Thankfully, victims can take a stand against Bayer through legal action. Over 100 women from all over the country have already filed Essure lawsuits. Though Essure’s current status as an FDA-approved medical device provides Bayer with significant legal protection, victims and their families can enlist skilled, experienced Essure attorneys to help them win compensation for their injuries.
Vital Assistance From Essure Attorneys
When patients are harmed by a medical device due to errors, oversights, fraud, or other misdeeds committed by the manufacturer, they may be entitled to thousands or even millions of dollars in relief for pain, suffering, and financial loss incurred from unnecessary injuries.
Naturally, with so much at stake in these potentially high-profile suits, it’s crucial for plaintiffs to obtain legal aid from professionals with enough relevant experience to help them develop a solid lawsuit. Litigants who attempt to represent themselves or who choose inexperienced lawyers are likely putting their cases at a distinct disadvantage, especially since most manufacturers of well-known devices are formidable corporations, with the connections and resources to employ top defense attorneys for fighting patient claims.
Challenges In Medical Device Lawsuits
Litigation involving medical devices can be particularly complex, further underlining the need for seasoned legal counsel. First of all, in order to facilitate fair judgment of a plaintiff’s position, the court must be presented with clear background information about the medical device in question, as well as the likely causes and implications of the alleged injuries.
For example, it’s crucial for the judge to understand how the device was designed to work, what the FDA and current medical research says about its risks and benefits, and how doctors evaluate the plaintiff’s injuries. Attorneys with extensive experience in drug and other healthcare-related lawsuits can be expected to have a good grasp on which details are most crucial.
But ultimately, the main thrust of a medical device lawsuit comes from well-developed claims for relief — legal arguments that aim to demonstrate the plaintiff’s right to compensation. This is where a lawyer’s experience and knowledge of relevant legal theories, past verdicts, and common defense arguments can really help strengthen a case.
Essure Attorneys Break Past Bayer’s Legal Protection
In addition to the usual challenges faced by victims of “dangerous” drugs and devices, Essure plaintiffs are up against the threat of dismissal by “federal preemption.”
What Is Federal Preemption?
Since medical devices like Essure are manufactured products, marketed to patients, physicians, hospitals and other medical facilities, people who are injured by them typically seek financial relief under product liability law. (Unless the victim believes that injuries were caused by misconduct of the medical staff rather than manufacturing defects, in which case the plaintiff might instead pursue a medical malpractice suit).
However, due to the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, a pivotal piece of legislation that appointed the FDA responsible for overseeing medical device regulation, manufacturers of “high-risk” FDA-approved devices are shielded from many product liability claims. This is because regulations established by the FDA, a federal agency, take precedence over the state laws that most claims for relief in product liability are based on. As a result, any state-law-based legal arguments that appear to be holding Bayer to any requirements other than those put in place by the FDA could end up dismissed on federal preemption grounds.
Thankfully, there are effective legal strategies that may enable patients to win against Bayer despite the threat of federal preemption, and prospects for current Essure plaintiffs, as well as for victims who have yet to file, are far from grim. Five cases from Pennsylvania—the very first Essure lawsuits filed—are still pending despite federal preemption. These suits were consolidated in March 2016 and allowed to proceed, surviving Bayer’s attempts to have them completely dismissed.
Short On Funds? Hire On Contingency
Though claimants are often well aware of the significant benefits of hiring a lawyer, they may be reluctant to do so, afraid of the potential costs. Being able to pay attorney fees might seem next to impossible, especially for victims of Essure side effects who are struggling with medical bills and lost wages.
Luckily, a lack of funds isn’t really a problem at all, because many compassionate personal injury lawyers won’t charge you up front. Instead, they’ll work on a contingency-fee basis, which means no fees at all are due until after a settlement or court award has been secured. Instead of having to pay out of your own pocket, attorney fees will be charged as a percentage of the compensation won — a virtually risk-free arrangement for clients.
3 Main Steps To Finding Essure Attorneys
Searching for an attorney who bests fits you and your case is an important process, and taking the time and effort to do it properly can really pay off. Let’s look at the major stages of a lawyer search:
1. Compile A List Of Potential Choices
Nowadays, it’s very easy to search for attorneys online, whether it’s through your state’s official state bar association, major legal directory sites such as Avvo.com, or a simple Google search with your location and desired practice area as a keyword.
It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family if they’ve worked with a lawyer or law firm in the past that they’d recommend. A personal recommendation may offer valuable insight into how the attorney treats clients.
Whatever search method you use, be sure to visit each attorney’s website after making your initial list. You should look for academic background, work history, number of years in practice, client testimonials, and any other items that may help you narrow down your options. It’s particularly important to look over the lawyer’s previous case settlements or court verdicts, often found on a “Results” or “Verdicts & Settlements” page.
2. Interview Each Attorney On Your List
Now that you’ve drawn up a list of qualified candidates, it’s time to gather more information through interviewing. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so your interviews shouldn’t cost you anything. Though the process can be time-consuming, interviews provide you the opportunity to see how you mesh personally with each candidate, as well as enable you to ask questions and fill in any blanks you might’ve noticed. Some basic questions to ask:
- How long have you been practicing product liability?
- Have you worked with cases like mine in the past?
- Do you have any former clients that I can contact as references?
- Will you have time to handle my case with your current workload?
- Do you prefer to work with clients mostly in person, or do you also correspond regularly through e-mail and phone calls?
Also, be ready to give a summary of your case, so that the lawyer can offer an informed evaluation of its potential and go over possible strategies for action with you.
While conducting your interviews, don’t forget to take notes, which will help you easily compare pros and cons when you’re making your final decision. Pay attention, not only to how the attorney answers your questions, but also to your impressions of his or her overall demeanor and personality.
Does the candidate seem to take a genuine interest in your case and show concern for you as an individual? Do you find it easy to talk to him or her? Remember, having a good rapport with your lawyer can be almost as important as any other qualifications, since you’ll ideally be working closely for the duration of your case.
3. Check Track Records For Your Top Picks
Once you’ve narrowed your options down to one or two favorites, it’s a good idea to look a little closer into their backgrounds. Make sure that the attorney is currently licensed to practice law in your state. Also, if you were able to get contact info for past clients or other references, go ahead and follow up with them for more information.
Another key resource to look over is your state’s attorney discipline organization, where you can check to see if an attorney has ever been cited for breaching ethical standards or any other serious misconduct. These organizations are responsible for monitoring lawyers to ensure they behave ethically. Any time complaints are filed against an attorney (whether by clients, judges and courtroom staff, or other attorneys) the organization investigates and takes disciplinary action if ethical violations are discovered.
3 Tips For Helping Your Essure Attorney
Though finding a suitable lawyer to represent you is crucial, there are also other actions you can take to help your lawyer put together the most convincing case possible for you.
Remember, your attorney is on your side, and supplying the most accurate information possible will aid in developing optimal strategies for your case. Even if you think it may somehow help your lawsuit to conceal or lie about certain facts, it will likely end up working against you if falsehoods are later uncovered. Plus, it’s best to trust your attorney’s knowledge of the law and get his or her opinion before drawing conclusions on how a fact will affect your case.
Also, if you’re worried about divulging sensitive information, keep in mind that anything you share with legal counsel is generally kept confidential under attorney-client privilege.
Do Your Best To Remember Specific Details
Recent developments in Essure litigation have clearly shown that specific case details, particularly those that support a link between alleged manufacturer misdeeds and plaintiff injuries, are of prime importance.
Judges in Pennsylvania and California have dismissed multiple “causes of action” (arguments supporting a right to compensation for injuries) in Essure lawsuits due to lack of sufficient detail. For example, Judge John R. Padova dismissed Pennsylvania Essure plaintiffs’ claim for “breach of express warranty,” in which they accused Bayer of breaking promises made about Essure’s safety and effectiveness. The judge pointed out that the plaintiffs weren’t very specific about what exactly the allegedly false statements said, nor did they describe when and how they came across these statements.
Your Personal Experiences Are Key
Try your best to remember any details regarding your Essure history, as they may help significantly strengthen your lawsuit. Some good questions to ponder:
- Where did you first hear about Essure?
- What made you believe it would be a good idea to undergo Essure sterilization?
- What did your doctor tell you about Essure’s risks and benefits?
- Did you sign any sort of patient consent form?
- Did the implantation go as you’d expected based on what you were told?
- When did you start experiencing side effects?
- Could the side effects be linked to anything in your medical history?
It’s also important for you and your lawyer to look closely at FDA policy for medical devices, because judges have dismissed causes of action that accuse Bayer of violating FDA regulations but fail to state what specific rules were allegedly broken.
Keep Your Lawyer Up-To-Date
After your initial meetings with your attorney, don’t forget to keep him or her updated on any new developments regarding your experience with Essure.
In particular, if you think of undergoing Essure reversal or removal surgery, it’s vital to discuss it with your lawyer, because there are certain types of surgery and requests you can make to ensure that you obtain high quality evidence to bolster your case if it goes to trial.
For example, it’s optimal, both for your health and for your case, to have the Essure implants removed intact, so that no metal fragments are left behind and so that the condition of the extracted implants is the same as it was in your body. If you’re claiming, for instance, that you suffered complications from defective Essure implants, then being able to show photos of the implants still encased in scar tissue is crucial; otherwise, the defense may argue that the implants were simply broken during removal.
You can read more about legal considerations in removing Essure implants on our Essure Reversal page.
Additional Information For Essure Patients