Have you suffered an injury due to defective medical devices? Was a faulty piece of equipment used as the result of a breach of duty of care? If so, you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim for the harm caused to you.
Medical practitioners have a duty of care to keep patients safe and protected. This includes things like making sure that any medical equipment used in the course of your treatment is safe and fit for purpose.
If they breach this duty of care, this could result in you being injured or experiencing further harm as a direct result and is an example of medical negligence. Medical negligence can leave you with long-lasting physical and psychological issues.
Defective Medical Equipment Claims
In this guide, we will examine the role of medical equipment in administering treatment and care. We will also look at how you can report medical equipment that is faulty, and the time limits that apply to these kinds of claims.
You may be wondering how much compensation you could be owed following an injury caused by defective medical equipment. This guide will examine some guideline compensation brackets and the different kinds of damages that can make up a claim.
In addition to reading this guide, you can contact our team of advisers today to receive 24/7 free legal advice. If you have a valid case, they can connect you with our panel of lawyers to begin your medical negligence claim.
To get in touch with our team of advisers, you can:
- Call them on 0800 652 3087 to have a chat about your situation.
- Fill in our online claims form to receive a response at your earliest convenience.
- Talk with an adviser via our live chat pop-up box for an instant reply.
Select A Section
- What Are Defective Medical Devices?
- What Is The Definition Of A Medical Device?
- Types Of Medical Devices Used In The UK
- Who Is Eligible To Claim For Harm Caused By Defective Medical Equipment?
- Who Could You Make A Defective Medical Devices Claim Against?
- The Consumer Protection Act 1987
- Reporting Defective Medical Devices
- Time Limits To Claim For Harm Caused By A Defective Medical Device
- Defective Medical Devices Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Defective Medical Devices Compensation Claims
- Talk To Us About Your Case
- Medical Devices In The UK
- Related Articles
- Medical Device Claim FAQs
Medical professionals have a duty of care to ensure that patients receive a minimum standard of care. Part of this responsibility may involve performing safety checks to ensure medical devices are working properly and aren’t defective.
Defective medical devices are broken or faulty pieces of equipment that are used in a medical setting. Examples of defective medical equipment are surgical equipment, prosthetics, pacemakers, and implants. If someone goes into surgery and a faulty piece of equipment is used on them, it could cause serious injury or even death. If you experience a breach of duty of care during an operation, you could claim surgical negligence compensation.
Medical devices should be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working order. The frequency with which these checks should be done may vary depending on the type of equipment that it is and the purposes it is used for.
If a medical professional has failed to ensure that a medical device is safe and functional before using it in your treatment, a duty of care has been breached and you may be able to make a medical negligence claim if this has caused you injury or a worsening of your condition. For more information, contact our friendly team of advisers.
According to Gov.UK, a medical device is an apparatus, instrument, software, appliance, or material used to help diagnose patients, investigate symptoms, or provide treatment. Medical devices should always be used correctly and safe to ensure patients are not harmed.
There are three main types of medical devices. These are:
- General medical devices – Part II of the UK MDR 2002
- Active implantable medical devices (implants inserted into someone’s body): Part III of the UK MDR 2002
- In vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs) (for example, instrument or apparatus): Part IV of the UK MDR 2002
A medical device can be a complex piece of machinery, like an X-ray machine or defibrillator. But things like bandages and spectacles are also classed as medical devices.
These different kinds of medical devices have different uses, but they all help diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses. A defective medical device can be extremely detrimental to a patient’s diagnosis and recovery.
Some types of medical devices used in the UK include:
- Cochlear implant – This is used to modify the hearing of people who’ve suffered hearing loss. If a cochlear implant is defective, it’s usually due to the manufacturer. It can cause painful loud sounds and need to be taken out and replaced if it’s faulty, which can be stressful and cause unnecessary pain.
- Faulty defibrillators – A defibrillator is placed on a patient’s chest to reset the person’s heart through electric shock. It’s used to save someone’s life if they’ve gone into cardiac arrest. This means that a faulty one can fail to provide life-saving treatment.
- Knee replacement – This is inserted when a knee is badly damaged and needs to be replaced. If this device is defective, it can cause the patient significant pain and limit their daily activities.
- Metal-on-metal hip replacements – This device is used when a patient’s hip is fractured and needs replacing. If the device is faulty and causes an infection, the patient will be in a lot of pain, and their immune system may not be strong enough to fight the infection off.
- Prosthetics- After an amputation, a patient may be offered a prosthetic limb to help aid mobility and increase their quality of life. If a prosthetic is defective, it may be ill-fitting which could cause pain or pose a risk of breaking the skin or causing infection. If a prosthetic leg’s defect meant that it was unable to support the weight it should, this could cause the patient to fall and injure other parts of their body.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team of advisers if you’ve been a victim of medical negligence. It can be a traumatic event, and our advisers are here to offer you 24/7 free legal advice.
If you have suffered an injury or had an existing injury worsened due to defective medical equipment, you may be able to claim with a medical negligence solicitor. Defective medical devices can cause serious injury that can have a significant impact on your daily life.
In order to make a claim, you must prove that you suffered an injury as a direct result of medical negligence. You can help prove this by producing evidence as proof of medical negligence. For instance, you may be asked to provide your medical records to show that the defective medical device was used to diagnose or treat you.
To claim compensation for harm caused by defective medical equipment, you need to have suffered additional injury or a worsening of your condition. You will not be compensated if it’s determined that you would have experienced the same symptoms whether or not the equipment was defective.
For instance, you may have undergone a hip replacement where a faulty implant was used, and notice pain and reduced mobility in the joint. If it’s determined that you would have experienced the same amount of pain and suffering even if a non-defective implant was used, you would not be owed any compensation.
If you do decide to chat with our team of advisers, you’re not obligated to continue with our services. However, if you’d like, they can connect you to a lawyer from our panel if they feel you have a valid claim.
When a defective piece of medical equipment causes you to sustain an injury or causes an existing condition to worsen, you may be unsure who to claim against. If the defective medical device was used because it wasn’t checked properly by the healthcare provider who used it, and they would usually be expected to do this, then this could constitute a breach of duty of care.
In order to make a claim, whether it’s against the NHS or a private healthcare provider, you need to prove that a breach of duty of care occurred. To decide whether the healthcare provider was negligent, the Bolam Test will usually be carried out.
This is where a panel of the medical professional’s peers are asked whether the care you received fell within an acceptable standard. If they say that it does not, then the medical professional in question will be considered negligent.
You must also prove causation. This means you need to show that this negligence caused you direct harm. If you would’ve suffered this harm despite the negligence, you will not be awarded compensation.
Alternatively, you may claim against the manufacturer instead. This could be the case if the medical device is defective due to manufacturing issues. You can chat with our team of advisers today to learn more about who you could make clinical negligence claims.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 means that you have the right to claim against the manufacturer of a defective product that has caused injury or death. It contains a “strict liability test” which means that the manufacturer is automatically liable for harm caused by the defect. There are exceptions to this, however. For instance, if the product was not defective when the producer supplied it, they may be able to defend against a claim.
According to the Act, defective equipment is where the safety of the product is not as you would expect. A number of things will be taken into consideration when claiming against the manufacturer of a product, including whether the safety of the product could be expected to decline over time. If it would be expected that the equipment could become less safe as time goes on, liability could lie with the medical professional who used equipment that could not be reasonably expected to be safe.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 allows those who have been affected to seek compensation if the defective item has caused them harm or suffering. You can get in touch with our team of advisers to discuss making a medical negligence claim for injuries caused by a defective medical device.
You can report a problem with a medicine or medical device online via the yellow card scheme. Some examples of problems you may want to report are:
- A faulty device interrupts a patients treatment, causing it to be delayed.
- Defective medical devices causing a misdiagnosis
- A faulty medical device has caused a medical injury or worsened an existing injury
- Blood tests being processed by a faulty device, leading to them giving incorrect readings. This could lead to the wrong blood type being used in a transfusion during an operation.
After reporting the faulty equipment, it will be investigated by the manufacturer, medical specialist, or the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. It will then be noted down to prevent further injuries from being caused due to defective medical devices.
Please note that the yellow card scheme doesn’t offer medical advice, so you must seek professional help from a pharmacist or doctor if you feel your treatment has been compromised or interrupted because of defective medical equipment. If you’d like free legal advice about pursuing a medical negligence claim, you can contact our team of advisers today.
Generally, there’s a three-year time limit to starting a medical negligence claim. That’s three years from the exact date you suffered the injury or from the date you knew (or should have known) that the injury was due to someone else’s negligence. The latter is known as the “date of knowledge”. However, there are some exceptions to this.
If you’re under 18, the claims time limit of three years only begins on your 18th birthday. This means you have until your 21st birthday to claim, provided that one hasn’t already been made for you.
Before you turn 18, a litigation friend can act on your behalf and make a claim for you. This is an adult who directs proceedings on your behalf. If the claim succeeds, the compensation money will be placed into a closed bank account to access when you turn 18.
If the injured person is mentally incapacitated, the three-year time limit starts in the event that they regain their mental capacity. Otherwise, the time limit is indefinitely suspended and a litigation friend can represent them in a claim.
If you would like to know more about the time limits that apply when starting a medical negligence claim, speak to one of our advisors. They will be happy to offer you free legal advice.
You may find a medical negligence claims calculator on other guides, but we’ve chosen instead to illustrate the latest Judicial College Guidelines figures in the compensation table below.
The Judicial College provide guideline compensation brackets for some injuries that a defective medical device could cause. Please note that this table is purely for example purposes, and the compensation figures may vary.
|Mental Anguish||Severe||Scared of impending death.||£4380|
|Foot Injuries||Amputation of both feet||Similar awarded bracket to loss of lower leg as ankle joints are lost both times.||£158,970 to £189,110|
|Foot Injuries||Amputation of One Foot||Awarded bracket is similar to below-knee amputation as the ankle joint is lost.||£78,800 to £102,890|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe Brain Damage||Can follow basic commands and eye opening is recovering. However, there is barely any response to the surrounding environment and little communication.||£264,650 to £379,100|
|Brain Damage||Moderate Brain Damage||Moderately-severely intellectually deficient, sight is affected, and personality is altered.||£140,870 to £205,580|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Serious||Significant permanent symptoms that don’t allow someone to work.||£56,180 to £94,470|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderate||Recovery is significant and remaining effects aren’t severe.||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Severe||Little ability to cope with life. Unable to work. Chance of recovery is unlikely.||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||Moderate||Struggled to cope with life or work, but recovery is steady.||£5,500 to £17,900|
General damages award compensation for the injury itself and the mental and physical effect it’s had on your life. The awarded bracket depends on the severity of the injury and the length of treatment. The longer the treatment, the higher the compensation award is likely to be.
Special damages provide compensation for the financial loss the injury has caused you. However, it’s more difficult to claim special damages if you don’t provide sufficient evidence. An example of this evidence could be us tickets to prove you spent money out of pocket to travel to and from medical appointments.
As we have already mentioned, your compensation will only reflect the pain and suffering or the financial impact caused directly by the defective medical device. For instance, if your quality of life has declined after receiving a defective knee replacement, you will only be compensated for the additional suffering caused by the defect. This is because, after a knee replacement, you will likely have experienced some pain and suffering or had to take time off work even if the implant was not defective.
Our panel of medical negligence lawyers would be happy to discuss working with you on a No Win No Fee basis. A No Win No Fee agreement is a contract between you and your medical negligence solicitor stating that you don’t have to pay any of their fees if your case loses. You also won’t be asked to pay them any upfront or ongoing fees as they’re working on your claim.
If your case wins, your solicitor will deduct a small percentage of your compensation that’s legally capped. This deduction will be agreed upon with you before they start working on your claim.
If you’d like to further discuss No Win No Fee agreements, you can contact our team of advisers. If you have a valid claim, they can connect you with a lawyer from our panel who can get started on your claim.
Our team of advisers would be happy to chat with you and learn more about your situation. They can offer free legal advice and assess how much compensation you could be awarded.
You can have a chat with our friendly team of advisers today by:
- Calling them on 0800 652 3087 to have a chat about your claim.
- Filling in our online claims form for a reply whenever suits you best.
- Talking with an adviser immediately via our instant chat pop-up box.
The table below portrays statistics taken from a Loughborough University report about the figures of the UK medical-device market. It shows the increase in the medical device market in 2001. As you can see, the UK saw a 12% increase in this time.
Here are some ways these medical devices used in the UK could be defective:
- Gloves – Gloves could be defective if they contain a rip or hole. Furthermore, gloves must be reused each time they’re used to ensure no germs are spread between patients.
- Medical X-Ray film – X-Ray machines can be defective if they produce unclear images. If this happens, the medical practitioner must try again or change to a clearer scanning device, such as an MRI or CT. Failure to do so could cause a fracture to be missed.
- Wheelchair – If a wheelchair is broken and not working properly, it can be difficult for the individual to move around.
Bandages & other medical supplies – If a bandage has a tear or isn’t fully supportive, it can lead to infection or not support the bone properly, resulting in it moving out of place.
How To Claim For Cancer Misdiagnosed Negligence Compensation Claim – Have you suffered a cancer misdiagnosis due to medical negligence? Our guide explores how you could claim compensation.
Cerebral Palsy Negligence Claim – Have you suffered cerebral palsy clinical negligence? Our article explains how you can make a medical negligence claim.
Still Born Birth Injury Claim – Our article discusses making a stillborn birth negligence claim with a medical negligence lawyer.
How Do I Know If I’ve Broken A Bone? – If you think you may have a broken bone injury, this NHS article explains the symptoms you might experience.
Hip Fracture – Have you suffered a hip fracture? This NHS guide includes information on the symptoms, treatment, and recovery process.
X-Ray – This NHS article includes important information about X-Rays. An X-Ray is used to produce photos of bones to see if there is a break or fracture that needs treatment.
Will my treatment be affected by making a claim?
No. Your treatment will continue as usual if you make a claim. You are always entitled to a minimum standard of care whether or not you have made a claim for compensation.
How long could my claim take?
The amount of time it takes a claim to settle can vary from a few months to much longer. It depends on how complicated the claim is and whether liability is clear.
Could I get an interim payout?
To request an interim payout, you usually need the defendant to admit liability. This will prevent you from receiving an interim payment and then finding out down the line that you weren’t entitled to compensation at all. If you do receive an interim payout, this can help you financially whilst you recover.
Will I need a further medical exam?
You can use your initial medical report as part of the evidence in your claim. However, you may also be invited to a medical examination with an independent expert as part of your claim.
Thank you for reading our guide about defective medical equipment. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team of advisers for 24/7 free legal advice.
Guide by Sophie
Edited by Fern