Injuries sustained from a defective product may entitle you to compensation through a product liability claim. Defective design, errors in manufacturing, or failure to warn of potential risks can all fall under the umbrella of product liability claims. Product liability claims can extend to medical products and devices. Defective medical devices can be disguised as surgical implants, prosthetic devices, hearing/visual aids, and surgical equipment. On any given day a hospital is occupied by hundreds of people. Nurses, doctors, patients, and radiologists are constantly entering and exiting hospitals. It is very difficult to monitor and control the pathogens and bacteria that are brought into hospitals from the spaces beyond the hospital doors. Once a hospital staff member leaves a hospital they come into contact with a million surfaces that could be infested with harmful bacteria. So many types of infections can be traced to contaminated medical devices. However, contaminated medical devices are not the only source of defective product claims in hospitals. Sometimes the problem can be found further up the chain. The defective components of a medical device can also be traced to the manufacturing process or product design.
If you decided to file a medical product liability case there are three things to keep in mind.
1. Difference between medical malpractice and product liability
It is very difficult to distinguish the difference between medical malpractice and product liability. In a medical malpractice suit responsibility often narrows onto the doctor, nurse, or hospital. These claims are usually directed at medical personnel involved in the procedure. On the contrary, in a product liability claim responsibility can be divided amongst a number of parties. Possible defendants can include the manufacturer, testing laboratory, doctors, and hospital/clinic.
2. Time Limit for lawsuit
Statue of limitations is the amount of time that is permissible for a claim to be filed. The time limit varies from state to state. The nature of defective medical claims differ from other product liability claims because of how long it can take to discover the injury. All procedures come with risk and potential post-surgery effects. For example, if a patient experiences infection after a hip replacement it may take a while for symptoms to manifest. Similarly, is very difficult to determine the source of the infection. Weeks or months after a surgery when the patient goes in for a post-operative checkup may be the time when the infection is discovered. Even after that it may take time to determine that the device was the problem. For these reasons many states have a discovery rule. This means that the statue of limitations begins once discovery is made.
3. Include all responsibly parties
In a product liability case, especially one involving a medical device there are a number of people that can be involved. The manufacturer, testing laboratory, sales representative, or retail supplier can all be included in the claim. An experienced attorney will be very aware of this and build your case to account for this.
If you have sustained injuries from a defective medical device, feel free to contact us at Colley and Colley for a free consultation.