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Product Liability Claims – Medical Devices


Every day medical professionals employ the use of medical devices to treat patients in some way. From defibrillators to to arterial stents, it is not uncommon for these devices to suffer failure and cause injuries. When this happens, it is very possible that these injuries can lead to product liability claims.

What is a “medical device” in this sense? Virtually any device used by medical professionals in the treatment of illness, injury or disability. In recent years, medical devices causing injury have come to the forefront with personal injury class action lawsuits being filed against manufacturers of the following medical devices:

  • Defibrillators (electronic devices implanted in a patient's heart that send electric signals to maintain normal heart rhythm)
  • Implants (devices implanted into the body of a patient to restore functionality like hip movement)
  • Stents (devices inserted into the body's arteries to promote bloodflow and prevent blockage).
  • Contraceptive Devices

Like standard defective product claims, medical device defective product claims fall into three distinct legal categories:

  • Defectively manufactured medical devices
  • Medical devices with a defective in product design, or
  • Defectively marketed or promoted devices

Defectively Manufactured Medical Devices: Devices that were manufactured improperly and whose makeup diverged from the manufacturer's design in some way so as to make the device dangerous. The error may have occurred at the manufacturing facility, during shipping or while at the hospital or medical facility. In this case, the medical device in question would differ considerably from others of its make and model that are in circulation.

Medical Devices with a Defect in Product Design: These devices possess a defect inherent in their own design. In this case, the defect is representative of virtually all of the devices of its make and model in circulation. At times, these defects do not manifest until after a time on the market. The product may break down in some way and cause serious injury. It is possible that in these cases the victim may claim the manufacturer was aware of the flaw and if that can be proven, they may be eligible to receive punitive damages (see our post on punitive damages in personal injury cases).

Defectively Marketed Medical Devices: Marketing a medical device in this case includes warnings (or the lack thereof), instructions and recommendations about the use of the medical device in question.

Liability in this category may stem from a failure to provide appropriate or accurate warning regarding the inherent danger the medical devices poses or failure to provide instructions regarding is safe use.

The liability may fall on the part of the manufacturer, a doctor or other medical provider or even a sales representative. The instruction may have been provided to the doctor by the sales rep or the instructions or professionally derived promotional content may have been directed to the medical professional, which means it is very important to identify the correct defendant(s) when filing a defective products claim based on this category (see our post on who to sue in medical device defective products cases.

If you have questions about filing a medical device defective products case, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Panio Law Offices in Chicago. We offer a wealth of experience in defective products cases and work assiduously to recover the highest awards for our clients. Call us at 888.799.7561. We will work hard for you.

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