In some countries "Let's sue" is a knee jerk response to dealing with things that have goes wrong. In others it's seen as a last resort.
If you come from one of the latter cultures (like I do) you will probably feel reluctant to start instructing a solicitor but in this case I'm going to make an exception and strongly suggest that..
There are three main reasons: -
DePuy's response to the initial warnings that the device was to blame the surgeons. Either his work was below par or he'd chosen the wrong patients. Even after they admitted that the ASR is faulty DePuy is still trying to pass the buck.
On Sept 22nd 2010 DePuy filed papers with the Superior Court of the State of California arguing that the patients "were negligent, careless, and at fault and conducted themselves so as to contribute substantially to their alleged injuries and damages."
On their website DePuy has made what looks like a reasonable suggestion. You send them all your medical history and return the implant to them and they'll work out how much to compensate you for.
Watch out! Every lawyer and advice worker seems to be in agreement on this one. Don't sign anything that DePuy offers you without legal advice. DePuy will be looking at your medical records to see if anything you have done might have contributed to the failure of the device.
Some (probably most) of DePuy's ASR patients will be thinking something like - "Hey my hip seems to be working fine so I won't bother talking to a solicitor. If something goes wrong later then I'll think about it."
That sound reasonable but is wrong thinking because one of the main issues for patients will be the statute of limitations on medical claims. In many countries this is normally two years from the time you learn about the problem. The problem for DePuy ASR patients is that some of the problems associated with the faulty hip won't show up till after the two years has run out. So it's important to act now before you lose the chance to claim.
Remember that there are a lot of expenses involved with hip replacement work both directly e.g. for the operation or physiotherapy and indirectly such as time lost at work. You will also be entitled to compensation for any unnecessary suffering and pain you've had to endure.
This will depend partly on the country you are in and from where you are making your claim. In the main compensation claims will address two factors: -
The costs involved - surgery, lost wages, other expenses such as physiotherapy.
The level of suffering - how much pain and suffering you have and will experience. Bear in mind that for some people this could be a life-long problem.
Claims will be on a personal basis reflecting individual circumstances.
The best way is by word of mouth - do you know anyone who has been involved in a similar case? If so ask them who'd they would recommend. If not then do a google search on "class actions" in your area and read up reports about the various firms.
Check with your local law society. Is this firm qualified to take on this type of work.
Interview two or three different law firms - by the time you get to the last one you'll have a good idea of who is being straight with you. If you do get involved with the DePuy lawsuit please take a few minutes to share your experience with us all. As a community of hip patients we need to work together to ensure that everyone is getting access to the best advice.
More information on the De Puy Lawsuite
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