When a person’s natural hip joint becomes severely damaged or painful, a surgeon will often recommend replacement with an artificial hip joint. Most hip replacement patients have a successful experience, but some patients face complications from unexpected device failure. Settlement money from a lawsuit can help these victims pay costs associated with the offending implant.
Patients whose devices have broken, worn down, or caused infection are justifiably upset when hip replacement relief is suddenly replaced with pain, stiffness, or worse. On top of that, many are also left dealing with a growing pile of unanticipated bills for things like diagnostic testing, antibiotics, pain medications, hospital stays, and more. For some, the pain and complications make it impossible to continue working until the problem is fixed. It’s easy to understand why a person in such a situation would demand justice.
As more and more cases of early hip replacement failure come forward, victims are becoming empowered to tell their stories and seek the damages they are entitled to as victims of undue harm. Medical device manufacturers are finally being held accountable for the decisions they’ve made and the actions they’ve taken (or failed to take) that led to the production of such poor-quality hip implant devices.
Some level of risk will always be present any time a person undergoes a surgical procedure, especially if a foreign object like an implant is left inside. In the case of hip replacements, however, there are additional risks related to design, materials, and articulation that have raised significant legal and medical concern.
Many failures are related to the use of metal-on-metal hip implant devices, which tend to have issues with physical wear and chemical leaching. Other issues have also come to light, such as manufacturers rushing the development process and skimping on testing so they can get products to the market more quickly. These factors pose risks that patients can’t possibly anticipate.
Depending on the case, complications from a failed hip replacement can range from moderate discomfort to life-threatening condition. The following are just some of the possible problems hip replacement failure can cause:
Under U.S. law, citizens have an inherent right to be made whole for any harm they may suffer as the victim of an unsafe product—this includes medical devices like artificial joints. There are two types of legal actions that are commonly used in such cases: multi-district litigations (MDLs) and class-action lawsuits.
In a class-action lawsuit, individual victims are combined into a group of plaintiffs on a single case. In a multi-district litigation, victims’ cases remain separate, but all cases are consolidated to one court. The benefit of a class-action suit is that even those who suffered relatively minimal harm compared to others can receive damages from the settlement. For those who suffered more severe harm than others, a multi-district litigation may help them recover more than they might in a class-action suit.
As of August 2018, there are more than 14,000 pending class-action lawsuits and MDLs against hip replacement device manufacturers. Common plaintiff complaints include loosening or dislocation of the joint, tissue damage, pain, metal toxicity, total implant failure, and a need for hip replacement revision surgery.
Every case is different, so it’s impossible to predict how large a settlement might be without all the information. Due to variation between cases, even knowing the average settlement for hip replacement recall cases would be unhelpful in estimating how much you as an individual victim might receive.
There are a variety of factors that can affect hip recall settlement amounts, including (but by no means limited to) the following:
Individual victims may receive different amounts depending upon the type of litigation. If victims are involved in a class-action lawsuit, the settlement funds will be split equally regardless of how mild or severe a given person’s condition might be. If multiple cases are consolidated under a multi-district litigation, the settlement funds will be apportioned based on individual cases’ merit.
The three cases below are examples of lawsuits against major hip device manufacturers that resulted in settlements for the victims.
Depuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was recently sued by six New Yorkers who experienced complications after being implanted with the company’s Pinnacle hip replacement system. As a result of poor design, victims said they suffered severe injuries like bone erosion and tissue death. Depuy was also accused of making false statements regarding the longevity of the Pinnacle system compared to other devices.
In November 2017, a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of the victims and ordered DePuy/Johnson & Johnson to pay a total of $247 million.
In April 2018, Stryker Corp. began the process of compensating patients who had surgery to replace a faulty Rejuvenate or ABG II system between November 2014 and December 2016. Victims complained that metal-on-metal grinding and other flaws led to problems like implant loosening, chemical leaching, and metal toxicity.
Stryker previously paid damages to victims whose surgeries took place before November 2014; that settlement amount totaled roughly $1.4 million. This second settlement program is much larger, with an estimated total of $2 billion in damages.
In early 2016, implant manufacturer Zimmer (Zimmer Biomet Holdings) agreed to a settlement in an MDL regarding its Durom Cup hip replacement system. Victims in the case claimed that flaws in the Durom Cup implant led to severe pain, joint loosening, infections, and metal toxicity. The final settlement amount totaled $314 million.
If you’ve been injured or had revision surgery due to a failed hip replacement, you may qualify to participate in a class-action suit or multi-district litigation against the manufacturer of your device. If you think you might be eligible to receive damages, it’s time to talk with a lawyer about your case.
The expert hip replacement lawyers at Saunders & Walker P.A. have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve as the victim of a faulty joint device. We’ve represented victims in numerous cases involving medical devices, including other hip recall cases involving high-profile manufacturers like DePuy, Stryker, Zimmer, Encore, Wright Medical, and more.
To find out whether you qualify to participate in an upcoming litigation, call us at (800) 748-7115 to schedule a free case evaluation.