Thousands of lawsuits piled up after hip recipients banked on the promise of reduced pain and greater mobility only to suffer complications far more debilitating. Allegations include faulty designs and serious complications like metallosis.
Hip replacement injuries can be permanent. Some require revision surgery and medical care that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These costs can include doctor’s visits, tests, medication and hospitalization.
Coping with these injuries can also carry a high emotional toll. Discomfort resulting from device failure can immobilize patients and interfere with their ability to work and participate in other activities.
Losing income by being out of work is a common reason juries award damages. So are other, more emotional reasons, such as the deterioration of a marriage because of a loss of consortium. Awards also are viewed as a way to discourage corporate misconduct in the future.
The reality is, a lawsuit may offer you more compensation than a recall. Device makers may offer compensation as part of a recall. But they will likely limit compensation to certain medical treatments and revisions. They may not address potential losses like lost wages and pain and suffering. According to some patients, DePuy only covered a fraction of revision costs under their recall, leaving injured patients to foot the rest of the bill. Talk to a lawyer about how a lawsuit may offer more compensation.
Consider talking to a lawyer about risks and benefits of joining a class-action lawsuit. A class action is a lawsuit filed collectively by a large group of people with similar claims. Class-action claimants generally have less control over their cases, including negotiating settlement terms, than individual claimants. However, these groups often have leverage to reach large settlements. Before joining a class action, consider talking to an attorney about the risks and benefits of filing your claim individually.
A qualified device attorney may be able to help you obtain a settlement. These attorneys are knowledgeable about hip replacement injuries and device makers. They can use their experience to help you make decisions like whether to file a claim, go to trial or accept a settlement. Remember that each case is different. It is always best to speak with a qualified attorney for specific information about your legal rights and any available compensation.
Diane Pingel filed a lawsuit against Stryker after she underwent five surgeries to repair tissue and bone damage caused by metal particles flaking off her Rejuvenate hip implant. During one of the surgeries, her femur broke, and her doctor placed a metal rod in her leg. Because she has a Rejuvenate in both hips, the other hip will also need to be replaced. She is one of a growing number of individuals who are filing lawsuits over Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants.
Loren Kransky, a former corrections officer, sued DePuy after he was implanted with the ASR and experienced “a kind of stabbing pain” that prevented him from walking and from rehabilitating after a stroke and forced him to use a wheelchair. Doctors tested Kransky’s blood and found high levels of cobalt and chromium that was poisoning him. A Los Angeles jury found that the ASR was defective in design and awarded the Kranskys $8.3 million.
Device makers sometimes use recalls as an opportunity to get patients to sign waivers or accept a fixed amount of compensation. Doing either of these things may prevent you from filing a lawsuit later. So it is best to talk to a lawyer first. Keep in mind that your injuries may be permanent and require ongoing care. A lawsuit may offer a better opportunity to receive compensation for the costs of ongoing care.
Device makers sometimes use patient call centers to get information to limit legal claims. Before you talk to a device maker or recall call center representative, keep in mind that you may not yet know the extent of your injuries. Talk to a lawyer first to avoid saying anything that could hurt your potential claim.
Also keep in mind that your physician or surgeon may try to turn over evidence in your case, including the failed hip device. In the past, device makers have reportedly paid doctors to turn over any faulty devices they remove. They may also work with doctors to obtain other medical information related to your claim. So talk to an experienced dangerous device lawyer to find out how to protect yourself when seeking medical help for your injuries.
During recalls, device makers often provide information about revision surgery and other treatment. However, their recommendations may not be appropriate for you. Consider getting a second opinion before committing to a particular treatment plan.