Over 1.1 million Americans are faced with knee or hip issues. In some cases, the joint is so injured that it requires surgery or even a full replacement.
Knee replacement surgery is becoming an increasingly common procedure for those with knee injuries or chronic problems. However, some implants can be faulty and result in a range of complications and adverse effects.
Complications and Legal Options
If someone has a severe reaction or is the recipient of a defective or harmful replacement knee device, their best recourse may be to file a lawsuit. There are protections available under the law. Meeting with an attorney and discussing legal options can yield valuable insights about whether or not someone in this situation has a case.
Some of the device makers of replacement joints tend to market these products as cure-alls. They are pitched as total solutions to pain and problems with mobility. Knee replacement has been a go-to solution for knee issues in recent years.
Unfortunately, some of these joint replacement devices have been known to fail entirely. Others have been linked with serious injuries. Unfortunately, some patients experience increased joint pain and even further restricted mobility than before their knee replacement.
Pain and Suffering as a Result of Defective Knee Implants
This can be incredibly disappointing or even devastating to some people, and understandably so. Their goal was to get relief from their knee problems, and now the issues are worse than ever. In addition to the physical pain, emotional anguish is often a result. The cost and the time spent in recovery from surgery are all lost, and the patient is worse off than they were before the knee replacement surgery.
These joint replacement devices should have been properly designed and tested extensively before they are marketed and used by consumers. These devices should also be monitored for issues and problems going forward even after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unfortunately, the FDA is not always alerted of the full range of issues connected with joint replacement devices, and unsafe models end up on the market. The manufacturers of knee implants have a legal responsibility to create and sell products correctly. Consumers should be sufficiently warned about any risks, as should the health care professionals that use and promote them.
Knee Replacement Device Complications
The ideal joint replacement device should facilitate mobility while supporting the recipient’s body weight. These devices are made up of three main elements that help them to accomplish this related to the femoral bone, the tibia and the patella (kneecap).
The knee replacement device must be properly designed to ensure that they are safe and efficient. If there are design flaws or they are not manufactured properly, this can lead to significant issues for recipients.
Past models of knee replacement devices have utilized a strong adhesive for holding its components in place. However, this substance is cement-like and can lead to bone breakage. More recent models of knee replacement devices such as NexGen do not require the use of this cement-like material. For some clients, the bone can be allowed to fuse with the implant.
However, some persons who receive the uncemented style of knee replacement can experience eventual complications such as a loosening of the joint down the road. Medical professionals have also concluded one of the NexGen models was unstable and at high risk of failing prematurely.
Some researchers also question knee device durability long term. The makers of these products tend to promote them as highly durable, and these artificial joints are expected to last 15 years or more in general. However, in 2011, Austrian researchers found that newer models of artificial joints are no more durable than past models. In fact, as many as 30 percent of them are less durable.
Defective knee replacement joints can cause injuries such as lowered mobility, premature loosening, infection, pain, inflammation, swelling, bone or muscle problems, and even neurological damage. Revision surgery and medical treatment for chronic or long-term issues are necessary in some cases.
Consumer Rights for Defective Joint Replacement Products
There is legal recourse for those who are the unfortunate recipient of one of these devices. People who are injured or have more pain and knee issues than before the replacement surgery can turn to the legal system for help. In some cases, they may receive a settlement to compensate for their pain and suffering as well as their medical bills.
Manufacturer negligence is grounds for a lawsuit against the company that created the device. An experienced attorney can assist with preparing the case and making sure all legal rights of the victim are preserved.
Many consumers who were hurt by faulty knee replacement devices are taking such action to hold the device makers responsible if they put defective products onto the market. Some of the devices that have caused injury include Stryker’s Scorpio implants, Zimmer’s NexGen and Natural Knee System implants and Smith & Nephew’s OXINIUM devices.
Knee Replacement Lawsuit Options
Those who suffer injuries as a result of a defective knee replacement do have protections under the law. Filing a lawsuit is the best way to be compensated for pain and suffering as well as ensure that the manufacturers of these devices face consequences. Many suits related to this issue are being filed in courts across the U.S. In fact, over 600 cases have been brought against the Zimmer company over its NexGen products for joint replacement.
The typical product liability lawsuit usually alleges that the manufacturer did not properly manufacture, design or market their products. In effect, they ignored or neglected their responsibility to ensure that their products were safe and effective.
An experienced attorney can assist with navigating the legal system as well as determine if someone has a strong case. If you have experienced complications as a result of a knee replacement, the best course of action is to consult a lawyer to find out the best course of action. Expenses like doctor bills, medication costs, and revision surgery costs may all be covered. Other compensations such as payment for lost income and pain and suffering are also possible. Pain and suffering may be both physical and emotional.
Holding Manufacturers Responsible
Consumers injured by such defective devices could be eligible for financial compensation. Medical expenses, as well as financial compensation for their suffering, is possible. These cases also bring much-needed attention to these products and their side effects. Filing a lawsuit can result in improvements to these devices so that other people don’t have to suffer in the future.
Punitive damages above and beyond these compensations are also possible. These awards are issued to discourage future negligence from the device makers.
Those considering filing a lawsuit related to a faulty knee replacement device should remember that there are legal limits on the amount of time in which a claim can be filed. This can vary from state to state, so it’s advisable to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after experiencing knee implant complications.