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'Strict liability' for defective medical devices

When we discuss liability in medical injury cases, we often focus on the idea of 'negligence.' There is good reason for this, as most cases when it comes to, say, a bad batch of medicine, or a medical device that is designed improperly, turn on whether there was someone at fault for the injuries that occurred due to the use of the medicine or device. However, this is not always the case.

Readers of this blog may recall that there are basically three types of defects that can occur with a medical device. These are design defects, manufacturing defects and warning defects. For most design and warning defects, whether someone was negligent when planning the device or writing or issuing the warnings may be important. However, for many manufacturing defect cases, it doesn't matter how careful the manufacturer was in creating the process that made the device; if the device was made badly, and that fault in the device itself caused injury, the manufacturer may be liable.

This kind of liability is termed 'strict liability' in legal circles. While the improvement of all sorts of factory automation processes as well as the care most manufacturers take to ensure the quality of their products makes these cases somewhat rare, when they occur, the results can be devastating to a patient or family involved. Let's say, for example, a hip replacement recipient gets an artificial hip that, due to some defect in the manufacturing of that particular unit, breaks and causes the individual to fall. Not only will that individual need a new surgery to replace the defective hip, but he or she may also have suffered further injuries in the fall, requiring more medical interventions and expenses as well as pain and suffering.

Manufacturing defects generally occur when the product does not work as designed due to some problem with the materials, parts or construction done in the process of assembling the device. The main problem in these cases is usually proving that the defect directly caused the injury involved. Those who have been hurt due to a defective medical device may wish to consider contacting an experienced products liability lawyer.

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