Defective Pacemaker Lawyers
If you suffered injuries or medical complications from a defective pacemaker, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today for a free consultation. We can review your case to determine if you’re entitled to compensation from the manufacturer.
Pacemakers help the heart function normally; however, defects could cause them to malfunction. If your pacemaker isn’t working correctly, you could suffer a heart attack or severe injuries from faulty parts or wiring. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, we understand the trauma you’ve experienced and want to help you through this challenging time in your life.
Our defective pacemaker lawyers will be your advocates during the legal process and fight for the justice you deserve. The manufacturer shouldn’t get away with their negligent actions and should pay for the harm they caused. Call the Alabama defective medical device lawyers of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP at (205) 324-1212 to learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you.
How Do Pacemakers Work?
A pacemaker is a small medical device inserted under the skin in your chest. It detects abnormal changes to your heartbeat and sends a signal to correct it. Most pacemakers contain two parts:
- Leads (wires) connecting the device to the heart to carry electrical signals.
- Generator containing a battery and information for controlling the heartbeat.
The surgeon makes a small incision on the left side of the chest below the collarbone (if you are right-handed) and places the generator beneath the skin. Less commonly, some patients have a pacemaker in their abdomen. New pacemakers without wires can be implanted directly in the right ventricle of the heart.
Usually, the electrical system of your heart is supposed to keep your heart beating at the right pace. An adult’s resting heartbeat should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A heart attack, genetic defects, medications, and other issues can lead to an abnormal rhythm. A pacemaker mimics the heart’s electrical system and detects when there’s an abnormality, automatically sending a signal to adjust a slow or fast heart rate.
The type of pacemaker you have will depend on your condition and the abnormalities you’re experiencing. They are:
- Single chamber – Transmits electrical impulses to the heart’s right ventricle.
- Dual chamber – Carries electrical signals to the right atrium and right ventricle to control when the two chambers contract.
- Biventricular – Stimulates the right and left ventricles of the heart for a more efficient heartbeat. This type of pacemaker is for someone with abnormal electrical systems and heart failure.
At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, our defective pacemaker lawyers understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a faulty medical device can take on a person’s life. Manufacturers are supposed to provide safe products for their consumers that don’t pose a risk of injury. Some pacemaker manufacturers fail to sell a medical device free of damage or hazards, resulting in various complications. You have a right to hold them liable for their role in causing your injury and seek the compensation you need to heal.
Complications Due To Pacemaker Defects
When you’re relying on your pacemaker to keep your heart functioning properly, you could suffer serious complications if it stops working or contains a defect. Many are inherently unsafe from a poor design, while others become defective during the manufacturing process. In some situations, the manufacturer is aware of the risks their devices pose to patients but fails to disclose them on warning labels. When a pacemaker fails to work as intended, it could pose a danger.
The most common problems associated with pacemakers are:
- No discharge – Devices with wiring issues or loss of power cannot transmit the electric impulses to restart a stopped heart or correct an abnormal heartbeat.
- No readout – Without any information about how the heart is functioning, doctors or first responders can’t make the right decision about how to treat a patient.
- False reading – Sometimes, a faulty pacemaker sends an incorrect signal of problems with the heart. This can cause someone to fear a heart attack, resulting in panic and actual medical complications.
- Unnecessary discharge – Sending a signal to the heart when it isn’t necessary can cause an abnormal heart rhythm or cardiac arrest. A discharge causing a heart attack prevents the device from emitting another signal to stop it.
The injuries or medical problems you might experience if you have a faulty pacemaker are:
- Collapsed lung
- Loss of consciousness
- Infection at the incision site
- Damaged nerves or blood vessels
- Chest pain
- Allergic reaction during surgery
- Shortness of breath
- Bruising, bleeding, or swelling near the generator
Many people notice symptoms but ignore them at first. You might think it’s a normal side effect of having a pacemaker. Unfortunately, failing to seek immediate medical treatment could have fatal consequences. You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor right away to determine if they could potentially lead to complications down the road. With proper treatment, you could avoid developing a serious medical condition or suffering a heart attack.
Recalled Pacemakers In the United States
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating medical devices to ensure they’re safe for public use. If they become aware of any problems that could pose a risk to someone’s health or safety, they must issue warnings. Sometimes, it’s necessary to recall certain pacemakers due to the dangerous defects they contain.
The manufacturers with recalled pacemakers include:
- Ventak Prizm AVT
- Ventak Prizm 2 DR Model 1861
- Renewal AVT
- Contak Renewal Model H135
- Vitality AVT
- Contak Renewal 3 and 4
- Contak Renewal 3 and 4 AVT
- Contak Renewal RF
- Contak Renewal 2 Model H155
- Maximo DR Model 7278
- Marquis VR Model 7230
- Maximo VR Model 7232
- InSync II Marquis Model 7289
- Marquis DR Model 7274
- InSync III Marquis Model 7279
- InSync Marquis Model 7277
St. Jude Pacemakers
- Atlas DR
- Epic Plus DR/VR/HF
- Photon DR Model V-230HV
- Atlas VR/DR Models V-199 and V-240
- Photon Micro VR/DR Models V-194 and V-232
- Atlas Plus DR/VR/HFPhoton DR Model V-230HV
- Epic DR/HF
If you have any of these pacemakers or another one not included in this list, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP and speak with one of our defective pacemaker lawyers. We can review your case and determine if your injuries were due to a defect.
Types of Medical Device Defects
Medical devices can become defective for multiple reasons. The three main defect types are:
- Design defects – A flaw in the pacemaker’s design makes it inherently unsafe for someone to use and can cause injuries. Even if the company assembles the product correctly, the poor design poses a danger.
- Manufacturing defect – A mistake the manufacturer makes during construction or assembly that they did not intend. Whether they used the wrong materials or failed to follow quality assurance guidelines, the pacemaker left the factory defective.
- Failure to warn – Manufacturing companies should provide warning labels if they know about the potential risks a person could face while using the medical device. Without proper warning, complications could arise that the user didn’t know about, preventing them from initially choosing a different pacemaker to avoid the dangers.
Alabama laws provide three theories of liability you could use to prove your injuries resulted from a defective product.
Negligence – The manufacturer failed to use a reasonable degree of care to avoid causing harm to consumers.
Strict liability – It’s not necessary to prove the manufacturer’s actions caused your injury if three conditions exist:
- The pacemaker was unreasonably unsafe due to a defect during the design, manufacturing, or marketing process;
- You used the device correctly but still sustained injuries; and
- Significant changes to the pacemaker didn’t occur after leaving the factory.
Breach of warranty – Two types of warranties guarantee a product will live up to specific standards:
- Express warranty – Verbal or written statement that a product meets quality and functionality expectations.
- Implied warranty – A product will work as claimed by the manufacturer.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP is familiar with the theories of liability and various defects that can lead to someone’s injury. When you hire us, we will thoroughly investigate the cause of the defect and prepare the right legal strategy for pursuing compensation from the manufacturer.
Compensation You Might Be Entitled To In A Product Liability Case
Large companies, such as medical device manufacturers, typically have liability insurance policies covering the medical bills and other costs associated with a person’s injury due to their defective product. You could file an insurance claim and seek a settlement amount compensating for your past and future losses, such as:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
You also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit. Alabama requires following a specific timeframe if you want to sue a manufacturer for causing your injury. The statute of limitations for product liability cases is two years. That means you would have two years from the date you suffered injuries to file your lawsuit. After the deadline passes, you likely won’t get another opportunity to hold the pacemaker manufacturer accountable for their wrongdoing in the courts.
Do not hesitate to contact the defective pacemaker lawyers of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP to represent you in your case. We’ve been fighting for our clients’ rights for over 20 years and recovered more than $400 million in compensation.
Call (205) 324-1212 for your free consultation if your defective pacemaker caused your injuries, and you want to pursue legal action against the manufacturer.