If you’ve suffered injury by a defective medical device, and it wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make a medical product liability claim.
Medical devices are integral to providing patients with the proper care and support. Some people might only use them once or twice, while others will rely on their medical products as part of an ongoing treatment plan.
Manufacturers must adhere to strict regulations regarding the safety of medical devices – including stringent testing before any product becomes available.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a faulty or defective product can’t slip through the cracks – and they sometimes do.
You have every right to make a compensation claim if this happens to you. To find out whether you’re eligible, call for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438 or fill in the form for a free callback.
The Consumer Protection Act legislation covers a range of products and requires manufacturers to follow a rigorous testing process before distributing their devices.
Medical products are included in the guidelines, so if your product is faulty, you could be eligible to make a compensation claim.
There are around 600,000 medical devices in the UK, and each falls into one of five categories:
There are also classifications based on the risk each product prevents. For example, Class 1 devices include spectacles and wheelchairs, and Class 3 products represent heart valves and pacemakers.
These products are also covered under the Medical Device Regulations Act of 2002, so you can claim compensation if you receive a faulty product.
Product liability claims are relatively simple as long as you know who you’re claiming against. These products can become damaged after the manufacturing process, so it’s essential to understand who’s at fault for the defective medical device.
Manufacturers create products based on designs and specifications. If the design of a product is incorrect, the item will be defective, regardless of how well the manufacturer put it together.
Some defective products might be on the market for a long time and still have problems despite the products undergoing rigorous testing.
If the company delays taking these products off of the market, then you can claim – because they knew the dangers but did nothing about it.
Any device that incurs damage before a patient receives it falls under the defective manufacturing classification. For example, there could be a fault with the product during the construction process, or it might become damaged in transportation.
If the hospital or doctor’s surgery accidentally damages the product, it falls under this classification.
All medical devices should have instructions and warnings to advise patients on how to use them. If the manufacturer fails to add any warning signs or doesn’t make the usage instructions clear, it could harm the patient.
Doctors, hospitals and treatment facilities can also be liable if they give patients the wrong advice or teach them how to use it incorrectly.
People can only make product liability claims if they prove another party was negligent. The best way to determine your eligibility for compensation is to seek impartial legal advice by calling 0800 234 6438 or using the form for a zero-obligation callback.
A specialist advisor will discuss your case and pass your details to one of the UK’s most reputable no win no fee solicitors.
The first step of any potential product liability claim is isolating the negligent party. It could be the product manufacturer, the hospital or doctor who advised the product, or the retailer.
Your no win no fee solicitor will work with you to gather evidence on your behalf and put a case together.
Once a lawyer decides to take on your case, they’ll look at the evidence to calculate compensation. Your device might worsen a pre-existing condition, or you may have suffered an injury due to the product.
Any medical records of treatment you received will help prove your claim, medical notes from your doctor, or proof of the product’s defective issues.
Most doctors, manufacturers and retailers will use their insurance company for the claim, so the negotiations should be relatively straightforward – as long as your solicitor can prove negligence.
In many cases, these claims settle out of court, but it depends on how receptive the insurance company is. If court action is the best way to secure money, then your lawyer will advise the best course of action.
Once your lawyer agrees to an amount, they’ll take their fee out of the settlement, and you’ll receive the rest of the money. You can choose how to spend it on special treatments, higher quality products or anything else.
There’s no set amount because it depends on how much damage the faulty products cause. For example, if you require medical care or ongoing treatment, you’ll receive more compensation than someone with a minor injury.
The best way to get an idea of your potential compensation award is by speaking to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.
It’s always a good idea to choose no win no fee specialist product liability solicitors because there are zero financial risks associated with making a claim. You won’t pay any legal fees unless your claim is successful, whereas traditional lawyers charge upfront fees.
Defective product claims have a three-year time limit from when the accident or injury occurred. However, if the incident happened to a minor, they have three years from when they turn 18 to claim compensation.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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