Once you decide to contact an attorney to represent you in a product liability case, what happens next? Whether you have been harmed by a medical device, prescription, or other medical product; the legal proceedings are all very similar.
It is more than likely that you are not alone, and others have also experienced complications and unexpected side effects as a result of a defective or harmful medical product. Cases are filed against the manufacturer of the product in various jurisdictions around the country, in both state and federal courts – your attorney will be responsible for filing your case.
Once a significant amount of cases have been filed, they are consolidated into one court house for the sake of maximum efficiency for both plaintiffs and defendants. After consolidation, the court works with the plaintiff attorneys to select a discovery committee, which are responsible for a vital role in the trial. The committee reviews all cases which have been filed, as well as all medical research involved in developing the product and the FDA approval process that the product underwent. They have their own independent experts at their disposal as well, and with these combined efforts it is not uncommon for as many as twenty to thirty million e-mails to be read.
As this research is being carried out, the defendants will require that all clients who have had a case filed on their behalf complete a plaintiff profile sheet. This sheet will typically ask for the same information that was given to the plaintiffs attorneys, however the defendants are also entitled to this information. This sheet is a vital part of the trial process, because if it is not completed, the entire case can be dismissed. Other than this component, clients can sit back while their attorneys do the rest of the work.
Once the discovery is completed and all plaintiff profile sheets have been submitted, the court and discovery committee will select about four or five cases to be tried in front of a judge. These are typically cases with the most common issues that plaintiffs have experienced, and are referred to as Bellwether Trials.
Depending on the results of the Bellwether Trials, a settlement may be negotiated to encompass all pending cases in the federal system and often the state system as well. Once a gross settlement has been determined, all cases will be referred to a special master. This master reviews each and every case based on its individual merits, and traditionally a points system is established. This system is utilized to better qualify the degree of injury suffered by individual plaintiffs. In some cases, a person may have had reoccurring problems leading to further surgeries, and in other cases the person may have passed. A series of categories are set up to establish a framework of degrees of injury.
Once points for each case have been awarded by the special master, medicare liens must be reviewed and a settlement is negotiated thereafter. A release is then sent to the client, to be signed provided that the client agrees with the settlement amount. Final payment is then made to the client.
Our firm works with a network of very powerful law firms who have a very good track record when it comes to standing up to these manufacturers. We are your point of contact for anything and everything that you may need throughout the duration of your case, and we do not cost you anything! If you believe that you may have a case, contact our office today for a free consultation.