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It absolutely matters whether the manufacturers were aware of the design defects because it can help show intent. If they were aware of the design defect and pushed forward with it anyway, they knew the product could cause harm, and they calculated that the profits they would get from that product made it worth pursuing anyway.

In this case, there is some indication that they knew or should have known when first marketing IVC filters, and even before that when first getting the FDA’s approval, that these filters have high failure rates and perhaps had a design defect.

The repercussions of a design defect of an IVC filter can be life-altering. If you, or someone you love, has been affected by design defects from IVC filters, an experienced Raleigh lawyer can help. They will work diligently to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, while you can focus on recovery.

Arguing a Case

One of the arguments is that the thing that makes the device easily retrievable also makes it more likely to move or migrate or perforate the vena cava. By its very design, it is not as secure as the permanent filter and that is part of the problem.

It needs to be proven that the product was defective when it was designed and made, and that there were no intermediaries who may have broken the manufacturing chain. If someone is arguing design defect, the filter has to have been defective at the time it left the manufacturer’s hands. As such, there would have to be no potential for a third party or an intermediary to have gotten involved and somehow change or tweak the device, in turn absolving the manufacturer from liability.

An attorney will most likely look for a defectively-designed product with potential errors which were either disregarded or unaccounted for, and the product was then pushed to the market anyway.

Alternative Designs and Cost-Benefit Analysis

With IVC filters, you are dealing with corporate entities who are always concerned with the bottom line. Speaking generally, an attorney will look for something about the IVC filter like a red flag, trials, clinical tests, or something similar that indicated the corporations could have known there was a problem, but decided it would be expensive to fix, and therefore were willing to take the risk and put it on the market anyway. That is how the cost-benefit analysis takes place in these litigations.

A good example of this is the GM litigation, where the ignition switches were shutting off and causing accidents. The cost to fix that was incredibly nominal, however, there is evidence that GM knew it was a problem, but they would lose more money to fix it than to not.

One of the things that lawyers ask about during discovery is different design models and prototypes which may have been developed. They can ask why another IVC design was not pursued further, and if that design would it have lowered the incidence of migration, perforation, or fracture. Essentially, an attorney will look at the decision-making from the corporate perspective about why they chose the design they did, and whether or not cost had anything to do with it.

Awarding Damages

In any sort of negligence or design defect case, if you were injured as a result of a faulty product, your damages are going to be economic and non-economic.

Economic will include past and future medical expenses and any missed work. Non-economic will be things like pain and suffering, or physical pain and mental or emotional suffering. If you pass away, you have what is called a wrongful death claim, which includes the loss of society or companionship. This is basically the loss of life to the heirs who still remain, in addition to any medical expenses, funeral bills, and the like.

In these cases, if you can prove that the company had a safer alternative and then chose the unsafe or the less safe alternative because of cost, or that they knew that it should have been dangerous, you are getting into a level of reckless and willful conduct on the company’s part that may rise to the level of punitive damages, which increases the amount you would be awarded.