What is a Product Liability Claim?A product liability claim is when a manufacturer or seller of a product is held accountable for a defect in the product that causes an injury. It is their responsibility to ensure all products that reach the marketplace are manufactured, designed, and labeled safely and cannot cause harm to consumers. The following are the three types of product defects that can serve as the basis for a product liability claim:
- Design defects: This is when the product has an unsafe design that can cause harm when used by a consumer.
- Manufacturing defects: The manufacturer did not safely create the product, and the manufacturing errors can cause harm to consumers.
- Failure to warn: There is no warning label or proper warning for the dangers a product may cause to consumers. For example, a manufacturer can be liable for failure to warn if they do not put a warning label on medicine that can cause severe side effects.
Suffering a Hip and Knee Injury in a Personal Injury AccidentHip and knee injuries result from direct trauma that impacts the joints. This trauma typically results from a high-impact event like a car, motorcycle, or slip and fall accident. Many components comprise the knee, such as the bones, ligaments, meniscus, cartilage, and tendons. Direct trauma to the knee joint can lead to a tear, fracture, or dislocations. Common symptoms for knee injuries include problem bearing weight, an inability to stretch the knee, and a clicking sound when moved. The hip is a ball and socket joint. Hip injuries result from trauma that causes the ball to loosen from the socket. The hip is one of the largest joints in the body and bears the weight of the whole body. Any blow or impact to the knee can cause intense pain, instability, and decreased range of motion.
What Personal Injury Accidents Can Cause a Hip or Knee Injury?Personal injury accidents ordinarily cause a traumatic blow to the hip or knee. These unpredictable, high-impact calamities can result in immense pressure on the hip and knee that can cause injuries. The following are some of the personal injury accidents that can cause a hip or knee injury:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bicycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Slip and fall accident
Hip and Knee Implant RecallsIn the past couple of years, many manufacturers of hip and knee orthopedic devices have had to recall their products for numerous design defects that have caused harm. These implants have had poor designs that caused loosening, early wear, and improper fits. The following are some of the manufacturers who have had to recall knee and hip orthopedic devices:
Exactech Hip and Knee Implant RecallsExactech knee and hip device recalls have centered around using polyethylene in their products. Polyethylene is a common plastic used in packaging, such as plastic bags, film, and bottles. The use of polyethylene in the liners and inserts of Exactech knee and hip devices has led to the premature wear of the implants. When exposed to oxygen, polyethylene can oxidize and degrade as a result. Exactech revealed they did not keep these liners and inserts in vacuum-sealed bags during storage to prevent oxidization. These products, which should serve as a cushion between bones, did not have the durability to serve its function. These degraded components can cause bone loss, the disintegration of bone cells, and loss of range of mobility.
Smith & Nephew Recalled Hip Replacement ProductsSmith & Nephew recalls for hip and knee implants occurred because they failed to warn consumers of the dangers inherent in the design of their products. They use a metal-on-metal design for their product, which can lead to metal pieces breaking off the implant and cause metallosis. The following are some of the recalled Smith & Nephew defective hip replacement products:
- SMF Modular Stems
- Redapt Modular Stem
- BHR Total Hip (not Resurfacing)
Stryker Hip and Knee Orthopedic Device RecallsMuch like Smith & Nephew recalls, Stryker recalls centered on the metal-on-metal design of their implant products. The metal components can rub against each other and leave metal shavings behind that can cause metallosis. These effective Stryker implants have caused severe pain in the replaced joint, skin irritation, limited mobility, cognitive difficulties, and blood toxicity. Injuries and harm caused by recalled implants can serve as the basis for a product liability lawsuit. If you use any recalled product from one of these companies, contact an experienced product liability attorney to learn your options for pursuing compensation.
Infection Caused by a Defective Hip or Knee ImplantAn infection is when a bacteria, virus, or fungi enters the body and causes harm. These harmful microorganisms colonize in the body, leading to reproduction. A person suffering from an infection can experience intense pain, swelling, heat, and a rash at the site of infection. A defective hip or knee implant can result in a bacterial infection from bacteria that can grow in and around the surface of the prosthetic part. Because prosthetic parts consist of metal and plastic, it can be challenging for the immune system to attack and eliminate the bacteria. An infection caused by a defective hip or knee replacement can cause intense pain in the already injured body part. Depending on the severity of the infection, it may require revision surgery to heal.
A Defective Hip or Knee Implant Can Cause Joint DislocationA joint dislocation occurs when two bones separate where they should meet at a joint. They can also occur when the ball of the joint comes out of its socket. A joint dislocation leads to severe pain, tingling at the joint, and limited ability to move. Although direct trauma can lead to dislocation, it can also occur because of a faulty knee or hip replacement. It can happen if the prosthetic is not manufactured to be large enough to fit the joint. A manufacturing or design defect can cause constant joint dislocation for which you could pursue compensation.
Metallosis Caused by Faulty Metal-on-Metal Hip and Knee ImplantsMetallosis is a blood poisoning condition caused by toxic metals infecting the blood. It is a common condition caused by defective metal-on-metal hip replacements. The metal parts of these implants rub against each other and release metal particles into the bloodstream and surrounding tissues. Metallosis can cause severe health complications, such as destroyed nerves, hearing or vision loss, organ failure, and cancer.
Periprosthetic Osteolysis Caused by Joint Replacement SurgeryThe bone tissue can degenerate and become weaker through a progressive condition known as osteolysis. The process breaks down surrounding minerals, most of the time calcium, and leads to pain, weakness, and stiffness. There are three types of osteolysis: distal clavicular, acro-osteolysis, and periprosthetic. Periprosthetic osteolysis occurs after joint replacement surgery if polyethylene or other minerals in the implant break down. This can cause debris to accumulate in the joint tissue and lead to inflammation and bone degradation. Osteolysis is typically accompanied by a loosening of the joint implant, as the materials that cushion the bones in the joint break down. A manufacturer can share liability for osteolysis if they house polyethylene in a sub-optimal way that allows the material to oxidize and break down.
How Can a Lawyer Help With a Product Liability Claim?A product liability claims process can be fraught with complexities and difficult for a person without a legal background to handle. A manufacturer or seller or their will often have immense resources, a top-shelf lawyer, and a powerful insurance company to combat your claim. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you through the process to ensure your side of the story is heard. They can assist you in many ways to put you on the path to receiving a fair settlement or award. The following are some of the ways a product liability attorney can help you with your medical malpractice claim:
- Prove liability: To recover compensation for a product liability claim, your product liability lawyer will have to prove you were injured or suffered losses, the implant is defective and caused your injuries, and you used the product as intended. They can prove this by providing evidence, such as medical records, manufacturing documents, and expert witness statements.
- Negotiate the settlement: Your product liability lawyer can help negotiate the settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company. They may employ bad faith tactics to limit your settlement and keep their profits up that your attorney can help combat. Through clever maneuvering of the negotiation, they can help you work toward receiving a fair settlement.
- Represent you in court: If you and the insurance company cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to court. Your product liability lawyer can represent you in court by creating a curt plan, delivering powerful opening and closing statements, and proving to the jury the at-fault party is liable for the defective hip or knee implant.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Defective Knee or Hip Device LawsuitFollowing a hip or knee injury, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether the implant meant to restore your life to normal could cause even further injury. A product liability attorney can help you assess the damage done by a faulty joint replacement implant and determine the best path to holding the manufacturer or seller accountable for their negligence. The experienced product liability lawyers at Dolman Law Group can help you pursue compensation for damages caused by a defective hip or knee implant. We will work to uncover evidence proving the negligence of a manufacturer or seller so you can seek damages for the negligence they caused. Contact Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation to see how we can help you pursue compensation through a product liability claim. Call us at (727) 451-6900 or leave us a message on our contact page.