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Medical Device Product Liability
Serving Cook and DuPage Counties

Defective Medical Device Lawsuits

Medical devices are any device used for medical purposes to treat a disability, illness, injury and/or disease. While the intent of the device is to improve health, in some cases, patients can actually experience injury instead. Injury or death based on the use of a medical device can form the basis for a product liability lawsuit, and our attorney in Chicago can assist you in negotiating a settlement and can advise you as to whether a settlement offer is reasonable compensation for injuries you sustained.

Medical Product Liability Claims

Defective product liability claims come in three varieties and are based on the following:

  • Manufactured defectively: Includes devices that were improperly manufactured or otherwise damaged. A defectively manufactured medical device can be produced as a result of an error at the manufacturing facility, a shipping problem, or an error that occurs at the hospital or doctor’s office — in other words, the defect can occur at any point between the factory and where you received the medical device.
  • Defective design: Includes devices that were properly manufactured but have an unreasonably dangerous design that result in injury. Sometimes, a medical device is on the market for a long time before causing serious injuries, typically because the device breaks down in some way. In some cases, the victims may claim that the manufacturer knew of the danger but deliberately concealed it or delayed taking the product off the market. If the victims can prove this, they may get more money in the form of punitive damages.
  • Failure to warn: Refers to any recommendation, warning (or lack of a warning), or instruction concerning the use of that medical device by a potential defendant. This category of claims involves anything from a failure to provide adequate (or accurate) warnings regarding the danger posed by the medical device to a failure to provide adequate instructions regarding its safe and appropriate use. The “bad advice” may have been given by the manufacturer or by a doctor, hospital, sales rep, or other medical provider. Or the “defective” marketing may involve sophisticated sales pitches targeting the medical profession vs consumers.

Medical Device Liability

Identifying medical liability is complex and involves many entities and individuals considering everything from testing through the actual distribution of various products.

  • Manufacturer: Because of the huge market for medical devices and the technical challenges involved in developing new medical equipment, the manufacturer is typically a large company. This is generally good news if you’re seeking compensation for your injuries, although it is also true that these companies inevitably retain teams of high-priced lawyers to defend such cases.
  • Testing laboratory: Include any testing laboratories that performed tests on the medical device, especially if they are independent of the manufacturer.
  • Medical sales representative: Medical device manufacturers often make use of “sales reps,” who meet with doctors and other members of the medical community to tout the latest medical device and make recommendations regarding its potential applications. These representatives may be liable if they recommended the medical device that injured you.
  • Physician: The doctors who recommended the medical device may be liable based on their failure to warn you about potential dangers or to provide adequate instructions regarding the proper use of the medical device.
  • Hospital: Any company, including a hospital or a clinic, that was part of the chain of distribution between the manufacturer of the medical device may be held liable for your injuries.
  • Retailer: Although most medical devices are delivered to the patient directly by a doctor or a hospital, if you obtained the medical device that injured you from a pharmacy, drug store, or other retail supplier, that retailer is the final point in the chain of distribution of the medical device from the manufacturer to you and may also be liable.

Product Liability Versus Medical Malpractice

In any case in which you are suing a doctor or a hospital in connection with an injury caused by a medical device, you may also have a claim for medical malpractice. The legal basis for a medical malpractice claim is somewhat different from a defective product claim. If you have a reasonable legal basis, you can pursue claims for product liability and medical malpractice. For any product liability and/or medical malpractice case, it is highly advisable to consult with a lawyer and these types of cases are extremely complex and require extensive research and proof.

Illinois Statute of Limitations for Medical Product Defects

In Illinois, a product liability lawsuit must be filed with the court within five years for claims related to property damage and two years for personal injury claims. Because of how important it is to understand the specific statute of limitations in the state where a lawsuit may be filed, you’ll want to seek legal advice from our attorney in Chicago as soon as possible after suffering an injury from a defective or dangerous product.

Medical Device Class Action Lawsuits

If others have been injured by the same medical device you used, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit. Sometimes, a class action has already been filed and you may be able to join in the lawsuit. Joining an existing class action has several advantages. The lawyers for the class action lawsuit will become your lawyers as well there will likely be little or no upfront cost to you. You also won’t have to sort out potentially complex legal issues, such as where or how to file your claim.

You may also bring your own lawsuit instead of joining the class action. This may be appropriate if your injuries are substantially different from those of the other people in the class action, or if there are special circumstances in your case.

Consider consulting with our attorney in Chicago to find out if there is an existing class action concerning the medical device that injured you, and if so, whether it is advisable for you to join. Such initial consultations are usually free of charge. You may also contact the lawyers for the class action directly, as they will most likely be interested in talking with you.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical device, you should consult with attorneys experienced in products liability suits. The experienced product liability attorneys at Bellas & Wachowski understand the complexity involved with product liability cases and have extensive experience protecting consumers from dangerous products.

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