When a new generation of metal hip implants came on the market, they were hailed for their safety and longevity. Much of this was due to the use of metals like titanium to make up some or all of the implant.
Less than a decade later, several of these devices have been recalled due to high rates of failure and painful complications. Some hip manufacturers have offered to pay millions to settle lawsuits brought by thousands of injured people.
If you or a loved one required revision surgery to fix a failed hip implant, we may be able to help you. Michael Brady Lynch is an experienced nationwide medical device attorney.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation so you can learn how we may be able to help.
Hip Implant Types
There are different options for hip implants. These devices mimic the natural movement of the body and are made from a combination of materials, including plastics, ceramics, and metals. Most new models were made from metal-on-metal components because manufacturers believed the metals were more durable than other materials. However, this was not the case.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
Metal-on-metal implants are very durable. This made them a great option for those with an active lifestyle. However, their durability comes at a price. The metal particles can shed, which causes metal poisoning. Plus, many studies show early failure rates. These implants are supposed to last decades not a few months. Several manufacturers, including DePuy and Stryker, have recalled one or more all-metal hip implants.
The Food and Drug Administration warned in 2013 that the components of metal hip implants can grind together over time, causing serious complications and sending tiny shards of metal into the body.
Complications from metal hip implants may include:
- Severe pain
- Grinding noises
- Metallosis (metal poisoning)
- Revision surgery
Revision surgery is a painful ordeal that may mean missed work, pricey medical bills and emotional suffering. This is why thousands of people have filed lawsuits against the company that made the hip implant that has caused them so much suffering.
The hip implants with these potential dangers are made by several companies. The models include:
- ASR™ XL
- Exceed ABT™
- ABG II
- Conserve® Plus
- Durom® cup
- VerSys Hip system
Metal Hip Implants Regulatory Shortcuts
The FDA approved most of the metal hips under a provision known as 501(k). These hip implants are part of nationwide lawsuits. This controversial process allows for an expedited approval if the device is similar to a previously approved device.
This means that these metal hip implants were not subject to the rigorous safety testing other medical devices go through before they hit the market.
Metal Hip Implant Dangers
Since they have entered the market, metal-on-metal implants have had some of the highest failure rates among all types of hip implants. Studies show these hip implants produce metal ions that enter a recipient’s bloodstream causing metallosis. Other complications include loosening of the hip implant, joint dislocation, and joint squeaking.
Hip implant manufacturers claim their implants are safe and more effective than previous models. However, the devices were less effective and caused a range of injuries. The corporations promised consumers effective hip replacements. Instead, they received implants with high rates of failure, pain and metal poisoning.
This is why thousands claim hip implant manufacturers made defective products and failed to warn about the risks. Metal-on-metal implants can cause various complications. These lead to painful surgeries to correct problems and replace the implants.
Metal Implant Awards
Johnson & Johnson $1 Billion Verdict
In December 2016, A Texas federal jury found Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. liable for more than $1 billion in a six-plaintiff bellwether trial. The jurors deliberated for less than a day before finding Johnson & Johnson and Depuy negligently designed the hip implant, failed to warn surgeons about dangers and concealed the implant’s risk. Each plaintiff will receive between $4-$6 million in damages for physical injuries and pain and suffering. Plus, more than $500 million in punitive damages after the jury found the companies acted fraudulently and potentially with malice.
The next bellwether trial began in September and now faces allegations of witness tampering.
Wright Medical $240 Million Settlement
In 2016, Wright Medical agreed to a $240 million settlement with nearly 1,300 people suing the company over its hip implants. The agreement offered an average of $170,000 to each patient who had received a faulty Conserve implant and $120,000 for each patient who had sued over Dynasty and Lineage model implants.
This current expanded agreement settles about 600 pending cases in Georgia and California courts for an additional $90 million. This covers those who didn’t agree to the first settlement or filed lawsuits after it was completed. The new agreement also covers people who had implants fail after the time limit to file a lawsuit ran out.
Wright Medical will pay their settlement in three installments. The first will be almost $8 million to settle 49 claims that missed out on the original settlement. The next installment includes 39 claims by the oldest people bringing the lawsuits to the tune of $5 million. Lastly, almost $77 million will go to settling all existing claims through October 1, 2017.
Another Johnson & Johnson $247 Million Verdict
In November 2017, a Dallas federal jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy to pay $247 million to six plaintiffs injured by their defective hip implant. This is the fourth bellwether trial and third straight win for plaintiffs. This case involved six New York residents implanted with the devices said they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they blamed on design flaws. Plaintiffs claimed the companies falsely promoted the device, most commonly used to treat joint failure caused by osteoarthritis, by saying it lasted longer than similar implants that include ceramic or plastic materials. The panel awarded a total of $79 million in actual damages and $168 million in punitive damages.
The verdict came in the fourth trial over the devices in Dallas federal court, where almost 10,000 of the cases are pending. This number has grown by more than 13% over the past year.
If You Were Injured by a Metal Hip Implant
These settlements and verdict may be just the beginning. Experts predict more will occur in the next coming years. It is important to note that each hip device lawsuit is different. To get advice from a qualified hip device attorney, contact the dedicated attorneys at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm at 877-513-9517. We have decades of experience going up against large corporations and getting you the compensation you deserve.