Surgeons using a surgical stapler during a procedure.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Medical Devices?

Medical devices have come to play a vital role in U.S. health care. With advances in technology, these devices can save lives. They can also be used to greatly improve the lives of those that use them. We have come to trust and rely on medical devices and many have reaped the benefits as a result. When a medical device is defective, however, serious, even fatal, harm can occur. When this occurs, the party responsible for the defective medical device can be held liable for the harm suffered as a result of its use. While it can be a difficult determination to make, it is an essential one should you wish to pursue a claim seeking compensation for the harm you sustained as a result of the defective medical device.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Medical Devices?

A claim involving a defective medical device is a type of product liability claim. In a product liability claim, pretty much anyone in the supply chain may be held liable for the product defect. Who will actually be held liable, however, will depend on the cause and nature of the defect. Sometimes, it is the designer of the device that will be held responsible. The device designer can be held responsible when the design of the product itself is defective. Even if the product was made exactly to design specifications, it would still be defective because the problem lies in the design itself. Design defects are actually not very common, but can arise if the design phase was too rushed.

In other cases, the medical device may have been designed safely but, due to a problem in manufacturing, it was made defective. When errors occur in the product’s manufacturing phase, the dangerous defect in the product was a result of that error in production. As such, the product manufacturer can be held liable for the defective medical device.

Further down the supply chain you will eventually find the distributor of the medical device. Distributors are anxious to move product. In being overly eager to sell their product, product distributors may misrepresent the product and its capabilities. They downplay or otherwise misrepresent potential risks of the product. In making false claims and misrepresentations, distributors of medical devices expose themselves to potential legal liability.

Additionally, the medical professional that made use of the device in the treatment of a patient might also be held liable for the harm caused by a medical device. Medical professionals that use such devices have a duty to warn patients about the potential dangers posed by use of the medical device. Should they fail to uphold this duty, they may be held liable for injuries that result from the use of the device.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured by a medical device? You may have a product liability claim on your hands and be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered. Reach out to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy for more information.  Contact us today.