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Hip replacement explained by showing titanium joint

Hip Replacement Lawsuits, Verdicts, and Settlements: Legal Funding Loans

Across the US, there are certain surgeries that could be considered ‘common’ and hip replacement procedures are certainly now part of the list. Whether it’s a full hip replacement or even hip resurfacing, an alternative using a metal cap, orthopaedic manufacturers work hard to produce parts including sockets, stems, and balls.

As a result of the extensive research and investment in this area of surgery, hip replacement surgery is now considered safe. This being said, there has been a noticeable problem with replacement materials that are poorly made or insufficiently tested which has caused issues for thousands of patients with these defective medical devices. In fact, the problem has even reached the FDA who, previously, has demanded the recall of certain products to prevent further issues. Of course, a recall can only do so much and many people have been dealt a serious blow to their health; this has led to a large increase in the number of hip replacement lawsuits.

In this guide to hip replacement lawsuit pre-settlement funding loans, we’re going to investigate the different types of hip replacement surgery, previous recalls, the potential dangers of the procedure, ongoing disputes, and how you can receive help if you find yourself in the same situation as thousands of others.

Varieties of Hip Replacement Surgery

In total, there are three ways in which hip replacement surgery can take place. Firstly, the complete hip joint can be replaced; this includes the ball (the femoral head), the femoral stem, and the cup (the hip socket). When people think of hip replacement, this is normally the procedure they have in mind where everything is new.

Secondly, it may just be that the cup needs replacing and this would lead to a partial replacement. If the rest of the joint is working as expected, the cup can be replaced while everything else remains in place. Similarly, the third type of hip replacement surgery would be a replacement of the ball.

Although the investment has been a benefit to the industry because it has led to better materials and products that have a longer-lasting advantage, it means we now have metal, plastic, and ceramic options. On the whole, each material has advantages over another as well as drawbacks. Furthermore, there’s also a risk element because some combinations will present a much larger risk compared to others. Below, we’ve broken these combinations down so you can assess them properly.

Metal Ball and Cup – Often known as ‘MoM’, metal on metal, scientists originally thought this would lead to the most durable solution of all. Soon after testing, however, they were proven wrong since metal debris can be created as a result of the friction between the two parts. In recent times, we’ve seen many MoM products recalled because they were seen as unsafe.

Metal Ball and Plastic Liner – When it comes to hip replacements, this has been the solution for over 50 years and was first used in the 1960s. Why was it so popular for so long? Well, plastic is smooth which reduces the amount of friction in the joint. The downside of this metal on plastic (MoP) idea is that debris can still occur (this time it’s plastic debris).

Ceramic Ball and Liner – Initially, ceramic was tested for its longevity and it did prove to be successful for wear. After testing, a squeaking noise occurred and there was even a small risk of shattering.

Ceramic Ball and Plastic Cup – Finally, the plastic used in this combination isn’t the same as we’ve seen previously and it’s generally denser. The issue with this alongside the ceramic is that the potential of plastic debris still exists.

Over the years, these have been the most popular combinations and you can see why we noted the balance between risk and reward earlier. While some experiments were so unsuccessful that products had to be recalled, even the more successful combinations created debris so it’s a delicate subject for many specialists.

Previous Hip Replacement Parts Recalls

 

Before launching into the potential dangers of hip replacement surgery and how hip replacement lawsuit pre-settlement funding loans works, we should first dig deeper into the problem area that is product recalls. In this section, we’ll take a look at recalls that have now been resolved and later we’ll look at ongoing disputes.

Stryker (2012) – Firstly, the ABG II and Rejuvenate products were approved for use in surgery in 2009. At the time, there was excitement around the systems and how they could potentially help millions of people. Sadly, Stryker sent out a global warning in May 2012 that the systems released significant amounts of debris and also had the risk of corrosion; both of these increased the likelihood of metallosis in patients. Just two months after the warning reached hospitals and doctors, they were pulled from the industry.

DePuy (2010) – Back at the beginning of this decade, both the ASR Resurfacing System and the ASR Acetabular Hip System were recalled voluntarily. Despite high hopes for these particular metal on metal devices, a study followed their release and showed that they had the potential to cause more issues than products that had been used for many years. With a removal rate of 30% within the first 5 years for patients in Great Britain, this was over three times higher than other products of the same nature.

In truth, the list goes on and we could include names like Zimmer, Smith and Nephew, Wright Medical, Biomet, and Exactech. During a six-year window starting in 2009, all of these companies were forced into recalling, or voluntarily recalled, at least one system from their range. With this number of companies making critical mistakes, it’s now easier to see why hip replacement lawsuit pre-settlement funding loans are necessary.

Potential Dangers of Hip Replacement Surgery

With all the information we’ve provided so far, it might leave you wondering why so many products have been recalled. What are the mistakes these companies are making? As mentioned previously when explaining the different combinations, friction is a common problem between the ball and cup (whether this is metal on metal implants or metal on plastic implants). If you were to rub two materials together in your hands, with enough friction they would start to create debris and this is essentially what happens in the hip. When debris is released, there’s an instant risk of osteolysis and metallosis.

Osteolysis – As the most common issue today, it’s thought that around 75% of all failures in hip replacement surgery comes as a result of osteolysis. Essentially, the bone surrounding the replacement is gradually lost; any loss of bone in the skeleton will have a negative impact on the body.

Metallosis – Although not quite as common, metallosis is just as serious and can lead to a whole host of side effects. After the hip replacement, metallic debris falls from the two connecting materials and this suffocates the joint. With less oxygen able to access the joint, the chromium and cobalt begins to kill soft tissue and bone. Often, the failure of the implant isn’t the end of the concern because metallosis can cause osteolysis, pain in the joint, deterioration of the bone, cysts, a loosening of the implant, local tissue necrosis, a pseudotumor, and more.

Even after these two problems, we’ve seen cases in the past of fractures, the death of bones (known as osteonecrosis), dislocation, infection, and even death. In a painful and damaging process, the soft tissue can also turn to bone and this is called heterotopic ossification.

Existing Lawsuits, Verdicts, and Settlements

Now you’re aware of why recalls can occur and the health problems that can arise from poor products, let’s take a look at some of the ongoing lawsuits in the industry. At this point, we should reiterate that this isn’t a small problem and proof of this can be seen in the number of manufacturers who have been involved in some form of legal battle. DePuy, mentioned earlier, actually belong to one of the biggest companies in the world in Johnson & Johnson; most of the large names have been involved in controversy.

Rather than taking the same problem to each company in various districts across the US, there’s been a consolidation of lawsuits in recent years into what’s called an MDL (multidistrict litigation). Ultimately, this means that the issues can all be dealt with in the same manner and at the same time; all similar cases have been joined together to make one large case. Below, we’ve listed some of the biggest ongoing cases that are affecting the industry.

Biomet

Starting with Biomet, they were forced into paying nearly $60 million back in 2014 as a result of the controversial M2A System. According to patients who experienced the hip replacement, the MoM design was leading to large quantities of metal ion in the joint. This is serious enough that most patients will require corrective surgery to remove the faulty system and replace it with another. At the time of writing this, the MDL contains 2,400 cases against Biomet for this very product.

DePuy

A name familiar to you now, DePuy has been in the news plenty for the trouble they’ve caused over the last decade. After the 2010 recall, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the company and this has led to Johnson & Johnson paying nearly $5 billion in settling cases (around 7,500 in total). For the company, it seems to be a never-ending process with $4 billion in settlements agreed in November 2013 and another $400,000 in March 2015 for the ASR system.

Throughout this process, there has been a number of high-profile cases with the first coming in March 2013. For a Montana citizen who received the ASR XL replacement hip, it all went awry after he experienced pain and an injury as a direct result of the metal hip. In compensation, he was awarded over $8 million.

Sadly, it’s thought that DePuy knew of the expected failure rate (40% within 5 years) and of the higher risk of their product compared to others available. After severe cases of metallosis and surgery failure, the Northern District of Ohio became a focal point when 7,000 cases were filed on behalf of the individuals. In terms of the first bellwether trial, this came in October 2013 when $8 million was awarded to the plaintiff. Overall, District Judge David Katz has been responsible for around 8,000 lawsuits following the bellwether case with many still pending.

As time has gone on, the settlements paid by Johnson & Johnson has extended to include more and more cases. While originally they were paying for the revision treatment for those who had it before August 2013, this was later extended to January 2015.

It’s important to note that not all cases have been successful against DePuy and one of the most notable came in April 2013 in Illinois. When a nurse claimed to be having nasty side effects from the surgery and the ASR System, she filed a lawsuit under ‘defective design’. A little while later, her $5 million compensation was rejected after the court sided with the company.

Zimmer

Compared to DePuy, the amount Zimmer has paid in settlements is much smaller but it still amounts to $200 million (as of April 2016). The product in question here is the Durom Cup and it was recalled shortly after the problems were revealed. Currently, Zimmer is still facing hundreds of cases in the months and years ahead.

DePuy Pinnacle

Just when you thought DePuy had been in enough trouble for their hip replacement parts, they also sold another MoM product under their subsidiary brand Pinnacle. While Johnson & Johnson has openly admitted fault with the ASR product, their willingness to discuss settlement negotiations for Pinnacle is non-existent.

Since the problem arose, US District Judge Ed Kinkeade has been responsible for around 8,000 cases from Dallas. Although many are ongoing, just over $500 million was awarded in one case when a group of five individuals said DePuy were aware of design flaws in the Pinnacle but chose to hide them. Unfortunately, these design flaws caused pain for the recipients and also led to a number of failures. For the patients who trusted the brand, they were forced into corrective surgery.

Just as we saw with the ASR, there was a bellwether case and this was seen in October 2014 and the jury sided with the defense. However, the same can’t be said for a case in January 2016 when another $500 million was awarded to the plaintiff; this was later reduced by $350 million after an appeal. Johnson & Johnson look to have a busy time ahead as they continue fighting cases across the country.

Stryker

As we saw earlier, two different products have been recalled by Stryker; ABG II and Rejuvenate. Now, an MDL in Minnesota accounts for around 1,700 hundred cases against the company. In addition to this, New Jersey is the home for even more cases that have been compiled into a multi-county litigation (MCL).

Back in November 2014, thousands of claims were settled from the MCL and MDL and this led to a payment of over $1.4 billion (for both devices). For many top attorneys involved in the case, they believe this figure will continue to rise since there is no cap. Per plaintiff, this could work out at $600,000 depending on the extent of their injuries and experiences with Stryker.

Wright Medical

As we reach the end of this long list, we find Wright Medical and a company that has an MDL with the fewest cases; still significant, however, with 1,200 lawsuits. Starting a little later than other companies, the first case eventually reached court in May 2015 where the plaintiff was awarded $4.5 million. Originally, the first bellwether case was a significant one and the plaintiff actually received $11 million. For the most part, the money was awarded for punitive damages but $9 million was removed from the judgement just a few months later.

Towards the end of 2016, around 1,300 hip implant cases found a resolution when the company agreed to pay $240 million. The reason this isn’t in the ‘completed’ lawsuits section is because only half of these cases were actually resolved; hundreds are still pending. Why? Only those who had gone through the corrective surgery were able to receive a settlement, but those who were still waiting didn’t have this eligibility.

Finally, at the back end of 2017, these pending cases had somewhat of a resolution after Wright Medical agreed to pay a settlement. With $35 million coming from insurance payments, the company believed the maximum they would have to spend was $90 million. At the time of compiling this information, around 630 lawsuits are pending, over 700 are now ineligible, and an extra 50 are waiting for the next step in US courts.

As you can see, these faulty products have had a huge impact on the hip replacement industry. Not only have thousands of people now launched a case against these huge names, billions of dollars have already been paid out despite the number of cases still ongoing. When all is said and done, the damage will be to the bank accounts of these businesses as well as their reputation. It all comes as a result of the pain and distress they’ve caused to their customers.

Hip Replacement Lawsuit Pre-Settlement Funding

As patients, we trust the medical professionals treating our hips; after, we expect to enter a path of recovery where the end result is a life of freedom after years of pain and discomfort. To then experience the side effects of a faulty hip implant can be heart-breaking. Even though lawsuits in this field are now common, the process, from start to finish, can still be long and tiring. If you seek justice through litigation, there’s still a process that must be adhered to which means you could be waiting months and even years. However, we don’t want to steer you away from a lawsuit. Instead, we suggest pre-settlement lawsuit funding.

How does it work? At Impact Legal Funding, we can help you to receive what is essentially a lawsuit settlement cash advance. If you’re in a difficult financial position and need money faster than our legal system will give it to you, it may be the case that you can access a portion of your expected settlement in advance. What’s more, the money comes without risk because you won’t have to pay anything back unless the court sides with you. If your case is lost, you keep the money and don’t owe us a cent; this is called a non-recourse transaction.

Why is this an option? When we tell people of this service, they sit waiting for a catch…but there isn’t one. Over the years, we’ve learned just how much a faulty hip implant can impact a life. After the side effects and potential damage, some people aren’t able to work. During this time, bills still need to be paid. Therefore, if we’re willing to take on your case, we believe you deserve an advance on the settlement so you’re able to continue your current standard of living while still taking on the hip replacement part manufacturer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch with Impact Legal Funding today. Our team of specialists have many years of experience in this field and can help you through the application process. Choose a partner you can trust, and we’ll help with your finances as much as possible!