Medical devices such as hip implants, pacemakers, and intraocular lenses allow people to live relatively healthy lives despite their health conditions. Just like other manufactured products, however, medical devices can cause patient injuries. If you have suffered such an injury, here are some of the parties who may be liable for your damages.
Manufacturers of medical devices are often responsible for the injuries their devices might cause. Most medical devices have dangerous side effects, but that doesn’t mean you have a liability claim if you suffer one of the side effects. An injury due to a side effect doesn’t trigger a liability claim as long as the manufacturer has warned the public or patients about these effects.
The liability of the manufacturer arises under some specific conditions. For example, a manufacturer who doesn’t list the side effects, manufactures defective products, or falsely markets their devices may be liable for the injuries the devices might cause.
Medical devices undergo rigorous tests to ascertain not only their effectiveness but also their safety. Many manufacturers use independent test centers for this purpose. If a device that went through that channel caused you injury, then the laboratory might be liable for your injuries in addition to the manufacturer.
The laboratory’s liability arises if they failed in their duty and didn’t catch a problem or didn’t inform the manufacturer about an issue with the device. For example, a testing laboratory that rushes a test and ends up with bogus results is likely liable for the injuries the device might cause.
Anyone who sells a medical product should likely prepare to pay for the damages their products might cause. Most manufacturers of medical devices rely on sales representatives to promote the manufacturer’s products to medical practitioners.
A sales representative should have full information about their products and provide the information to medical practitioners to help the practitioners make informed decisions. The medical practitioners also use the information to help patients make informed decisions.
Thus, a sales representative who withholds the dangerous side effects of a product is also likely liable for the injuries the product may cause. Also, a sales representative who encourages uses of a product other than those that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved may be liable.
Anyone in the chain of distribution should only handle safe products and inform consumer patients about potential risks of the products. Thus, whether the product has distributors, wholesalers, importers, or even retailers, all must play their part. If a dangerous product sails through the chain of distribution, the distributors could pay for the ensuing damages.
Many people get their medical devices from medical facilities such as hospitals, dental offices, and clinics, among others. These medical facilities should also do their part to ensure their medical devices are safe. The medical facilities should also get informed consent from their patients before using the devices.
For example, some manufacturers have recalled hip implants due to the implant’s high rates of failure. Any hospital that continues to use such implants may be liable for your damages if one of the implants fail in your body.
Lastly, physicians may also be liable for injuries medical devices might cause. When a surgeon sits down with you to discuss your breast implant, for example, they should inform you of the potential risks. The physician should tell you about the risk of leakage, changes in sensation, or poor scarring. Otherwise, the surgeon should compensate you if you suffer the damages.
Product liability claims are relatively complicated and require the effort of experienced lawyers. Ringsmuth Wuori PLLC has the necessary experience to help you navigate your claim or lawsuit if you have suffered injuries due to a medical device. Contact us for a free initial consultation, and we will do our best to help you.