When to File a Med Mal Suit for a Medical Device Injury

By April 8, 2024

physical therapy of the shin with shock waveMedical devices are essential tools designed to aid in diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of illnesses. However, when these devices fail, the consequences can be severe, potentially leading to serious injury or even death. Identifying when to seek legal recourse for such injuries is crucial. If you suspect that a medical device has harmed you, learn more about how we can help at Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie, P.C.

Identifying Medical Device Injuries

Identifying medical device injuries requires a vigilant approach, as these injuries can stem from a variety of causes such as design flaws, manufacturing errors, or inadequate usage instructions. Below is a list of steps to help identify potential medical device injuries:

1. Monitor Symptoms

Be alert to any new or worsening symptoms that occur after the use of a medical device. Common indicators include unexpected pain, swelling, or signs of infection at the site of device interaction.

2. Check Device Performance

Observe whether the device is performing as expected. Malfunctions, unusual noises, or any deviation from normal operation can be signs of a problem.

3. Seek Medical Advice

Consult healthcare professionals if you suspect that a device is causing health issues. Medical evaluations can help determine whether symptoms are related to the device.

4. Report Issues

Report any suspected device failures or adverse effects to your healthcare provider and directly to the FDA through their MedWatch program, which is crucial for the FDA’s monitoring process.

5. Review Device Information

Look over the device’s labeling and usage instructions carefully. Misunderstandings or lack of information about proper use can lead to injuries.

6. Research Device Safety

Check if there have been any recalls or safety alerts issued for the device. The FDA maintains a database of medical device recalls that can be accessed online.

7. Document Everything

Keep a detailed record of all symptoms, healthcare visits, and correspondences related to the device. This documentation can be crucial in diagnosing issues and can also be valuable in legal situations.

8. Legal Consultation
If injuries are severe or persistent, consulting with medical malpractice lawyers in NYC experienced in medical device regulations and personal injury claims can provide guidance on your rights and potential actions to take.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) underpins these steps by ensuring that all medical devices marketed in the U.S. undergo a thorough review by the FDA to meet safety and effectiveness standards. However, even with rigorous regulatory oversight, device-related injuries can still occur, making it essential for consumers to stay informed and proactive about health device interactions.

The Right Time to File a Lawsuit

Deciding when to file a lawsuit for a medical device injury involves careful consideration and timeliness. In New York, the legal framework provides specific protections through medical malpractice laws. According to New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules Section 214-a, individuals who suffer injuries due to medical device failures have 2.5 years from the date of the injury to initiate a lawsuit. This statute of limitations is crucial as it dictates the timeframe within which a claimant must act to seek compensation for their injuries. However, there are exceptions to this rule that can affect the timing.

1. Discovery Rule
This rule applies when the injury was not immediately apparent. The statute of limitations starts from the time the injury was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered, rather than from the date the injury actually occurred. This is critical in cases where symptoms of a faulty medical device appear long after its use.

2. Foreign Objects
If a foreign object (like surgical tools or other materials) is left in a patient’s body, the statute of limitations is extended to one year from the date the object is discovered or should have been discovered.

3. Minor Patients
For minors, the statute of limitations does not begin until the patient reaches the age of majority (18 years old in New York). Once the patient turns 18, the standard time limit of 2.5 years applies, but the total period cannot extend beyond 10 years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or failure.

4. Continuous Treatment
If the patient continues to receive treatment for the same condition or injury from the same healthcare provider or hospital, the statute of limitations may be extended until the end of the treatment. This doctrine is based on the rationale that patients seeking ongoing care should not be penalized for not interrupting their treatment to file a lawsuit.

5. Incapacitation
If the person injured by the medical malpractice is mentally or physically incapacitated, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the incapacitation ends. This allows those who are incapable of managing their legal affairs due to their condition more time to file a claim.

6. Death
If the medical malpractice results in the death of a patient, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death, which may differ from the standard medical malpractice time frame.

Why Choose Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie, P.C.?

When facing the consequences of a medical device injury, securing skilled legal representation is paramount. Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie, P.C., with our focused approach and history of securing justice for our clients, stands ready to assist you. Whether it’s navigating the medical documentation, arguing in court, or securing the compensation you deserve, our Malone personal injury lawyers are here to support you every step of the way. Reach out to us today to discuss your case. Let us help you in taking that crucial first step towards recovery and justice.

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