More and more Americans are getting hip replacements, hoping to improve their quality of life as they age. Unfortunately, for those who receive defective, metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants, hip replacement surgery turns into a nightmare, forcing them to contend with chronic pain and the prospect of expensive and painful revision surgery. This has been the fate of many patients who received hip replacement devices and components manufactured by Zimmer Holdings, Inc.
Contact the Zimmer Hip Replacement Lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman for a no-cost evaluation of the strength of your potential claim against the manufacturer of your defective hip replacement device, or any other party legally-liable for the harm you have suffered. We represent clients nationwide in legal actions seeking money damages for the disruption and pain inflicted by harmful, defective medical devices.
The Problems You Thought Your Zimmer Hip Replacement Would Solve
Increasing numbers of Americans are suffering from hip pain. Common causes of hip pain include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, osteonecrosis, and childhood hip disease. In a hip replacement surgery, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic components, normally made of metal, ceramic, or plastic.
Around seven million Americans have artificial knees or hips, and about one million hip and knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the United States. Experts predict those numbers will increase over the next decade as Baby Boomers reach the age where hip replacement surgery becomes attractive or necessary. Patients are also increasingly used to a high quality of life, making individuals more likely to seek out treatment rather than suffering in pain.
Zimmer Hip Replacement Recalls and Litigation
A replacement hip joint device consists of an artificial femoral head that fits inside the acetabulum, the concave area in the pelvis. In hip replacement surgery, the acetabulum is often lined with a cup. Zimmer Holdings, Inc. manufactures components that line the acetabular cup and components that create a new femoral head.
Zimmer MoM devices came to market after securing FDA 501(K) clearance based on their similarity to existing medical devices on the market. This clearance does not require any dedicated human testing. But securing FDA clearance does not relieve a manufacturer of their responsibility to test, design, and manufacture a product that is safe for patients.
Durom Cup Recall and Lawsuits
In July 2008, Zimmer suspended sales of its Durom Cup product due to a high rate of reported failures. Zimmer blamed the failure rate on surgeons, updated the surgical instructions, and re-released the product. Many medical experts, however, still believe the problem is the product itself. The products continue to fail early, often making revision surgery necessary. The product was recalled in 2010.
Zimmer faced more than 700 lawsuits related to the Durom Cup product, most of which were settled in March 2016 for $314 million. Many plaintiffs were unhappy with the settlement offer and chose not to take part. As of July 2019, there were still 41 lawsuits pending against Zimmer over the Durom Cup.
Versys Femoral Head Lawsuits
More recently, patients who received Zimmer’s M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Zimmer’s Versys Femoral Head have filed cases against Zimmer. Patients alleged that wear corrosion between the components released metal ions into the blood resulting in metallosis and other complications.
The M/L Taper and Versys lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in October 2018. More than 113 lawsuits were pending in July 2019.
Understanding the Risks of Zimmer MoM Hip Replacement Devices
When MoM designs were first introduced, manufacturers believed that they would promote stability in hip joints and would last longer than comparable non-metal products. But after numerous patients have suffered pain and early failure of their device it has become clear that the benefits of MoM devices are outweighed by the increased risks. These patients have suffered because the manufacturers failed to properly test their devices before releasing them into the market, as was the case with the Zimmer devices that only received 501(K) clearance.
All patients run some risks in receiving a hip implant. Infection, device degradation, bone loss, and orthopedic injuries are all possible. However, MoM devices come with additional risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the sale of medical devices in the United States. Research by the FDA has confirmed that some recipients of MoM devices suffer severe reactions when the devices release metal particles into patients’ bodies. This negative reaction is called metallosis.
MoM devices feature a metal ball and metal cup, approximating the ball of the femur and the hip socket. When those two components rub against each other, the friction can grind off and release metal fragments, which can damage the surrounding tissues. Other components of the device can also create and release these metal particles. If you have experienced a negative reaction, report it to the FDA through its MedWatch website.
Not all patients suffer negative reactions to metal particles that wear away from MoM replacement hip joints, but many do, especially those in certain high-risk categories. Every patient with an MoM device should stay informed about and alert to the warning signs of a potentially dangerous reaction.
Symptoms of a Negative Reaction to a Zimmer MoM Implant
The metal particles released by an MoM device can damage the area surrounding the implant. Some patients may experience loosening or persistent problems with their Zimmer MoM hardware that require revision surgery to remove and replace the device. Revision surgery typically takes more time than the original hip replacement surgery and requires a longer recovery period.
Patients who have received a Zimmer MoM or other model hip implant should watch for:
- Leg, groin, or hip pain in the area of the implant;
- Swelling in the area of the implant;
- Skin rash;
- Noises from the hip joint such as popping or clicking;
- Weakening or enlargement of the heart muscle;
- Impact on the patient’s mobility;
- Neurological changes;
- Hearing or vision impairment;
- Depression or cognitive impairment;
- Impaired kidney function; and
- Thyroid dysfunction.
These symptoms can indicate the potentially life-threatening reaction of metallosis, or blood poisoning caused by the metal particles worn off of a Zimmer MoM device. If you experience any of these symptoms after having received a Zimmer MoM hip device, or any other Zimmer hip replacement hardware, then contact your doctor immediately.
One fact to pay attention to is whether Zimmer or another party has recalled your implant or any of its components parts. A recall effectively constitutes a determination on the part of the manufacturer and/or a safety regulator that the device implanted in your body poses a potential danger to your health.
Even if the device implanted in your body has not been recalled, however, paying attention to potential symptoms can still protect your health and long-term wellbeing. Err on the side of caution: if one of the tell-tale symptoms above emerges after you have received a Zimmer hip replacement, contact your doctor right away.
Dealing With a Defective Zimmer Hip Replacement Device
After alerting your doctor to potential complications from a Zimmer implant, consider reaching out to an experienced hip replacement injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman.
If the manufacturer or another party involved in making, shipping, choosing, or implanting the device in your body failed to take the necessary steps to protect your health and safety, then you may have the right to seek significant financial compensation through legal action.
A skilled lawyer can analyze the available evidence to determine the strength of your potential claim, and can advise you on the appropriate path forward for your particular circumstances.
Your legal options may include:
- Filing suit against Zimmer or another party seeking damages for the harm done to you by the defective hip device.
- Filing or joining a class action litigation against Zimmer or another party responsible for your defective implant. A class action is a type of lawsuit in which multiple injured parties join together to sue as a group for common types of injuries they all share.
- Filing insurance claims, including claims under a workers’ compensation or long-term disability insurance policy, seeking insurance coverage for medical and disability-related costs associated with your defective Zimmer hip implant.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we have years of experience guiding recipients of defective medical devices through the various options for seeking compensation for the harm done to them. Our team develops individualized legal strategies tailored to the unique medical and financial needs of each of our clients.
Potential Compensation for Your Zimmer Hip Replacement Injuries
As the victim of a defective medical device, you may have the legal right to seek a wide range of compensation for your injuries and losses.
Every case we handle for a defective hip replacement implant victim at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman has unique aspects, and the types and amounts of damages you may seek can depend on when and where you received your implant.
However, as a general proposition, a legal action for damages arising from harm you suffered because of a defective Zimmer hip device may seek payment for:
- Medical costs associated with treating the injuries and health complications you have suffered, including those related to paying for revision surgery and rehabilitation, as well as for managing any resulting chronic pain;
- Non-medical costs you incur as a result of having a defective Zimmer hip device implanted in your body. These can vary, but may include expenses tied to modifying your home to accommodate your limited mobility because of a defective hip implant, or the cost of hiring help with day-to-day chores you cannot perform because of your injuries.
- Lost income that your lawyer can prove you would have earned in the past or future were it not for you having received a defective Zimmer hip implant, such as wages you failed to earn because the hip replacement injury forced you into early retirement.
- Pain and suffering your defective Zimmer hip replacement device has forced you to endure, including the chronic physical discomfort caused by your defective implant, as well as the emotional trauma of worrying about long-term toxic effects of the MoM hip hardware in your body.
- Punitive damages, which courts sometimes award when the party at-fault for the harm done to you by your defective Zimmer replacement hip implant engaged in especially outrageous or reckless conduct.
We cannot guarantee that our clients who have received defective hip implants manufactured by Zimmer will receive compensation by taking legal action. We can promise, however, that our team possesses the skill, experience, and resources to pursue every avenue of potential compensation for clients afflicted with injuries by a defective Zimmer device.
Experienced Attorneys for Defective Zimmer Hip Replacement Victims
No one receives a hip replacement thinking their life will get worse. Sadly, that can happen, particularly if a doctor implants a defective Zimmer hip device in your body. The complications you suffer from that device may impact your long term health, your mobility, your finances, and your ability to enjoy your life.
You do not deserve to suffer because of the failures of Zimmer and others to protect you from harm. Instead, you deserve full and fair compensation for the pain you have suffered, and may continue to suffer, because of their wrongdoing. However, your rights to compensation come with an expiration date. You must act quickly to protect yourself.
The experienced, skilled defective medical device lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have the know-how and resources to help Zimmer hip implant victims like you. Through litigation and negotiation, we fight to make sure our clients receive maximum compensation to help them regain their health, mobility, and wellbeing.
An initial consultation with a member of our award-winning team of attorneys is always free of charge and comes with no obligation to you. Contact us online today or at 833-552-7274 to learn about your potential legal rights to significant compensation after receiving a defective Zimmer hip replacement device.
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