Denver Medical Product Liability Attorneys
At one point or another, we all depend on medical products for treatment. Whether it involves a diagnostic tool, a pacemaker, or a stent, patients expect the device to work exactly as advertised. When these products fail, they not only fail to do their intended purpose, but they can also lead to serious injuries, illness, or even death. Due to this danger, all products should be properly tested before implanted into someone’s body. But health care professionals do not always review their equipment or use it correctly, and defects are often overlooked.
No matter what caused the device to fail, the patient should not be the one who has to take responsibility. No one deserves to pay for a mistake that wasn’t theirs. If you suspect a medical device has injured you, speak to a product liability lawyer at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. We have handled major cases across the United States and stood up to multi-billion dollar manufacturers. We won’t let a serious injury caused by negligence go unpunished. For a no-cost consultation, please call us at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906.
The legal concept of product liability says that manufacturers and sellers are legally responsible when they make or sell a faulty product that causes a consumer injury.
Healthcare providers depend on medical products to provide diagnoses and treatment, and manufacturers and sellers should be held liable when their products’ dysfunction leads to a patient’s injury. However, if the doctor makes an error when placing, using, monitoring, or communicating with the patient about the medical device, this may be considered medical malpractice.
As medical science progresses, the devices used in healthcare become more and more intricate and complicated. This means that while modern medical devices can allow someone to live a long and happy life, it is also increasingly easy for the devices to be designed, manufactured, or implemented incorrectly. Thus, medical device defects are becoming more common. In our experience, some of the most commonly defective medical devices include:
- Implants in the hips, shoulders, and knees
- Surgical hernia mesh
- Spinal cord stimulators
- Insulin pumps
Medical devices can be classified as defective for three different reasons. While each medical device has the chance of breaking or wearing out on its own, most defects are caused through negligence. This negligence is most often presented in:
Design defects: When medical devices are first conceived of and designed, they must go through rigorous testing, both by the design team and by the FDA. It can be difficult to get a new medical device on the market. However, mistakes still are allowed to slip through. These mistakes can be deadly or debilitating. Even if the defective design was properly vetted and no one was aware of the issue, the design team can still be held accountable if it injures a patient.
Manufacturing defects: Even if a design was perfected before manufacturing began, the actual process of building the medical device could easily go wrong. There should be checks and balances in place to make sure each product made is of high quality. If even a single faulty device is allowed to be implanted into a patient, then the party in charge of the manufacturing should be held liable.
Marketing failures: There is a great deal of marketing for medical devices. It’s likely you have seen a few commercials on TV for some new device that can fix all of your ailments. Unfortunately, these advertisements can mislead viewers and push people to get medical devices that don’t suit their needs or weren’t built for people of their body type. Poor marketing also includes warnings for these devices. If the warning does not properly prepare patients for the downsides or side effects of the medical device, then it can lead to patients becoming ill or injured. While marketing companies aren’t made up of medical professionals, they should still be held to a high standard given that falsely advertising medical devices could cost people their lives.
It goes without saying that medical device defects are incredibly dangerous. One flaw can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, or even death. The severity of the danger depends on what the device is for. A faulty breast implant is probably not as dangerous as a flawed pacemaker. However, even the breast impact can still lead to serious complications if incorrectly made, filled with toxic material, or improperly placed.
A pacemaker, which is meant to keep the heart beating at a proper rhythm, is necessary for a patient to survive day-to-day life. If that pacemaker is faulty, then it could easily allow the heartbeat to become arrhythmic or even stop altogether. Heart attacks put a great deal of stress on the body, damage vital muscles, and make future heart attacks all the more likely.
Ultimately, a medical device is meant to help promote healing and allow you to live a full and happy life. When the device fails in this design, it can worsen an already serious medical condition. Medical device defects can damage the tissue around them, causing internal bleed, or even organ damage. They can also allow for toxic material to run through the bloodstream or for internal infections to take root, potentially leading to infection. None of that is acceptable, and those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.
An experienced product liability lawyer can ensure every entity that contributed to the product’s defect is held liable, not just the manufacturer or seller. Potentially liable parties along the chain of distribution - the path the product took from manufacturer to consumer - include:
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer is the maker of the product, so if the product was made incorrectly, the manufacturer is responsible.
- Test laboratory: Virtually every medical product goes through laboratory testing, and if the testing company made an error in confirming the product’s safety, it can be held liable.
- Medical sales representative: If a medical sales representative recommended a particular product to a physician that turned out to be defective, especially if he failed to provide accurate information and warnings, he could hold responsibility.
- Doctor: Physicians can be liable when they don’t warn you of a product’s potential dangers, or do not instruct you on how to use the product correctly.
- Hospital or clinic: As part of the chain of distribution, the hospital or clinic where you received the product can be held responsible.
- Retail supplier: If you received the product from a pharmacy or other retail supplier rather than from your doctor directly, the retailer may be liable for selling you the defective product.
Of course, determining who is liable for your medical device defects is just the first step. After you find the liable party, you must clearly outline how they caused your injuries and why they are responsible for compensation.
It’s one thing to know that a defective medical product caused your injury. It’s another thing entirely to prove that the manufacturer, seller, and/or other party is at fault and should provide compensation for your injury. When it comes to medical device defects, there are a few factors that you must be able to prove.
Duty of care: First, you must be able to show that there was a duty of care owed to you, as in they had a responsibility to keep you reasonably safe. This is one of the easiest parts to show, as all you have to do is demonstrate that you were a customer or a patient of the at-fault party. Oftentimes, all you need is a receipt or medical bill to show this.
Breach of duty: After that, you must be able to show that that duty of care was breached, either through negligence or deliberate action. This can be done by showing that there was a design, manufacturing, marketing, or implementation defect. The device did not work as intended, and thus those who made it, sold it, or implanted it breached their duty of care towards you. Proving this requires speaking to a medical or engineering expert who can explain what the design should have done and how it failed.
You suffered an injury: Finally, you need to be able to show that your injuries and damages were directly related to the breach of care, as well as to the defective medical product. If you did not suffer any damages, then there is no cause for a claim. However, if a devised was designed to assist with a medical condition and it failed to do so because of a defect, then your original medical condition would be considered an injury.
Sustaining an injury from the very product that was supposed to help you get well is beyond frustrating. Not to mention the additional medical bills that quickly pile up. Having an experienced Denver medical malpractice lawyer on your side will allow you to focus on recovery rather than paperwork and give you your best chance of a successful claim.
If you’d like to discuss your situation, give the office of Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. a call at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906. There is no charge for an initial consultation with our legal team. If we take your case, you pay absolutely no fees unless we receive compensation for you through a settlement or jury verdict.