If you're considering filing a lawsuit over complications from a surgically implanted inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, you're probably wondering about potential outcomes: not just the likelihood of winning or losing, but whether your case is likely to settle or go all the way to trial. As with most personal injury claims, the majority of IVC filter cases will reach a settlement at some point before trial.
In the context of a personal injury case, a settlement is a legally-binding agreement between an injured person (the plaintiff) and the party allegedly responsible for causing the plaintiff's injury (the defendant). The plaintiff agrees to accept some amount of compensation in return for releasing the defendant from any future liability for the underlying incident. (Learn more about how a personal injury settlement works.)
A personal injury settlement will include compensation for such losses ("damages" in legalese) as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other expenses incurred as a result of the harm (the cost of prescription medication, the need to hire household assistance, etc.).
The dollar amount of any IVC filter settlement depends on many variables, including the nature of the complications caused by the defective or failing implant, and the strength (or weakness) of the medical evidence. Learn why a proper diagnosis is crucial in an IVC filter case.
IVC filter cases can sometimes be complicated by the passage of time between the implant procedure and the development of health complications from a defective or failing filter. That's one of many reasons why it's often difficult for even an experienced lawyer to speculate as to what kind of settlement a claimant is likely to receive. Learn more about factors that determine what an IVC filter case might be worth.
With most kinds of lawsuits, the parties involved (and their respective lawyers) want to avoid surprises and minimize risk. IVC filter cases are no expection. An injured patient usually doesn't want to risk going all the way to trial and coming away with nothing, and the manufacturers of these implants don't want to put their financial viability or their reputations in the hands of civil juries, especially when more than a few medical device defect cases have led to multi-million dollar plaintiffs' verdicts despite less-than-airtight proof of liability.
Settling an IVC filter lawsuit also saves the parties time, money, and stress.
Most IVC filter cases follow a fairly predictable timeline, but these claims can also reach an out-of-court settlement at any time. The parties might reach a settlement on their own—sometimes before a lawsuit is even filed, or after information is exchanged through the "discovery" process and one or both sides see the proverbial writing on the wall. Court-ordered attempts at resolution (like mediation and mandatory settlement conferences) can also help coax the parties toward resolution. Learn more about the timeline of a typical personal injury case.
It's important to keep in mind that if your IVC filter case settles, the defendant (that's usually the filter manufacturer or a health care provider) will pay you an agreed-upon amount, but there won't be any admission of liability in the settlement agreement (the defendant won't admit to having done anything wrong, in other words). And chances are the agreement will require the parties to keep the terms of the settlement (including how much you received from the defendant) confidential.
It's perfectly normal to wonder about how your IVC filter case might get resolved—how much compensation you might get, how long it could take—just don't expect any guarantees from an attorney. Learn more about finding the right lawyer for you and your IVC filter case.