Medical negligence and product liability claims are overseen by our head litigation lawyer, John McCarthy. John has acted in a wide variety of personal injury, wrongful death, medical negligence and defective medical product cases at Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court level.
In the past, John has acted for dozens of victims who have been fitted with defective devices to treat medical conditions. In the early to mid-2010s, he brought multiple successful claims against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc following the worldwide recall of their ASR XL acetabular total hip replacement system. More recently, John has been assisting litigants who have been fitted with defective DePuy Attune Knee Systems.
Bringing a defective medical product compensation claim
Medical product liability is governed by a separate piece of European legislation implemented in Ireland under the Liability for Defective Products Act, 1991.
One of the big considerations in the context of defective product claims, as opposed to claims in negligence, is that there is a three-year limitation period rather than two years in the case of most other claims.
Defective product claims are made in what is referred to as a strict liability regime, which means that if you can show that the injury was caused by the product, you don’t have to show negligence or provide proof of the nature of the defect, the liability follows automatically.
While there is a three year liability period, there is a ten-year backstop, where if the product has been in circulation on the market for 10 years or more, then no liability attaches. In those circumstances, the question arises as to what “in circulation” actually means. You could have a situation where you have a medical device that was developed 20 years ago and if you were to rely on that date as the one that was first released on the market, then you’d be precluded from relying on the Liability for Defective Products Act. However, the better view appears to be that it’s the actual date when the individual product in question was first acquired on the market, i.e. sold to a consumer or put into use as part of a service or procedure.
Product liability is beneficial in so far as (a) its strict regulatory regime and (b), you’ve got a longer limitation period.
If you, or a member of your family, have suffered as a result of a defective medical device, contact our specialist solicitors today for further advice on how to go about instigating your claim.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the questions often posed to our medical negligence team.
What is a defective medical product?
A defective medical product refers to any medical device or pharmaceutical that fails to perform as intended, leading to harm or injury to the patient. This can result from design flaws, manufacturing errors, or inadequate instructions for use. Such defects can compromise patient safety, leading to adverse health outcomes, including physical injury, illness, or worsening of an existing condition.
What is the regulatory body for medical devices in Ireland?
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is responsible for regulating medical products. This includes overseeing the safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other health products to ensure they meet regulatory standards and do not pose a risk to public health. The HPRA works to ensure that all medical products available in Ireland are effective and safe for their intended use.
What is the Liability for Defective Products Act, 1991?
The Liability for Defective Products Act, 1991, is an Irish law that establishes the liability of producers for damage caused by defects in their products. Under this act, a producer can be held liable without the injured party having to prove negligence if the product is found to be defective and causes personal injury or damage to private property. It aims to protect consumers by ensuring they have a means to seek compensation for injuries or damages resulting from defective products, aligning with European Union directives on product liability.
How can a solicitor help bring my claim?
A solicitor can help by assessing the merits of your claim, advising on the legal process, and representing you in negotiations or court. They'll gather evidence, such as medical records and expert testimonies, to prove the product was defective and caused your injury. Solicitors navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape, ensuring compliance with relevant statutes and deadlines. They aim to secure compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering, effectively advocating on your behalf against manufacturers or distributors of the defective product.
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About McCarthy + Co
With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with product liability and medical negligence claims, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields including faulty and defective medical devices. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.
Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork, but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury.
Some links relating to this topic that you may find useful.
- HPRA – Quality Defects and Recalls
- National Library of Medicine – Drug and medical device product failures and the stability of the pharmaceutical supply chain
- Medical Device Network – The world’s biggest medical device recalls
Our Awards & Accreditations
We are a multi-award winning firm, accredited by the Law Society of Ireland.
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Flor McCarthy wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.
Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.
John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.