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How Can You Prove a Medical Products Liability Claim?

medical claim

While most medical errors do not result in life-threatening situations for the patient, a defective medical product can cause long-lasting problems. Medical devices go through rigorous testing to ensure they are safe for use on patients. Even so, defective products still make it to the market.

If you have suffered an injury because of a defective medical device, you may have a legal case. However, proving a medical device caused your injury will require the assistance of a skilled lawyer.

Manufacturers of medical products have a duty to ensure the safety of the devices they make and sell. They cannot produce anything that unreasonably increases the risk of injury, illness, or death to patients.

To prove a defective medical product caused your injuries, you will need to establish how that device was defective. You can do that through several legal avenues.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is defective from the factory. This is not a systemic defect with every product, instead, it is a defect that occurs to one or more products. For example, a scalpel that contains a hairline crack in it that could cause it to break when used could be a clear indication of a manufacturing defect.

Design Defect

A design defect is more systemic than a manufacturing defect. Design defects occur when the design of the product makes the device unsafe to use. This is more difficult to prove because you will need to show that the design of the product itself made it a danger. If a doctor lost their grip on the scalpel and cut into another part of a patient’s  body, that would not alone be evidence of a design defect. If, however, the doctor lost the grip of the scalpel because the handle was too slippery, that could be a design defect.

Failure to Warn

A failure to warn defect occurs when a product is not obviously dangerous, but the manufacturer fails to warn users of potential hazards. A scalpel that has a slick handle, for example, should have warning stickers on the handle indicating that a user must take extra care to grip the scalpel to ensure it does not slip. Even if a manufacturer provides a warning, it does not mean you have no cause of action for failure to warn. Sometimes, a manufacturer does not sufficiently describe the potential hazards. This could give you a possible recovery under failure to warn.

Elements of a Medical Products Liability Claim

Like any legal cause of action, you will need to prove that someone else caused your injuries. You may know for certain that a defective medical product has caused your pain and suffering, but you need to be able to prove that to a certain legal standard.

The Product Was Used as Intended

The first element in a medical products liability claim is to show that the device was used as intended. For example, if a medical device was used for something other than what it was intended, you might not have a claim against the product manufacturer. However, you might have a claim against the medical professional who did not use the device as intended.

The Product Was Defective

Once you show the medical device was used as intended, you need to prove that it was defective. Using the options above, you will need to show that the medical device was manufactured defectively, designed defectively, or the manufacturer failed to warn of potential hazards.

You Suffered Injuries

To have a valid claim, you must have suffered injuries and damages. This will be the simplest element to prove. Using your medical records, medical bills, and your own testimony, your lawyer can describe the injuries you have suffered and the negative affect it has had on your life.

The Defective Product Caused Your Injuries

You need to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the defective product. This step might seem obvious to you, but it may require expert medical testimony to show that the device was the direct cause of your injuries.

Evidence Used in a Medical Products Liability Claim

To prove the elements above, you will need evidence. You cannot simply make a claim without providing concrete evidence to support your allegations. Partnering with an experienced lawyer can help you collect the evidence necessary while you focus on getting better.

Defective Product

You need to produce the defective product. If a product was defectively designed, then you may be able to submit any product, although you would have to show that all of the products have the same defect. It is best to locate the exact medical device that caused your injuries, which will allow experts to review the device and make a determination.

Expert Testimony

Medical experts may be required to testify as to the level of defect in the medical product. Having medical experts review the exact device that caused your injuries can help your claim because the experts can review and examine the defective medical product. They can then report their findings to the court, giving you substantial and credible evidence that you have a valid claim against the product manufacturer.

Your Injuries

Your injuries will be evidence of the medical products liability claim. Your doctor or other medical professional may testify that your injuries could not have been caused by any other means besides the defective product. You will also want to submit evidence of your medical records to show how the injuries have affected your life and how long it has taken you to recover.

Medical Bills

You will want to submit all of your medical bills as evidence of your injuries. Your medical bills will show how much money you had to spend to recover from the injuries caused by the defective product. Keeping these bills will help increase the value of your claim.

Help From a Lawyer

The point of gathering all of this evidence and compiling your medical history is to give you the best chance at collecting compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer may try to help you get compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

If the product manufacturer acted in a egregious manner, you may be able to collect punitive damages as well. These damages are awarded in only the most extreme cases but can significantly increase the amount of compensation you can receive. While money will not take away your injuries, it will ensure that you do not bear any financial burden to get better.

Philadelphia Defective Medical Device Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Can Help You Prove Your Claim

Proving a defective medical product caused your injuries will require the experience of a trusted legal advisor. To learn how you can take the next steps, speak with one of our Philadelphia defective medical device lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler today. Call us at 215-569-4000 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.