Medical devices are engineering miracles when they work. When they don’t, this malfunctioning piece of metal, plastic, or ceramic can make your life miserable. They can limit your mobility, inflict chronic pain, and possibly end your life prematurely. You trusted your doctor and the device manufact0urer to improve your life. You learned too late your trust was misplaced.

If a defective medical device harms you, you may have a legal right to compensation for your injuries and future medical treatment that should put you back on the right track. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., personal injury attorneys can protect your interests and fight for what you deserve.

What Medical Devices Could be Defective?

Practically anything artificial implanted into you could potentially be defective and cause injuries. Though they may be designed and manufactured with the best intentions, the reality may be they don’t work and could cause a problem worse than what you were trying to address.

Some medical devices that are the subject of lawsuits include:

  • Hip replacements: As the population ages, more of us have arthritis and other serious joint problems. One way to address the issue is with an artificial hip replacement. They may be made of ceramic or metal. Both types have caused some patients serious problems, including shedding metal particles into the body. When they’re implanted, bone is lost. If a hip replacement’s defective, it may be difficult to replace
  • Heart stents: A stent is a small metal or plastic tube inserted into an artery or blood vessel to open it after it becomes too narrow because of atherosclerosis (a plaque build-up that restricts blood flow). They’re usually put in a heart artery after a procedure to prevent it from closing up again. Using these stents carries a risk of blood clots which may cause a heart attack or stroke
  • Transvaginal mesh: This is a surgical patch made of artificial material or animal tissue implanted on a woman’s vaginal wall. It’s supposed to treat pelvic organ prolapse and resulting incontinence. The mesh can become embedded into tissue and perforate nearby organs, causing severe pain
  • Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps: These are electronic pumps outside the body that inject insulin into people with diabetes based on their needs at the time. Defective models can inject too much or not enough insulin, causing severe health problems
  • Guidant defibrillators: These pacemakers treat those with abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmia. They deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm. Some of these devices have failed when the user suffers an arrhythmia
  • Da Vinci surgical robot: This isn’t an implant but a machine meant to make surgery less invasive and help surgeons reach difficult to reach areas of the body. Those operated upon with these devices can suffer electrical burns, pierced organs, and infections

Many more devices used today could prove to be far more dangerous than expected.

What Types of Damages Could I Recover?

Damages put a dollar value on the harm you suffer. You could recover the following damages:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental pain, distress, or emotional trauma
  • Your spouse could file a claim for loss of consortium for the loss of your companionship, help, and services.
  • Loss of past income and benefits if you missed work
  • If you suffer a permanent limitation that reduces your earning capacity, you may be awarded the difference between what you’re expected to earn with your limitation and what you should’ve earned if you weren’t injured. You could also obtain damages because of your lost physical capacity
  • Past and expected future costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation services, psychological and emotional counseling
  • Punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant in an extreme case of negligence or intentional acts

What damages you receive and how much depends on the facts of your case.

How Do I Prove My Case?

These cases often use the negligence legal theory. The defendant (the party sued) could be the doctor involved, the hospital where the surgery occurred, and the device manufacturer. You would need to prove these parties owed you a legal duty of reasonable care given the circumstances, they failed in that duty, you were injured, and the defendant should compensate you.

If a doctor’s the defendant, much of this depends on their knowledge and skill level used in your operation. Your doctor may have chosen a device without knowing enough about it, picked it despite being aware of high risks or a defect, or the manufacturer may have hidden its problems from physicians. The device may have injured you because the surgeon implanted it improperly.

You may sue a device manufacturer using a product or strict liability standard. You would need to prove the device is unreasonably dangerous even when used as intended. Possible defects include

  • Design: The way it’s engineered is insufficient and has a high risk of failure. No matter how well it’s constructed, the wrong design makes it dangerous
  • Manufacturing: The device may be well designed, but it’s so poorly manufactured there’s a good chance something will go wrong
  • Instructions or warnings: You may not be safe because the instructions to you or your doctor are unclear, they are incorrect, there are no warnings, or the warning isn’t specific enough to put you or your doctor on notice of the problem so you can’t properly decide to use it or not

Depending on the device, it could have one or all of these defects, and the manufacturer could be negligent too. It all depends on the evidence found during the case.

Should I Hire a Medical Device Injury Lawyer?

If you have severe injuries, you may have a high amount of damages. With so much at stake, you should retain a Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., medical device attorney. There are many personal injury attorneys, but relatively few have experience with these cases.

They have highly complex issues, factually and legally. Medical and engineering experts may be needed for their opinions. The defendant and their insurance company might also try to make your case very difficult because they have a lot at stake too. You don’t want a lawyer who will learn while working on your medical device case.

If you need a Houston medical device injury lawyer with years of experience with the regional court system, call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. As an experienced medical device injury law firm in Texas, we have helped many people win settlements and judgments for their injuries. Contact our legal team at (713) 364-0723 today to schedule a free consultation so we can talk about your injuries, how Texas law works, and what you should do to protect your legal rights.