Who is liable for a defective medical device?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2023 | Personal Injury

Patients trust medical devices, expecting them to improve their health or quality of life. Medical technology is usually beneficial, but if patients receive a defective device, their health and well-being may be at risk. However, proving why the device did not work can be complicated, making it hard to determine who is accountable for the patient’s injuries.

Steps to take after receiving a defective product

If there are signs that the medical device is not performing correctly, it is best to proceed cautiously. Before continuing to use the product, patients should consult with their doctor to address any concerns and confirm how to use the device properly.

Basics of a product liability claim

When a defective product causes injury, the customer may be able to file a product liability claim. If the court determines that any of the following three defects exist, the supplier or manufacturer may be held liable:

  • Design defect: There were no errors in manufacturing, but the design of the device itself is dangerous
  • Manufacturing defect: The defect was already present before the device was given to the patient and may be a result of a manufacturing, delivery, or shipping error
  • Marketing defect: The manufacturer did not provide sufficient warnings or proper instruction regarding the use of the medical device

If the patient can prove the product was defective, the court may order whoever is liable to pay for the patient’s injuries, lost income, and medical bills.

Possible defendants in a defective medical device case

The complainant must consider the entire chain of distribution, or the path traveled by the product and all entities involved as the product made its way from the manufacturer to the consumer.

The manufacturer, distributor, or supplier is often held accountable for the release of a faulty product. The doctor, hospital, or clinic that suggested the device may potentially be legally liable. If the gadget was acquired from a pharmacy or another retail provider, they may be accountable as well.

The healthcare provider and the manufacturer are responsible for informing the patient how to use a medical device and warning them of any potential risks. Since the effects of a medical device injury on the patient can be devastating, it is only fair that they receive compensation for their suffering.

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