects after using any of the aforementioned products, or if you think a different medical device may have caused you adverse complications, you owe it to yourself to speak to an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible.
Your attorney can comprehensively review your case in order to determine how to best protect your legal rights and financial interests.
Get Help From Our Defective Medical Device Lawyers
When you’ve been seriously injured by a defective medical device, you can trust our South Carolina personal injury attorneys to treat you with respect and work to get the compensation you deserve.
Our offices are located in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, Summerville, and Columbia, but we represent clients throughout South Carolina, including those in Columbia, Georgetown, Moncks Corner, Florence, and Walterboro.