When an individual begins experiencing pain and discomfort due to a hip injury or years of wear-and-tear damage, it’s not uncommon for his or her doctor to recommend hip replacement surgery. During this procedure, part or all of the damaged hip joint is removed from the patient’s body and replaced with a partial or full artificial joint implant.
When the procedure is successful and the joint is functioning correctly, this manufactured ball-and-socket joint returns full mobility to patients and allows them to return to most activities without pain. However, some patients find themselves dealing with early hip replacement problems due to poorly made implants. In response to this epidemic of early hip implant device failures in the last few years, thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against the majority of major hip implant manufacturers.
Although hip implant manufacturers claim that their products are properly regulated and tested for safe use in surgical procedures, numerous cases have shown that replacement joints don’t always meet these standards.
The majority of early hip implant device failures are caused by the presence of harmful metal debris. This debris is typically created in one of two ways: by metal-on-metal grinding between the ball and socket of the implant, or by corrosion between the ball and the stem that connects it to the rest of the device. When leaching from this debris occurs, it puts the patient at risk of developing a dangerous condition known as metallosis.
Metallosis is a condition in which the damage caused by the metal debris creates pain, fluid build-up, and implant loosening. It often also leads to metal toxicity in the blood, and doctors will usually discover elevated levels of chromium and cobalt in blood-testing results. The leaching of these metals into the bloodstream puts the body’s other organs at risk.
Hip replacements can also fail when joint devices detach from the bone, the ball dislocates from the socket, or the components wear or break unexpectedly due to poor materials or manufacturing errors. Whatever the cause, a failure usually means the patient will face one or more complicated revision surgeries and further medical expenses.
Hip replacement devices have been used for decades to treat elderly patients and injured athletes alike—so why are more and more patients filing hip replacement suits against manufacturers today? The answer to this question appears to be a combination of poor oversight, rushed manufacturing, and declining quality in favor of greater profits. Earlier device designs that had been used for many years did not show the same problems, suggesting that recent changes to the industry have led to joint implants that simply aren’t as safe or reliable as they once were.
Lawsuits have alleged that hip implant failures are due to things like poor design and lack of appropriate testing by manufacturers. Manufacturers also appear to have rushed new designs through the production process so that they could increase sales and increase profits, putting financial gain ahead of people’s safety.
Thousands of these hip replacement lawsuit cases have already been settled in court, and some of them went as far as a jury trial. Every week, Saunders & Walker P.A. continues to file new lawsuits for patients whose hip implants have failed early.
If you aren’t sure whether you should file a lawsuit regarding your own hip replacement failure, consider the kinds of cases that are currently in progress. Right now, a number of different hip replacement failure lawsuits against various companies are working their way through the courts.
The following are a few examples of ongoing suits against seven different joint implant manufacturers. As you’ll see, many of these lawsuits involve problems with all-metal devices.
Because of implant failures, patients began bringing lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson) to be compensated for the cost of hip replacement revision surgery. Specifically, these failures involve metallic debris from faulty metal-on-metal articulation in the company’s ASR and Pinnacle hip implant devices. Two lawsuits, in particular, alleged that the company knew that ASR system was defective in its design. DePuy continues to deny being at fault for these failures.
Visit our DePuy hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
The LFIT V40 hip joint replacement system from major implant manufacturer Stryker has recently come under fire after it was learned that eight sizes of femoral heads in this particular device could disconnect from the stem that attaches it to the patient’s thigh bone. Stryker did issue an alert (not a full hip replacement recall) for this concern in June 2018, but patients facing revision surgeries after joint failures have already begun to file lawsuits against the manufacturer. As of July 2018, there are more than 1,500 active lawsuits related to Stryker implants.
The Stryker Tritanium hip implant has been found by an NYU Hospital study to have a high number of aseptic cup loosenings and failures, resulting in more complicated revision surgeries. For this study, researchers specifically focused on aseptic loosening incidents – where infections were not present – so they could determine whether or not the failure was indeed caused by design flaws. The study documents how performance rates of hip implants are typically 85% after 15 years, but investigators of the research saw the Tritanium implants coming loose within just a few years.
Visit our Stryker hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
Lawsuits against implant manufacturer Encore in recent years have also stemmed from metal-on-metal articulation problems. Patients who have received Encore hip implant devices allege that metal-on-metal grinding and corrosion allowed toxic metals to leach into the bloodstream, resulting in metallosis. This defect, it’s argued, would have been caught if the product had been properly studied. Instead, Encore is accused of ignoring patient safety and knowingly allowing preventable harm.
Visit our Encore hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
In 2014, hundreds of lawsuits concerning the safety of Biomet’s M2a Magnum and M2a38 hip replacement implants were consolidated and settled for a total of $56 million. However, more than 300 additional cases have been filed as of 2018. Cases have alleged that the metal-on-metal articulation of these particular Biomet artificial joint devices has caused significant damage that requires costly revisions and/or resurfacing surgery.
Visit our Biomet hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
As of 2018, British manufacturer Smith & Nephew faces more than 700 lawsuits worldwide. These lawsuits cover a number of different products, most notably their Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR), Birmingham Hip Modular Head (BHMH) and R3 Acetabular Systems. Many of the offending implants have already been recalled or discontinued, but cases involving failure and injury are still outstanding.
Wright Medical’s Conserve and Profemur joint implants have been the target of lawsuits due to issues of metal-on-metal articulation and structural integrity. The Conserve cases specifically involve the creation of debris from metal-on-metal grinding, while the Profemur cases are related to the fracturing of the implant’s titanium necks. A related multi-district litigation was closed as of June 2018, but final payments are still being paid out by the company.
Visit our Wright Medical hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
Despite having settled many of the cases against them over the last decade, manufacturer Zimmer (recently merged with Biomet) is still facing a multi-district litigation trial for thousands of failure and injury claims. Plaintiffs have been left dealing with pain, metal toxicity, and costly additional revision surgeries.
Visit our Zimmer Durom hip implant page to learn more about the lawsuit.
Previous cases against joint implant device manufacturers have already resulted in settlements worth billions of dollars in damages for those harmed. In 2014, a lawsuit against Stryker for their ABG II and Rejuvenate products was settled for $2 billion. In 2016, Zimmer said they would pay more than $300 million dollars to those whose Durom Cup hip replacement devices had failed.
There are two kinds of legal actions that are most commonly used for things like hip replacement lawsuits: multi-district litigations (MDLs) and class-action lawsuits. While both are used in cases where a number of individuals have been harmed, they are distinctly different.
The primary difference between the two types of action is that a class-action suit is one case with a list of several plaintiffs, while a multi-district litigation is a group of several lawsuits whose proceedings are overseen by a single court and judge.
If you’ve previously had a hip replacement and your joint implant has failed, caused you to develop a serious condition such as metallosis, and/or forced you to have expensive, complex hip joint revision surgery, you have an inherent right to seek compensation for your suffering and financial losses. Because these hip implant failure lawsuits do have time limits, however, it’s important that you seek expert legal assistance from the hip replacement lawyers at Saunders & Walker right away, while you are still allowed to file.
As a trusted law firm with experience helping victims of hip replacement failure nationwide, we have the skills and expertise necessary to evaluate your case (at no cost to you) and guide you through the process of taking legal action. We also strive to make our services affordable to all types of clients; if you plan to file a money damage claim against the manufacturer of your failed hip implant device, we’ll represent you on a convenient percentage fee basis.
To discuss whether you may have a case for a hip replacement lawsuit, call our office today at 1-800-748-7115.