Top 10 Legal Questions about Hip Replacement Failure
What is hip replacement failure?A hip implant has failed when it causes dangerous complications in a person's body. Health problems that occur after a metal-on-metal hip replacement may be signs that the metal implant is shedding debris into the body. People may experience swelling in the surrounding area, hip pain, fatigue, walking difficulty, flexibility problems and hip popping or squeaking. These complications can be debilitating, and they can worsen over time.
Hip implant failure often requires painful revision surgery that leads to even more recovery time. Every revision costs a patient more bone. Eventually there isn't enough bone to attach another implant. People are then left with a disability for the rest of their lives.
I think my hip implant caused complications in my body. How do I know if I have a lawsuit?Some of the factors that will determine whether you have a case include: (1) which hip implant you have, (2) when your metal-on-metal hip was implanted, and (3) the nature and extent of your injuries. Give this information to a hip implant lawyer so he or she can examine the details of your situation and tell you if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact a lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights, as each state limits the amount of time a person can file a lawsuit.
My metal-on-metal hip hasn't been recalled, but I think it injured me. What do I do now?Even if your particular implant has not yet been recalled, you should call a lawyer and discuss your injuries. Lawsuits can still take place without a recall.
What is products liability?Products liability litigation involves defective or unreasonably dangerous items that could potentially kill or injure a person. The manufacturers of these items can be held accountable for design or manufacturing defects that can cause injury. Generally, metal-on-metal hip implants were approved without adequate pre-market testing that wound have otherwise shown dangerous side effects.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after my hip implant injury occurred?Each state limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after your injury occurred. Time limits vary from state to state. Seek counsel immediately, as these time limits can forever bar you from bringing a claim. A lawyer can also help explain how these rules apply to your individual situation.
Which metal-on-metal hip implants have been subjects of litigation?Below are a few of the most current metal-on-metal hip implant makers involved in lawsuits.
o DePuy Orthopaedics (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary)
o Stryker Orthopedics
o Smith and Nephew
What is the difference between class action lawsuits and mass tort?A class action is a type of lawsuit in which a large group of people gets together to bring a claim to court after suffering similar injuries. Class actions allow many people to go up against a company that would normally overwhelm each plaintiff individually. A class representative pursues the litigation on behalf of everyone. Plaintiffs can seek independent action or accept a share of the final settlement or verdict. Multidistrict litigation (MDL) consolidates similar lawsuits in multiple court districts where there are common questions of fact. Each person in an MDL has an individual case in the event of a trial, unlike in a class action. As an example, Biomet lawsuits are part of an MDL that was recently moved to Indiana.
Who is the defendant in a hip replacement failure lawsuit?Most of the time, the defendant in a hip replacement failure lawsuit is the manufacturer of the product. For example, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics are the manufacturers of the ASR and Pinnacle implants, which are currently the subject of many hip replacement failure lawsuits.
How do I choose a hip implant attorney?Find a lawyer who handles cases involving your failed hip implant and look for his or her firm's credentials online. Recent settlements, verdicts, awards and recognition such as Super Lawyers(R) will help validate a firm's work.
What if I live in another state than my attorney's office?An attorney who works outside of your state can still represent you.
Additional resources provided by the author
- “Symptoms of Hip Replacement Failure”
- “Biomet MDL Moved to Indiana”
- “Concerns over ‘Metal on Metal’ Hip Implants” - Barry Meier writes a brief scope of the problems associated with metal hip implants.
- FDA Advisory Committee meeting information about metal-on-metal hip implants
- NBC10 Philadelphia Video: Attorney Thomas Anapol discusses metal-on-metal hips and the 510(k) approval process
- Victim Rights by State - An interactive map that explains states’ statute of limitations