Three Steps to Take If You Are Harmed by a Defective Medical Device0
We trust the medical community to provide us with products and services that improve our health. But when patients are harmed rather than helped, they’re often left wondering what options are available to them. The three steps below are a starting point for patients harmed by defective medical devices.
Step 1: Evaluate your legal options. Few people are excited by the prospect of suing a company or medical institution, but sometimes it’s the only way to recover costs related to your injuries and help protect others from the same fate. Patients often find out about defective medical devices because a recall has been issued; this has happened in recent years with everything from pharmaceuticals to cardiac defibrillators. Other times, patients find out the hard way-when they experience ill effects themselves. Some patients sit on the sidelines because they don’t want to “make waves” or think they can’t go up against large pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturers. Just remember that you are the victim, and you deserve restitution.
Step 2: Choose the right lawyer. There are all kinds of lawyers, but cases that involve damage from a medical device should be handled by a personal injury attorney. These attorneys are experts in product liability laws, which determine who is responsible for problems that result from the design, manufacturing and marketing of many types of products. The personal injury lawyer you choose should have specific experience with faulty medical devices. He or she will determine whether you have a good case and then fight for financial compensation to cover the costs of your rehabilitation, lost wages and hospital and doctors’ bills. The whole process-realizing you’ve been injured by a defective device and then bringing a suit-can be difficult and stressful, so it’s helpful to find an attorney who is compassionate as well as skilled.
Step 3: Act quickly. Depending on the type of medical device or product, its ill effects may become apparent soon or after an extended period of time has passed. Time is of the essence, however. As soon as you know-or are fairly certain-that defective products or devices are responsible for damaging your health, contact an attorney immediately. Many states have statutes of limitations in place that may prevent you from taking legal action if you wait too long. Once a recall that affects you has been announced, talk to your doctor and then talk to your lawyer.
Defective medical devices and drugs are not the only types of defective products that can result in the need for a personal injury attorney. Accidents stemming from defective parts on motor vehicles such as ATVs, SUVs or automobiles have also resulted in significant product liability lawsuits. In addition to filing a personal injury claim on one’s own behalf, individuals can file a wrongful death suit if a loved one has died as a result of the use of a defective product. If you have lost a loved one as a result of negligence or willful misconduct on the part of an individual, corporation or government entity, contact a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the laws in your state.