What are the Laws Surrounding Bair Hugger Accidents?
The Bair Hugger forced-air warming system is a blanket-like device used by surgeons to maintain a patient's core temperature during a surgical procedure. Since the device was first used in the 1980s, many patients have been exposed to life-threatening infections caused by a defect in the device's design. Injured patients have legal rights under product liability tort laws and can seek financial compensation in civil court to recover their damages.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents injured patients who suffered harm after undergoing a surgery that involves the use of a Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients' injuries were so severe it required a lawsuit to receive financial compensation. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to you can file a lawsuit against the product manufacturer or surgeon if your injuries were a result of someone else's negligence. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
What is Product Liability Tort?
Under civil law, product liability identifies the legal responsibility that a manufacturer, designer, distributor, vendor, promoter, or retailer must ensure a product is safe for the consumer. Defective products are considered any item that is unreasonably dangerous when the consumer uses it based on its intended purpose without alteration, misuse, or interference.
These laws identify who can be held responsible for any injury caused by the defective product. According to the law, the individual injured by the product did not need to buy the item to bring a case for compensation against the manufacturer. Financial responsibility might be imposed on a manufacturer, designer, or others responsible for any essential attributable characteristic on how the product works or is used. In some cases, multiple parties can be held legally liable to pay damages.
How is Defective Identified?
Any product can be deemed defective if it is unreasonably harmful and places an individual at risk of injury to themselves or damage to property. Typically, the court will consider certain factors to identify a defective product including:
- The design of the item;
- How the item is reasonably used;
- The manufacturer's warnings and instructions.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state sets a time limit for filing a compensation case or lawsuit against a manufacturer siding a defective product, including an Illinois (735 ILCS 5/13-202). This legal rule is referred to as the statute of limitations that sets a certain time limit where documentation must be initiated in the appropriate court, or the injured party is barred forever from seeking compensation from the responsible party.
In most cases, the victim has two years from the time they were injured to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant in civil court. There are, however, exceptions to the rule based on the “discovery date” when the victim first became aware that they were injured. Other exceptions that extend the time limit for filing a claim might involve the injured party's physical or mental incapacity to file a claim before the deadline or if the victim is a minor under 18 years of age.
Filing a Lawsuit
Any patient injured through medical malpractice or product liability (defective device, bad drug, etc.) has the legal right to seek financial remedy by filing a compensation claim or lawsuit in state or federal court. In some cases, an attorney may recommend taking part in a class action lawsuit or MDL (multidistrict litigation) in federal court.
In class action suits, hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs will share equally in the jury verdict award amount (fewer attorney fees and other costs) without regard to the extent of their injuries. While class action lawsuits are beneficial to all plaintiffs, patients who have suffered severe injuries received the same amount of compensation as those who endured minor harm. Because of that, the court system will often merge all federally-filed lawsuits into a single multidistrict litigation case.
Why multidistrict litigation may appear like a class action lawsuit, the federal court handles MDL cases significantly different. Typically, most or all federally-filed cases will be consolidated into a case to resolve similar legal issues and pretrial hearings, scheduling, and settlement negotiations.
Usually, the MDL judge will begin the process of resolving lawsuits by ordering “bellwether” cases where a few trials are held in separate court proceedings using different juries. When each bellwether case is completed, the attorneys representing all remaining plaintiffs and defendants can make better-informed decisions on how to move forward in their case that will be heard in individual trials or negotiated in a settlement meeting.
Proving the Elements of the Case
Every plaintiff that files a Bair Hugger lawsuit in federal or state court must prove their case by presenting evidence in front of the jury based on four elements that include:
- The defendants designed, manufactured, or distributed the Bair Hugger device;
- The Bair Hugger device was defective in its design or manufacturing due to negligence;
- The defect because of the plaintiff injuries, losses, or damages;
- The plaintiff's injuries are real.
Most of the plaintiffs who filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit are claiming that they developed a severe deep joint infection in the days or months after their surgical procedure. These injured plaintiffs needed to undergo multiple procedures to control the infection, remove the implant, and replace it with another device in surgeries that used other warming devices.
Your Bair Hugger blanket lawsuit could conceivably be based on pertinent facts of the case including:
- Negligence: This would be an action at common law. The basic premise of your suit would be that the manufacturer acted unreasonably-less than what another manufacturer would have done in the circumstances-and that conduct caused you injuries that produced economic or non-economic damages.
- Failure to Warn: Failure to warn cases fall in the realm of products liability. As opposed to negligent actions, this is a strict liability lawsuit and you therefore do not have to prove the defendant acted unreasonably. You have to prove a set of facts including, in these circumstances, that the defendant's lack or insufficient warnings/instructions (regarding the Bair Hugger) caused your injuries when you were reasonably/foreseeably using the defendant's product.
- Defective Design: Defective design causes of action also are a breed of strict products liability. In this instance, you would be alleging that the design of the product (the Bair Hugger in these circumstances) was deficient, could have been better, and was the cause of your injury after you used it in a reasonable/foreseeable manner.
- Misrepresentation: Misrepresentation cases fall under the regime of contract law. Generally, they state a claim that one party made material statements or actions that induced another to act and enter into a contract. Applied here, one could say that the manufacturers of the Bair Hugger induced consumers into buying them by convincing buyers that they were safe when they in fact were not.
Your attorney might make certain allegations in the lawsuit to help prove your case for compensation that include:
- The Bair Hugger forced-air warming system manufacturer created a defective design;
- The device manufacturer created an unreasonably dangerous device and product to the medical marketplace;
- The company concealed the potential serious, life-threatening risks associated with surgical procedures that use a Bair Hugger warming device;
- The manufacturer failed to adequately test the device before allowing it to be used in surgical procedures;
- The Bair Hugger company aggressively marketed their product even though they knew it had specific safety issues;
- The device manufacturer represented their product and claimed the Bair Hugger met acceptable HEPA filtration standards;
- Even after the Bair Hugger manufacturer knew of the serious concerns, they continued to make intentional, misleading, and false statements about the product's safety;
- The device manufacturer failed to pull the defective device from the medical marketplace and failed to redesign the product or warn doctors and patients of the associated dangers of using the device during surgery;
- The device caused patients to suffer severe injuries including life-threatening infections; and
- All the above actions by the device maker are indicators of negligence.
Possible Compensation for Your Injuries
Once your attorney reviews your medical records and files the necessary documents in the appropriate county courthouse, they begin building your case for compensation. Likely, your attorney will ask for specific monetary recovery to pay for your:
- Hospitalization bills,
- Medical expenses,
- Future costs of ongoing rehabilitation, therapies, surgeries, and treatments,
- Your lost wages due to time away from work because of your temporary or permanent disabilities,
- The irreparable damage to your ability to earn a future income,
- Your diminished enjoyment of life due to the changes in your daily activities,
- Your loss of consortium and companionship if you lost a loved one from a Bair Hugger infection,
- Your non-tangible damages including pain, suffering, emotional distress, and mental anxiety,
- Funeral bills and burial expenses if you are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Am I Eligible to File a Compensation Lawsuit?
Your attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to file a Bair Hugger lawsuit to receive compensation for your damages. Usually, the injured parties in compensation claims have:
- Undergone a hip or joint replacement surgical procedure that used a Bair Hugger forced-air warming system.
- Acquired a deep joint infection in the months after leaving the hospital following the surgical procedure.
- Suffered an infection or other severe injury that was caused by:
- Prolonged or repeated hospitalization,
- Follow-up surgeries including revision surgery,
- Experienced intense pain during their recovery period,
- Had an affected limb amputated,
- Suffer a Bair Hugger infection-related disability,
- Require follow-up physical therapy and treatment.
- Underwent antibiotic spacer implantation to control your Bair Hugger-acquired infection
- Suffered other side effects associated with Bair Hugger infections including wound swelling, wound drainage, chills, fevers, night sweats, and intense fatigue.
If you developed a Bair Hugger-associated infection, taking your case to court is the only legal solution to ensure you are compensated for your damages. However, resolving a product liability case involving a defective product can be challenging. Because of that, injured patients will often hire an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in patient injury cases.
The Necessity of Hiring an Attorney
The defective medical device injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of a product manufacturer. We have successfully obtained millions on behalf of the victims and their family members to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage and we can help your family too. Let us help you prosecute your case against those who caused your harm.
Our legal team encourages you to contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. We accept all personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits, and product liability injury claims through contingency fee arrangements. This legal contract postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully completed your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
Our law firm gets results quickly because we understand you need money now. We probably offer every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- What is a Bair Hugger blanket?
- What are the risks of using a Bair Hugger?
- Has the FDA taken any action against the makers of the Bair Hugger?
- Is there a class action lawsuit against the makers of Bair Hugger?
- Have there been any cases involving Bair Hugger blankets?
- What damages could I recover in my Bair Hugger lawsuit?
- Is there a time limit when I have to file my Bair Hugger lawsuit?