If you're suffering from complications from an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, you might be thinking about suing the manufacturer of the filter, the medical professionals who surgically implanted the filter, or both.
Before you decide whether to file an IVC filter lawsuit, you probably want to know how long the process will take. You might need money now to pay medical bills or feel like you don't have the energy or funds for a legal battle that will drag on for years. Unfortunately, it's hard to predict exactly how long your lawsuit will take. But IVC filter lawsuits, like any other personal injury lawsuits, move through distinct stages, and some factors that can influence the timeline of your case are in your control.
An IVC filter lawsuit usually goes through the following stages:
Most personal injury cases settle before trial. The two sides can discuss (and finalize) a settlement at any point in the process (more on this later).
Now let's take a closer look at the factors that have the biggest impact on how long an IVC filter lawsuit might take.
IVC filter lawsuits are complicated, whether you're arguing that the IVC filter was defective (product liability), or that the medical professional who treated you made an unreasonable mistake (medical malpractice).
First, you'll have to file your lawsuit within the strictly-enforced time limits set in your state (called "statute of limitations"). (Learn more about IVC filter lawsuits and the statute of limitations.)
Next, the complexity of your case will affect the timeline. IVC filter lawsuits usually involve piles of medical records and multiple expert witnesses on both sides, which means some stages, like discovery and pretrial motions, will undoubtedly take longer than they might in a less complicated lawsuit (like a slip and fall or car accident case).
The court's calendar might also affect the timeline of your case. If the calendar is clogged because of COVID-19 delays, or for some other reason, hearing and trial dates can be postponed for weeks or months.
Finally, the timeline of your IVC filter lawsuit might depend on whether your lawsuit has been grouped into a multi-district litigation (MDL) action. Thousands of IVC filter lawsuits, most involving Bard or Cook Medical as one of the defendants, have been consolidated in one of two MDLs in Arizona or Indiana.
An MDL is a consolidation of individual cases for the pretrial stages of the case, like discovery. The goal of MDL is to allow more efficient litigation and make it easier for all of the cases to eventually settle. But before a settlement takes place, a few "test" trials happen (known as "bellwether" trials). The results of the bellwether trials are a preview of what all parties involved in the MDL can expect and usually help both sides reach a global settlement for the rest of the cases. If a global settlement can't be reached, individual cases are sent back to the original court where they were first filed for trial.
Most IVC filter lawsuits can settle at any time.
For example, soon after filing the complaint, your attorney can send a demand letter to the other side, detailing your injuries and asking for a certain dollar amount as compensation. This letter could spur serious settlement talks, and if a settlement agreement is reached before trial, you can choose to dismiss the lawsuit in exchange for settlement money.
Most cases do settle, especially as lawsuits move closer to trial (or after bellwether trials in an MDL proceeding) and parties get a better sense of the evidence and the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments. And even if the two sides don't come together on their own to try to resolve the case out of court, most judges require plaintiffs and defendants to attend at least one mandatory settlement conference before trial begins. (Learn more about how personal injury settlements work.)
One of the biggest factors in determining how long your IVC filter lawsuit will take is you. If the defendant offers you a settlement early on, you can end the case then with some cash, but you might not be getting full and fair compensation for your losses. (Learn more about how much an IVC filter case might be worth.)
If you've been injured by an IVC filter, you should talk to an experienced attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will explain the relevant laws and court procedures, including MDLs, and the full range of your strategic options. An attorney can present the pros and cons of settlement, including the fact that once you settle, you can't go back and ask for more money, even if it turns out your injuries are worse than you first thought.
Learn more about finding the right attorney for you and your IVC filter case. You can also fill out the form on the top or bottom of this page to connect with an attorney for free.