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When to Bring a Medical Device Lawsuit

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 09, 2016 6:00 AM

Not all surgeries or medical procedures go the way we planned, but your injuries may not be the doctor's fault. Sometimes medical devices and implants can be poorly designed, fail, or become damaged over time, causing serious health risks and even death.

Lawsuits based on defective medical devices can be complicated and face significant legal hurdles, but can be necessary to hold device manufacturers accountable for flaws in design, manufacture, or warnings. Here's what you need to know about medical device lawsuits:

Is It Too Late?

Any lawsuit can be barred by a statute of limitations -- a time limit before which a plaintiff must file a claim or forfeit the opportunity. Statutes of limitation can vary depending on the type of lawsuit, and the time limits for medical malpractice and product liability have some of the shortest. As soon as you learn of an injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney to find out what the statute of limitations will be relating to your claim.

Whose Fault Is It?

Determining whether it was the failure of the medical device or the negligence of medical personnel that caused your injury can be difficult, but it will determine what kind of lawsuit you file. A medical malpractice claim will be based on the negligence of the surgeon, hospital staff, or other medical personnel, and could be filed if a medical professional misused a medical device.

A product liability lawsuit, on the other hand, will be based on one or more of three claims:

  1. A Defect in Design: The medical device's design was flawed in a way that rendered it unreasonably dangerous to patients;
  2. A Defect in Manufacturing: The medical device was improperly manufactured in a way that dangerously departed from its intended design; and/or
  3. A Defect in Warning: The medical device lacked adequate labels, instructions, or warnings, the omission of which rendered it unreasonably unsafe.

Who Can I Talk To?

As noted above, medical device lawsuits are legally complex, and establishing fault often requires expert consultation and testimony. Additionally, each state has its own laws and specific statutes that affect product liability litigation. So if you're thinking of filing a medical device lawsuit, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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