Federal Jury Awards Large Verdict to Woman Injured by Defective Hip Implant

by Mandy Hicks

When a consumer is injured because of a dangerous product, the consumer has a right to pursue financial compensation for his or her injuries via a product liability lawsuit. There are several types of theories that may be used in product liability cases, depending upon the circumstances.

These types of theories include strict product liability, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. Design defects typically affect an entire line of products that were manufactured according to an inherently dangerous design. Manufacturing defects, on the other hand, may involve only a few products that were the subjects of a flaw in the construction or production process.

Damages available in a product liability case may include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In some cases, there is also the possibility of punitive damages in cases of particularly egregious conduct by the manufacturer.

Former Ski Instructor Files Suit in Hip Replacement Case

In 2006, a woman who had been a ski instructor for several decades received a metal-on-metal hip replacement implant. According to the manufacturer, Wright Medical Technology, Inc., such implants were superior to those made with polyethylene. In time, however, this proved to be untrue. After the woman began experiencing severe pain in her hip, she underwent surgery to fix what her doctor suspected to be a loose component.

According to a lawsuit that the woman filed in 2013, her doctor discovered that, rather than a problematic component, the hip replacement product was beginning to fail, and the woman was suffering soft tissue damage because of metal debris.

Atlanta Jury Reaches Verdict

At trial, the woman alleged that her metal hip implant was defective and that the company should be held liable for misrepresenting the safety of such devices. The jury agreed, awarding the woman $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. According to news reports, the defendant was unhappy with the verdict and plans to appeal if its attempts to have the verdict set aside through post-trial motions are not effective.

Hundreds more cases are pending across the country against Wright, with other plaintiffs also alleging that their implants were defective and that the manufacturer should be held accountable for their injuries. Now that a federal jury has weighed in on at least one representative plaintiff’s claims, perhaps settlement negotiations will prove more fruitful in the other cases. If not, it is likely that it will be several years before all of the cases make their way through the court system, including the appellate process.

For Help with a Product Liability Claim

If you have been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, the Kentucky product liability attorneys at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley can advise about the process of filing a lawsuit against the maker or seller of the bad product. Call us at (270) 781-6500 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, including in Bowling Green, Clarksville, and Morgantown.

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