Physicians use many medical devices for treating sick or injured patients. If those devices are not properly made, due to defective design or negligence in the manufacturing process, the device can inflict serious injury on the patient.
Patients who suffer injury from treatment with a defective medical device have the right to sue the manufacturer or, in some cases, the prescribing physician, for monetary damages caused by the defective device. If the physician knew of the defect before prescribing the device and did not inform you of the risks, the physician may also be held liable for damages.
The basic liability scheme: strict liability
In most cases involving a design or manufacturing defect, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was somehow negligent in the design or manufacturing of the device. In cases involving medical devices, the courts have eliminated the requirement of proving negligence. Instead, the plaintiff must prove only that the device was defective in design or manufacture and that the device caused injury to the plaintiff. This rule is known as “strict liability.”
The necessity for expert testimony
Despite the apparent simplicity of the strict liability rule, proving the existence of a defect can be especially difficult. For this reason, attorneys who represent plaintiffs often retain experts to offer testimony on the nature of the device and the illness or injury that it is intended to cure. Defendants will likewise call experts to defend the device in question.
In most cases involving a device or medication that is found by the jury to be defective, the plaintiff can recover lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other related costs and expenses.