Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to settle over 7,000 DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits for a rough total of $4 billion as reported in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, and other news outlets. The payout will be divided among the total number of plaintiffs who accept the settlement terms, but individual payouts will begin with a base award of $250,000 that excludes medical costs and goes up or down from there. The aggregate settlement amount could also still increase since implant recipients who have not yet had their ASR hip removed are still eligible to file claims against J&J.
Lawsuit Settlement Amount Influenced by Many Factors
Some specific factors that affect the base award include:
- How long the device was inside the recipient
- Whether the recipient was a smoker
- Whether the ASR was the first hip implanted in that hip
- The recipient’s body mass index, especially if it was greater than 35 at implantation
- The recipient’s age at implantation
- If the recipient died, whether the revision to remove the ASR contributed to the recipient’s death
Under certain circumstances, a recipient might be eligible for a supplemental award, which can include compensation for:
- Undergoing “bilateral” surgery, that is, receiving two ASR hips, one in each hip
- Multiple revision surgeries rather than just one
- Experiencing “extraordinary medical events” associated with a revision, such as: heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, dislocations, or foot drop
- Experiencing certain “extraordinary medical injuries” in the future
The settlement documents detail payouts for extraordinary injuries (PDF).
How Long Until a DePuy Lawsuit Settlement Is Paid?
Because the settlement is a private agreement between two parties, payment should occur shortly after the settlement is negotiated.
Lawsuit Compensation Based on Extent of Plaintiff’s Injuries
For those who do not wish to settle with DePuy, the most important factors in determining the amount of compensation a person can receive from a DePuy lawsuit is the extent of the recipient’s injuries. The amount of compensation for them depends on the types of damages the plaintiff can prove at trial. For instance, lost income, transportation costs, and medical costs can be easily calculated with proper documentation. These are usually called “economic damages.” Their opposite, “non-economic damages,” include pain and suffering and loss of companionship with a spouse, and they are not easily quantifiable. For non-economic damages, the negotiating experience and style of your hip replacement lawyer will influence the outcome.
Cases Taken on ‘Contingency’
Many recipients are also concerned that the cost of hiring a lawyer will outweigh the benefits. Importantly, lawyers who accept cases centered on personal injury claims charge their clients based on a percentage of the total damages or settlement. The percentage of this “contingency fee” is negotiated before your lawyer will begin representing you. If you do not win your case against DePuy, you will owe your lawyer nothing.
Settlement Agreement Not the First for ASR Recipients
Past settlements for DePuy ASR recipients have been slightly lower than the aggregate settlement offers. For example, in August 2012 three women who were set to bring their hip replacement lawsuits to trial in Nevada state court announced they had settled their cases with DePuy and J&J for around $600,000, which amounts to $200,000 per plaintiff. When Bloomberg.com interviewed a business school professor, he said the settlements were “at the low end of what the company should have expected to pay.” He gave a settlement range between $200,000 and $500,000 per plaintiff, which is largely in line with the settlement’s base award plus medical damages.
Still, every plaintiff who filed a lawsuit against DePuy has the right to refuse settlement and demand a trial. Plaintiffs might choose this course if they believe a jury award will exceed all potential settlement offers in the end. One California lawsuit, Kransky v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., resulted in an $8.3 million jury award while another, Strum v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., in Illinois ended with a verdict for J&J.
How Do I Get a DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit Settlement From J&J?
Settlements almost always require the injured person to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, and doing nothing will not result in compensation. It is unwise to negotiate with the device-maker on your own without a lawyer. If you or a loved one received an ASR device and suffered an injury, then you need legal counsel that will fight for you whether to settlement or trial. The amount of compensation from a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit or settlement can include damages for full medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. For a free, confidential legal consultation with a lawyer from the Rottenstein Law Group, click on this link or call 1-800-624-9568. Time is limited because registration for the settlement ends on April 1, 2014, and after a number of years lawsuit claims will be time-barred.