An Inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) is an implanted medical device that breaks up blood clots and prevents them from traveling to the heart or lungs. Pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening illness, can occur when a blood clot travels to the lungs. Unfortunately, thousands of people across the United States have experienced one or more adverse events after implantation of the retrievable IVC filter.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the IVC filter medical device should only remain in place for no more than three months due to the risk of serious injury. The FDA states that doctors and surgeons must follow-up with patients to arrange for the removal of the retrievable IVC filter but that far too many people are falling through the cracks.
In other cases, the retrievable IVC filter became impossible to remove due to device migration, filter fracture, or another common issue. That has left thousands of people to deal with ongoing mental stress knowing they have a faulty medical device in their body but that IVC filter removal is too great of a risk. You may be eligible to file a class action lawsuit or an individual lawsuit for serious injury due to implantation of the IVC blood clot filter. The possible grounds for your IVC filter lawsuit include:
- Defective design
- Failure by IVC filter manufacturers to warn of potential dangers such as organ damage, IVC filter migration, worsening blood clots, and other serious issues
- Manufacturing defect
- Negligence, which your doctor, surgeon, or the medical device manufacturing company could all be guilty of committing
History and Current Status of IVC Filter Lawsuits
The first IVC filter lawsuit occurred in March 2018. In that case, a woman received a $3.6 million dollar IVC filter settlement after her attorney proved that the retrievable IVC filter broke inside of the woman’s body and caused a serious injury. The jury determined that C.R. Bard, the medical device company that manufactured the defective retrievable IVC filter, was liable for paying compensation to the injured woman.
By early 2020, several thousand people had filed an IVC filter lawsuit for one of the four causes listed above. Due to the sheer volume of claims, some plaintiffs chose to participate in multidistrict litigation. A multidistrict litigation case differs from a class-action lawsuit in that the former helps to streamline the court process for all IVC filter cases. Each plaintiff has their own IVC filter lawyer.
Some multidistrict litigation cases go to trial in what the courts refer to as a bellwether trial. The benefit of a bellwether trial is that it gives each side an opportunity to have a place to start negotiations. Cook Medical, C.R. Bard, and Boston Scientific on behalf of its Greenfield IVC filter have all participated in bellwether trials so far with judges ruling both for and against them.
Despite patients developing serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, organ damage, or the need for heart surgery to correct damage caused by IVC filter migration, the FDA has yet to issue a mandatory recall of retrievable IVC filters. Although some medical device manufacturers have issued voluntary recalls, this does not go nearly far enough to prevent people from suffering serious complications due to faulty retrievable IVC filters.
Common IVC Filter Complications
Here are some of the most common IVC filter complications that have led to IVC filter lawsuits.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): This serious complication can occur when the medical device blocks access to other veins due to blood clots. Lower limb DVTs are especially common.
- Device migration: Doctors consider device migration to have occurred when the retrievable IVC filter moves more than two centimeters from its implantation site.
- Endovascular embolization: This invasive medical procedure treats abnormal blood vessels that incurred damage due to a faulty retrievable IVC filter.
- Filter fracture: When the IVC filter fractures, its pieces can travel and cause organ perforation or vein perforation.
- Pulmonary embolism: If device migration occurs, the IVC filter can no longer prevent a blood clot from traveling between the inferior vena cava vein and the lungs. Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency requiring prompt treatment.
- Surgery to remove, revise, or replace a retrievable IVC filter.
The above are far from normal side effects than can occur with any type of medical device or medication. Recovery from a second surgical procedure or living with other complications of IVC filter cases takes time and money. You may be eligible to join a mass tort, class-action lawsuit, or multidistrict litigation for IVC filter cases even if you do not see your specific complication listed here.
Types of Damages You Could Receive in an IVC Filter Lawsuit
Whether your case goes before the U.S. district court, federal court, or a local court, your IVC filter lawyer will argue for both economic and non-economic damages on your behalf. Economic damages are reimbursement for actual expenses such as medical bills and time missed from work. Non-economic damages can include such things as physical pain and suffering and mental anguish.
The judge might also approve punitive damages in your case if your IVC filter lawyer can prove that Cook Medical , C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, or another medical device manufacturer acted in an especially reckless way that caused you to develop significant injuries. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for wrongdoing.
To initiate an IVC filter lawsuit, you must file the paperwork before the statute of limitations in your state expires. Two years is a common timeframe for the statute of limitations, but we urge you to check the laws in your state since it can vary.