In most instances, all you need to do to file a hip replacement lawsuit is draft a complaint, provide one copy to the person or company you are suing, and another copy to a court with authority to hear the matter. Different jurisdictions have different rules about how and when complaints must be filed, but for the most part, the process is fairly simple. In most cases, one need only identify an injury or harm, provide evidence of fault, and demand damages in order to set out an actionable hip replacement claim. Once your claim is registered with the court, it is considered filed, and litigation or settlement discussions can begin.
Injuries sustained during a hip replacement usually fall into one of two categories: injuries owing to defective parts, and injuries owing to negligent care during or leading up to the surgery. The type of injury you sustained will have some bearing on how you file your hip replacement lawsuit. Faulty manufacturing usually gives rise to products liability litigation, while negligent surgical practices more often yield medical malpractice lawsuits. The physical steps needed to file a hip replacement lawsuit in either instance are comparable, but the substance is often quite different. Speaking to a lawyer or researching the governing law can help you draft your complaint appropriately.
Another important thing to pay attention to when filing a hip replacement lawsuit is the timing. In most countries and localities, there is a set length of time after an injury is either sustained or discovered during which a lawsuit must be filed. This is usually referred to as a statute of limitations. Statutes of limitation can run from a number of months to a number of years, depending on the type of injury at issue. Courts will only accept filings that are made within the right time period.
Choosing the right court is also crucial. Most of the time, courts will only accept filings over which they have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction in this sense is usually determined by the location of the parties and the place where the injury happened. A person who sustained an injury in a hip replacement surgery in New York from a New York doctor cannot usually file a hip replacement lawsuit against that doctor in California, for instance. The California court would lack jurisdiction over the claim.
Class action lawsuits are one way to get around potential jurisdictional issues when multiple people suffered the same or very similar injuries. In class actions, plaintiffs with identical claims can save the time and expense of separate litigation by joining all of their claims and filings together. Hip replacement class action lawsuits usually center on products liability. Parts manufacturers are common targets of this kind of hip replacement litigation, largely because errors in manufacturing, defective hip replacement parts, or incomplete installation instructions can cause nearly identical harm to many patients in many different places.
Although class actions have numerous plaintiffs, only one filing is required. Courts typically require more of class action filings than ordinary filings. For instance, filings must include particular justification for why filing on behalf of a class should be permitted, as well as detailed plans for how all members of the class will be notified and enabled to take part.
Once a class action case has been filed, all that you usually have to do to join it is to opt in, provided your injuries are covered by the claim. Opting in is often as easy as returning a postcard, or calling the lawyer who made the original filing. Most of the time, lawyers representing class action suits also create informational Web sites that describe the action, who may join, and how to opt in.