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Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by Defective Medical Equipment

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2016 | Personal Injury

By Pendergast Law on August 4, 2016

Medical devices can improve or save lives. However, sometimes these devices fail, are misused, or are defective. Knowing your patient rights and responsibilities can help you find a personal injury lawyer who can aid you in recovering losses from defective medical devices.

Types of Defective Medical Devices

Many medical devices can cause injuries. Some medical devices that can have defects are breast implants, eye implants, transvaginal meshes, pacemakers, stents, and artificial joints such as hip replacements. Of these devices, metal-on-metal hip replacements have the most failure rates. The failure rates are two to three times higher than hip replacements with other materials. Complications with metal-to-metal hip replacements are bone fractures and dislocations, causing consequences such as inability to walk. Surgeries to correct problems occur frequently. Other complications of metal-to-metal hip replacements are tiny metal fragments from the metal rubbing together being released into the blood. This damages tissues around the joint and causing pain.


The responsibilities for liability are two-fold with defective medical devices. The main considerations for liability are medical defect liability and medical malpractice. Medical design defects and manufacturing defects are manufacturer liabilities. Design defects are defects with the initial creation of a device before the manufacturing. This may be a device that is not fully conceptualized or tested before being sent to manufacturing. A manufacturing defect is a situation where device designs are good, but failure occurs in the manufacturing of the device. This can be either human error or failure of the manufacturing equipment.

Other manufacturer liabilities are failures to give proper instructions about device use and warnings about device misuse. Manufacturers should include clear warning labels and device instructions with their products. Furthermore, manufacturers should not breach express warranties. Express warranties are where products do not conform to manufacturer or seller advertisements, package labeling, or written materials packaged with products. Manufacturers are not always at fault in defective medical injury cases, other health care providers can be liable for medical device defects. Surgeons, health care providers such as nurses, medical technicians, and hospitals can be at fault for injuries. Using medical devices improperly, giving patients the wrong devices, and failing to instruct patients on proper device use or care can lead to injuries.

Whatever the causes of medical device injuries, it is essential to contact a lawyer who understands medical device injury law and your state’s statute of limitations so you do not miss opportunities to recover damages. In Washington State the statute of limitations is three years and finding a lawyer who can help you before that time is necessary.

A car accident lawyer can assist with any questions you may have.