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Difference Between Medical Malpractice & Product Liability Claims

Sometimes the line between product liability and medical malpractice in a personal injury lawsuit is not clear. When a person relies on a medical device, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to create a good product. Similarly, the doctor who is using or inserting the medical device must do so with the utmost precision and care. When either one of these components fails, a personal injury can occur.

When examining the personal injury case, an experienced attorney will see if the cause of the injury was due to a medical device defect, the fault of the doctor, or both.

Product Liability

In order to prove that a personal injury is the fault of a medical device, you must demonstrate proof of the product fault and its correlation to your injury. This is known as a product liability claim.

Three key ways that product liability can be shown:

  • Defectively manufactured. This could mean that there was something wrong with the device when it was made, or it suffered a damage at some point from when it was made and when it got into the hands of a doctor.
  • Defectively marketed. The marketing of a device may cause danger if it is not fully explained or if the proper warnings aren't given. This may cover up a problem that would keep it off the market or cause a doctor to use it the wrong way.
  • Defectively designed. There are instances where devices are manufactured properly and marketed truthfully, but there is some fault in the design that causes an injury.

If any of these apply to a personal injury case, medical device defect can be proven as the cause of the injury.

Medical Malpractice

Even if a medical device defect can be shown to contribute to a person's personal injury, it is important to examine whether or not a medical professional is also at fault.

To prove that a medical professional is at fault, four basic premises need to be shown:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor that is being sued and that they are the ones that were hired for a specific medical purpose;
  2. The doctor caused an injury that another doctor, under the exact same circumstances, would not have caused;
  3. It is the result of this doctor's negligence that an injury was suffered; and
  4. The injury led to specific and measurable damages.

If all four of these components can be recognized in a personal injury case, then it can be proven that a doctor was at fault for the personal injury.

In some cases, a personal injury will be the fault of both product liability and medical malpractice. Discuss the details of any case with a personal injury lawyer to determine the best course of legal action to seek compensation for a personal injury.