For years, manufacturers have produced innovative medical devices aimed at treating diseases and medical conditions. These devices are designed to improve patients’ quality of life. As consumers and patients, we should be able to trust these devices. Medical devices are required to meet high safety standards as regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Unfortunately, many patients have discovered that the devices they thought would improve their lives have instead caused serious injuries and debilitating medical conditions. When someone is injured by a medical device, they may be able to hold responsible those parties who designed, manufactured, and sold the defective device.

At Ward Black Law, our defective medical device lawyers understand how being injured by a medical device or implant can turn your life upside down. You may also come to discover that holding medical device manufacturers and other parties accountable for the harm you’ve suffered is an incredibly complex process. 

We can make the process simple by serving as your advocates, fighting for your rights and interests after you’ve been harmed by a defective medical device. Our attorneys strive to provide you with honest, compassionate, effective client service and legal representation. 

Don’t wait another day to begin pursuing financial recovery for the harm you’ve suffered. Contact our firm for a free, confidential, no-obligation initial case review. We’ll discuss how our firm can help you pursue maximum compensation for all the losses you’ve suffered.

Common Types of Defective Medical Devices

A defective medical device includes any type of medical equipment or surgical implant that is defectively designed or assembled, or that has risks of complications not adequately disclosed, or that is otherwise unreasonably dangerous for its intended uses. 

Despite the requirement that medical devices undergo thorough safety and efficacy testing to ensure that the benefits of these devices outweigh the risk of their use, medical device manufacturers have put numerous defective medical devices on the market over the years. Examples include devices in categories such as:

  • Hip, knee, and other orthopedic implants
  • Prosthetics
  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Breast implants 
  • Contact lenses
  • Hernia mesh implants
  • Transvaginal meshes
  • Contraceptive devices, such as IUDs and subdermal implants
  • Pacemakers and implanted defibrillators
  • Cardiac stents
  • Artificial heart valves
  • IVC blood clot filters
  • Insulin pumps
  • Pain or sedation medication pumps
  • Dialysis machines
  • Wheelchairs
  • Robotic surgical equipment

Injuries Caused by Defective Medical Devices

Examples of injuries that can be caused by defective or dangerous medical devices and implants include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Incontinence issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Hernias
  • Bone or tissue damage
  • Organ damage 
  • Limb damage or loss
  • Internal bleeding
  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Burns, including heat burns and chemical burns
  • Electrocution injuries
  • Sepsis
  • Physical disabilities, including loss of mobility or paralysis
  • Cancer
  • Death

Compensation for a Defective Medical Device

If you’ve suffered injuries or medical complications from a defective medical device or implant, you may be entitled to compensation. Financial recovery in a defective medical device claim can include:

  • Medical treatment expenses, including surgeries and other medical procedures to remove defective devices or implants or repair damage, hospital stays, doctors’ office visits, prescription medications, and medical equipment like crutches or wheelchairs
  • Rehabilitation expenses, including physical and occupational therapy and home health services
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses, including transportation and lodging expenses for medical or rehab appointments and procedures, or home maintenance services if you cannot perform those tasks yourself due to your injuries
  • Lost income, if you are forced to miss work due to injuries or harm from a defective medical device
  • Lost earning capacity, if a device causes you to suffer disabilities that interfere with your ability to earn a living
  • Pain and suffering, including both the physical and emotional/mental anguish due to injuries suffered from a defective device or implant
  • Loss of enjoyment or quality of life, including humiliation and embarrassment from scarring or disfigurement, the inability to perform daily tasks or participate in activities due to injuries and disabilities, or reduced life expectancy from injuries or other medical conditions
  • Loss of consortium, compensation to your spouse for the loss of your companionship, society, or intimate relations

Defective Medical Device Claims

In North Carolina, defective medical device claims are considered a type of product liability claim. North Carolina product liability law recognizes three basic types of product liability claims:

  • Design defect – A design defect means that the intended specifications of a medical device render the product unsafe for its intended uses. For example, if a medical implant is designed in such a way that it poses an unreasonable risk of perforating an internal organ. Design defects affect all copies of a product bearing that design.
  • Manufacturing defect – A manufacturing defect claims that some error occurred during the production or assembly of a product that deviates from the intended design specifications and renders the product unsafe. A manufacturing defect may affect only one copy of a product or may affect larger production runs of a product.
  • Failure-to-warn – A failure to warn or failure to instruct arises when a manufacturer or seller of a product fails to provide adequate instructions as to the safe use of a product or adequate warnings of the risks of injury from the intended use of a product. For example, a failure to warn or instruct might arise if you injure yourself with a medical device because you were not provided sufficient instruction as to its proper and safe use.

 

Unlike some other states, which allow an injured patient or user to assert a claim of strict liability in a product liability case (which only requires showing how a product was defective and how that defect caused injury), North Carolina law generally requires injured product users to demonstrate the at-fault party’s negligence in designing, manufacturing, assembling, or providing warnings or instructions for a product. 

This means establishing that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, failed to comply with this duty, and caused you to suffer injury and compensable losses due to this failure. If a liable party committed no breach of duty in designing, manufacturing, or labeling a defective medical device, you might not have a product liability claim under North Carolina law.

A defective medical device or other product liability claim can be asserted against any party in the “chain of commerce” that put the defective device in the ultimate user’s hands. Defective medical device product liability claims could be brought against a manufacturer, a distributor, or a sales facility or retailer (including medical salespersons, medical suppliers, or pharmacies). In certain circumstances, a claim might also be asserted against a physician or hospital or medical facility involved in prescribing, implanting, or using a defective medical device.

You might also be entitled to assert a claim for a defective medical device under a theory of breach of warranty. A warranty refers to any guarantee that a manufacturer or seller of a product makes about the quality, functions, or suitability of a product. A manufacturer or seller may explicitly make a promise about their medical device, known as an express warranty. The law also recognizes certain implied warranties that automatically attach to products. If a medical device fails to live up to these promises, a manufacturer or seller can be held liable for breaching warranties.

Finally, you might also be entitled to recover compensation after being injured by a defective medical device if you can show that a manufacturer or seller of a device provided false or misleading information about the device and that you relied on such information to your detriment. For example, you may have a claim if a medical device manufacturer conceals data about the rate of a specific adverse interaction or side effect with their device, you suffer the same interaction or side effect from the device, and you would not have used the device if you have been provided accurate or complete information.

Contact Our Defective Medical Devices Attorney in Greensboro, NC

If you’ve been injured or suffered harm due to a defective medical device, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burdens of recovery. Contact a Greensboro, NC, defective medical devices attorney at Ward Black Law today for a free and confidential case review to discuss your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation. With our firm, you will never owe any attorney’s fees unless and until we win money for you in your case.