In November, medical device giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to begin settling thousands of lawsuits from patients who were injured by the defective DePuy ASR metal hip implants, which were recalled in 2010.
News reports stated that the settlement could be worth a potential $4 billion after all was said and done. However, many of those affected don’t know the details, whether they qualify or what steps they need to take to receive compensation.
First, it is important to know that this is not the first settlement attempted by Johnson & Johnson.
DePuy ASR metal hip implants were used in approximately 93,000 surgeries from 2005 until 2010. After they were recalled over concerns of early failure and metallic poisoning, J&J tried to get as many patients as possible to accept small settlements, sign releases giving up their legal rights and turn over their defective hips.
Unfortunately, thousands of patients who required painful revision surgery did just as J&J wanted, reportedly giving up their legal rights for settlements as low as $20,000.
More than 12,000 other patients hired lawyers to make sure their rights were protected. As DePuy lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts around the country, internal documents showed the company knew of the dangers of their hips years before the recall, but kept selling them regardless.
After several verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, the company agreed to the current settlement. It will pay at least $2.5 billion to settle around 8,000 lawsuits for patients who already had surgery to replace defective ASR hips prior to August 2013. The deadline to join this phase of the settlement was January 6th.
Now, J&J is expected to continue negotiating settlements for the rest of the claims, including those who had surgery at a later date or may need surgery down the road. The potential total settlement is expected to reach over $4 billion.
Those joining the current settlement may receive awards averaging $250,000, although specific cases can be worth more or less depending on circumstances. This is much more than the paltry amounts offered at the time of the recall.
Surgeries to replace defective hip implants can be painful and require long periods of recovery. Anyone who received an all-metal hip from DePuy should talk with their doctor about the risks of early hip failure or metallic poisoning.
Patients should also speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to learn if they can receive compensation under the current settlement. The time to act is limited.
Lawyers are available to discuss your case, investigate records and file a claim at no cost unless you receive an award. Due to the complexity of these cases, DrugNews only recommends lawyers who specialize in defective medical device cases and have already handled a DePuy lawsuit settlement.
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.