Medical Product Liability

Medical product liability is the grim specter many companies face even after extensive testing has been done to assure that both quality and safety are non-issues. Hearing aids, diagnostic equipment, implants of any kind, supplies, prosthetics and transplants as well as appliances are all fair game for medical product liability lawsuits when the products fail and cause injury or death. Such lawsuit judgments routinely amount to millions of dollars for thousands or tens of thousands of plaintiffs in class action suits. It is understandable why the cost of all medical equipment is so high given the exposure it has to such civil litigation. There are a lot of issues that surround such litigation.

One of the most pressing is understanding if the physicians involved in the distributing of these products bear any responsibility for their failure. Take the example of Dr. Neverdowrong who is a hearing specialist and a regular dispenser of certain a certain brand of hearing aid for those patients showing a positive reaction to their use. When one out of seventy two of these devices was proven to be defective and its continual use caused severe ear damage, a medical product liability lawsuit naturally occurred naming the product manufacturer and the good doctor as defendants. The question of liability came down to the issue of whether or not the physician took enough time and researched the product well enough to know to warn his patients of possible risks should the device malfunction. And if the company did warn the doctor of possible malfunction in about .014 percent of all the devices, was that enough of a danger that the doctor consider it essential to pass on to the information to a patient?

Some legal experts suggest that there is too much of a dichotomy between the various state regulations and laws regarding medical product liability. There is little in the way of federal law regarding this matter making it more favorable to stage lawsuits in some states rather than others. And within that wide range of state regulations is one agreement: no matter how much discretionary care that a manufacturer took in making sure a product was safe, a strict interpretation of tort law would effectively award a plaintiff with monetary damages for injuries received. It's quite easy to strike out when someone hurts us and attempt to defend ourselves, but Christians look to God for supreme protection and our defense in all things. "In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength and my refuge is in God...He is my only rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved." (Psalm 62:6, 7)

Probably one of the greatest challenges the medical product industry faces is fear, and in many cases potentially exciting drugs, appliances, mechanical hearts or other devices are deliberately scuttled because of the possibility of lawsuit. In some cases, developers cannot afford the extreme cost of medical product liability insurance and must end any attempt to market the product while other companies have pulled products off the market despite the absence of one single lawsuit, because of the fear one could be filed at some future date. Even some suppliers of material for products have been sued, costing millions of dollars in litigation fees. The federal government has yet to make only four products free from liability issues and only two are a medical product liability issue: children's vaccines and biomaterials in implanted medical appliances. The field is basically wide open for continued litigation over supposed flawed products. Drugs such as Fen Phen, Vioxx, Accutane, Baycol and Crestor as well as a defibrillator and a device to treat aortic aneurisms have been the targets of recent lawsuits. But a lot of pressure from medical product lobbyists can artificially push the FDA to sometimes prematurely approve new products without fully researching all side effects.

If a person or a loved one has experienced a negative reaction, injury or death because of a healthcare product failure or malfunction, the odds are it was not the first failure recorded. Of course one will want to contact an attorney to ascertain of any legal action can be taken, particularly if economic suffering has been the result. There may have already been a class action suit filed on behalf of others who have also been hurt and your name will be added to the list of plaintiffs. In this particular medical product liability case, other legal action by your attorney may be limited so makes sure and seek an attorney who has shown some extensive experience in this area of civil law. Additionally, you will want to know that this attorney will share all information with you as the case makes twists and turns throughout the system. It is to no one's real advantage for a lawsuit to go to court, so often a settlement will be sought before a trial begins.

Be sure that the attorney you hire is not only experienced in this type of medical product liability litigation but also that you feel you can trust him or her. If there is a personality clash or some sort of strange vibes emanate from this attorney-client relationship, seek another litigator. If this is an attorney from a firm, another attorney can be appointed in his or her place. Find out how the attorney will be paid and whether or not you will have to pay any upfront money. Some attorneys work on a contingency basis, only being paid upon judgment settlement.

Product Liability Lawsuits

Consumers can pursue filing product liability lawsuits when they suffer any injury from a manufactured item. Judgments from these suits can help a person recoup losses from hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other incidental expenses that may be related to the injury. When a customer walks into a store, he makes a certain assumption about whatever he is attempting to buy. He believes that the company that made the product did so with his safety as a primary concern. Not only does the consumer want the item to fulfill a specific purpose, such as an automobile or even a baby toy, but he also expects that using the item will not result in any negative consequences. But if the car is poorly designed and suddenly catches on fire while driving down the road, or the toy breaks and cuts a small child, then the consumer needs to have an avenue to address the lack of safety. When customers file product liability lawsuits, they are holding the manufacturer accountable for the lack of attention or poor design.

Hopefully, an individual will never have a need to know about product liability lawsuits, and for the most part, this is the case. Most companies take a great deal of care in the construction and design of their products in order to avoid having civil suits brought against them. There are also stringent quality controls set up in order to ensure the safety of whatever merchandise is being marketed to the public. It is impossible, however, to protect the public from every eventual mistake in production. Sometimes companies are completely unaware that their items pose a hazard. On the other hand, not all businesses are completely innocent of wrongdoing. Some corporations are more concerned with a profit than they are with protecting the consumer, and they design poorly constructed items in order to be cost efficient.

One of the first ways that customers can try and prove the cases for their product liability lawsuits is by claiming that the designs of the items were flawed. This means that whatever injury a consumer sustained is directly linked to a poor plan for a product. However, a person who is considering following this particular element in his suit should carefully consider several things. First of all, the person has to prove that the design itself was faulty and was the direct cause of the injury. While this may be easy enough to do with expert testimony, the second aspect of proving such a case is usually where the litigant has difficulty winning. The victim then has to prove, if he is successful claiming the flaw in design, that the company was aware of the danger the good posed to the public. These particular cases are perhaps the most difficult, and involved, to prove.

Many complainants who are involved in product liability lawsuits argue that while the design of the product was acceptable, the company is still liable because the manufacturing process ultimately caused the defect, which directly caused the injury. If the parts on an automobile are not assembled correctly and the flaw causes a wreck that was beyond the driver's control, then the victim can claim that faulty manufacturing is why the company is liable for his injuries. This is perhaps the most successful method to argue when seeking damages from a company. In this instance, the company does not need to have a direct awareness of a defect in order to be held accountable for any injuries or hurts that result because of the accident. By using the average industry standards and by having experts and those knowledgeable in the field vouch for the plaintiff, a case based on this line of reasoning has a good chance of being successful in court.

The last type of product liability lawsuits that are filed are based on the company's failure to notify the consumer of the potential danger that some actions may cause when the product is involved. Customers frequently see warning signs on items in the store and chuckle over the obvious nature of the warning. These cautions, however, are usually there in order to protect the company from being liable after a negligent use of the item. For example, many appliances have labels advising that a person not use the item while in the bathtub or shower. This may seem laughable, but by expressing this concern in writing, the manufacturer is ensuring that they are not liable if someone disregards the instruction and is injured as a result. And since the courts tend to favor the consumer, making sure that every eventuality is covered is extremely important if a corporation wishes to avoid a lawsuit in the future.

Many times, the press covers product liability lawsuits that seem ridiculous to the watching public. People who choose to file their grievances in a court of law in order to get money from a corporation are sometimes ridiculed, and the injuries are blamed on consumer ignorance. Regardless of the negative attention that these suits often get, however, the fact remains that they can be an invaluable help to the consumer. They hold companies accountable for the goods they produce and market to the public, and these suits help prevent ill-intentioned corporations from profiting because there should be no gain when individuals seek to defraud the public and ultimately endanger others' lives. Accountability is important not only for individuals but for business owners as well, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The threat of product liability lawsuits has caused many companies to increase the quality control of their manufactured goods, resulting in items that have been tested more strenuously and are safer. Therefore, consumers can buy items without worrying about a potential threat to their and their families' safety.

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